20-Year Battle for Triangle Ranch Ends in Conservation Victory | New

The 320-acre Triangle Ranch, located off the Kanan and Cornell Highways in the unincorporated Agoura Hills area of ​​the Santa Monica Mountains, will finally be in public hands after a 20-year battle to stop development residential. The total purchase price of the land was $ 28.075 million, down from the deal originally approved in 2017 for $ 30.5 million.

Triangle Ranch, purchased in phases one to four over the past three years

The land is connected to 500 acres already owned and managed by the Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy (SMMC) and the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA). It was originally planned for a development with as many as 81 houses in the early 2000s. In 2005, the developer’s plans were revised from 81 to 71 houses due to public opposition and environmental concerns, which have arisen. pursued.

Finally, in 2017, an agreement was reached for the landowner to cancel the development and sell the property to the joint agencies, both overseen by Joe Edmiston, in four phases over the next several years. The first three phases of the purchase were completed in 2018, but the fourth final phase did not take place until last month due to delays in state funding. On October 18, at the last board meeting of SMMC, it was confirmed that the funds needed for the final installment were available and authorized to be used to complete the acquisition.

Traingle Ranch

Triangular ranch

Each purchase effectively served as a puzzle piece connecting a patchwork of public land owned by SMMC / MRCA along Agoura Road on either side of Kanan Road, with phase four the final piece creating an adjoining stretch of open space.

State Senator Henry Stern and Assembly Member Richard Bloom both worked to secure state funding to acquire the last remaining plots of Triangle Ranch by submitting a budget request of $ 14.5 million. dollars from the general state fund, according to Agoura Hills Tomorrow.

A letter of support signed by 10 former mayors of Agoura Hills attested to the ecological importance of the Triangle Ranch land.

The property “contains blue line streams and significant undisturbed native vegetation,” the letter says. “It is prime habitat for mule deer, bobcats and pumas, as well as all other species native to the Santa Monica Mountains … on the eastern slope of Ladyface Mountain.”

Mayors have declared their support for preserving the land, saying the planned residential development would block wildlife migration corridors to and from the Liberty Canyon Wildlife Connector – the overpass currently under development – and add dozens. car travel in the region, which would impact the official Kanan. Fire / disaster evacuation route from Cornell and Malibu. They pointed out that Triangle Ranch contains a section of Medea Creek, which is in the Malibu Creek watershed, and that any development on the eastern slope of Ladyface Mountain would flow directly into Malibu.

In March 2020, Malibu City Council sent a similar letter of support to Stern and Bloom, requested by then-council member Jefferson “Zuma Jay” Wagner.

The first phase of purchase, completed in March 2018, consisted of 60 acres between Kanan and Cornell Roads, which included a creek and critically important habitat for the endangered Western Turtle. The acquisition was funded by grants from various proposals.

During phases two and three, an additional 110 acres were purchased in September 2018 with a number of funding sources including Agoura Hills City Council, the Hilton Foundation, the Wildlife Conservation Board, and the Measure 68 funds. Measure 68 funding request for the fourth phase was approved just one day before the start of the Woolsey fire in 2018. Three years later, the purchase is finally finalized.

The entire property is classified as an “Important Ecological Area” and described as key habitat for a large number of protected animals and plants, including half a dozen federally listed species. But the fact that it is home to one of the most genetically diverse populations of the federally protected wildflower Pentachaeta lyonii sealed the deal for Prop 68 funds. The sunflower related species blooms from March through August in the prairies and occurs only in the Santa Monica Mountains.

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