The “ community forum” staged last week by developers who wish to build a traffic producing, Orange County-style theme park in Agoura called the Avenue was a complete sham.
The developer did not show up and instead his “lobbyist” Brad Rosenheim gave a clumsy presentation.
Rosenheim is called a “land use expert” but what is he really an expert at? The term “land use” engenders visions of geography and geology, but I suspect Rosenheim’s real specialty is schmoozing politicians on behalf of investors. It even boasted as much on the VICA website.
Instead of genuine public input, Rosenheim had attendees write questions on a piece of scrap paper and then bumbled through nonresponsive answers.
Last year, for the first time ever, the combined impacts of overdevelopment and climate change caused wildfires that could not be controlled. Casualties to humans, pets, livestock and wild animals were unprecedented. It looked like Berlin after the bombing, with nothing left standing and entire concrete communities wiped out as far as the eye can see.
More than 130 commercial structures burned in that fire and one of them was the Hilton Hotel. Now Rosenheim tells us developers want to place a similar Hilton Hotel right at the mouth of our canyon, in the middle of our own well-documented fire corridor.
Because of our canyons, Agoura is known as gateway to the Santa Monica Mountains, but they are also gateway to everywhere from LAX to Santa Barbara for a large number of commuters and grid-locked daily by millions of beachgoers.
The big lesson of last year’s massive fires is that it’s a whole new ball game. After Santa Rosa, we must look at all future development with a new set of eyes and a new consciousness.
We must stop building neighborhoods that are indefensible.