first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake The property belongs to a Newport Beach-based developer who is considering selling, said Peter Lyons, the city’s deputy planning director. More than a decade ago, the city approved a housing tract map for that area that included 24 lots, but so far, nothing has materialized. “Rumor has it, the owner of the property has no interest of building those houses,” Lyons said. “The land has been on the market for a long time.” The developer, Nelson Chung, could not be reached for comment. Park district officials have met with Chung and have had talks with the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. Paul Edelman, deputy director of natural resources and planning for the conservancy, said a partnership is likely. “If the price is right, definitely,” he said. “The approved condo on the west side of the road will be a pretty big alteration. The park district has it on its radar screen and we’re letting them be the lead. It’s a no-brainer, good property to buy because it borders up the Rocky Peak Park.” The push to save the land as open space became more urgent after the City Council approved a 66-unit townhome development near Happy Face Hill in April, Hayduk said. A citizen’s group sued to block the development at the eastern entrance to the city but recently settled the lawsuit, allowing the Larwin Co. project to move forward. “There’s more interest in the other parcel,” City Councilman Glen Becerra said. “It’s more realistic that we can put together a group or organization to try to secure it. “Because of the richness of the biological resources and the fact that this would connect into the larger 4,000 acres of Rocky Peak Park system this becomes a more important parcel for preservation,” said Becerra, who was not on the council that approved the Chung project. Colleen Janssen, a spokeswoman for the park district, said the purchase would be a great asset to the community. “Our general philosophy is if we can protect space from being developed,” she said, “we can keep the community from being covered entirely by concrete.” Angie Valencia-Martinez, (805) 583-7604 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! SIMI VALLEY – Now that a townhome project will sit at the base of Happy Face Hill, the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District is trying to raise money to buy 12 acres across from the site to protect it from development. Ed Hayduk, the district’s assistant general manager, couldn’t estimate how much the land east of Kuehner Drive and north of the 118 Freeway is worth but said it would be in the millions of dollars. “We’re in the process of writing a grant to possibly get some money to purchase that property,” he said. “We’re looking anywhere we can.” The land is valuable to the district because it’s the gateway to Rocky Peak Park, which has 4,000 acres of open space, hiking trails and Hummingbird Creek. last_img