Preserve our communities, but let’s be realistic

EDITORIAL

New homes?

Yes.

Next to my backyard?

Never.

And so goes the continual push-pull between local cities and developers trying to meet the state’s demand that they build not just new homes, but affordable ones, —and residents of the community who prefer to see no new housing at all.

The argument from opponents whenever new homes or apartments are proposed on lots in Calabasas, Agoura Hills and Westlake Village is that they are OK with new housing, but never the way it’s being proposed. Which is disingenuous because, in reality, most neighbors don’t want to see any new homes built next to them at all.

Case in point, the 11 tiny affordable homes that the City of Agoura Hills suggests could be built on a 1.9-acre hillside parcel at the corner of Driver Avenue and Colodny Drive in Old Agoura—with minimal to no grading and near perfect preservation of the green slope and its half-a-dozen oak trees.

But vocal opponents who attended a Feb. 3 public information meeting at the site shouted down the city’s plan to build the 300- to 500-square foot, one-bedroom homes on the city-owned property, saying the roads in that section of Old Agoura are already impacted by traffic, bad weather and the threat of fire. (Witness the closure of Driver Avenue during this week’s big storm and the traffic mess that resulted.)

It is this kind of careful monitoring by Old Agoura residents, to their credit, that has preserved the rural charm of the community and prevented the wholesale development of its sensitive properties, such as the 71-acre chaparral tract next to Chesebro Road that was being stripped of its trees by a developer in the early ’80s and was slated for new luxury homes until preserved as the Fran Pavley Meadow.

But 11 very attractive and well-thought-out tiny modular homes, nestled on a hillside at Driver Avenue? They would destroy the character of Old Agoura? No, they would not.

The homes would be fixed to foundations and be safe and attractive. And most important of all, they would be dwellings that low- to moderate-income occupants could afford. The opponents need to stop being income-shamers.

This is not Section 8 inner city housing. It is a creative new plan to start giving working couples a realistic chance to live in Agoura Hills, just like those who first moved to Old Agoura looking for their own piece of the American dream many years ago. Give these homes, and their new owners, a chance.