On March 3rd, voters in the city of Calabasas will be voting on Measure N, the Avalon Initiative.
This initiative, if passed, will allow a developer to start development of 161 additional apartment units at the location off Las Virgenes & Lost Hills roads, south of AE Wright Middle School. He never brought his project to the City for review, or took actions to follow the development process that every other builder is required to do.
Instead, from the get-go, he sought to bypass the planning process and prevent community input. The theatrics, and misinformation that has been circulated by this company even in signature gathering and overall is more than disappointing.
No one should be allowed to bypass the planning process. Allowing a developer to build a precedent setting 161 units when he entitled to none is not in any way “the best example of good planning” – despite this claim on a recent flyer. He should be required to go through ALL the regular application and planning channels and process like everyone else instead of trying to hold the city and its residents hostage over “affordable units”.
Kudos to Mayor Pro Tem James Bozajian, Councilmember Mary Sue Maurer, and Mayor Alicia Weintraub for insisting their constituents have the opportunity to vote and weigh in on this initiative. However, Councilmembers Fred Gaines and David Shapiro on the other hand voted against residents’ right to vote on this project. Mr. Gaines has apparently lead the effort in advising the developer — including how to bypass community input. Tune in to the past Council meetings where this has been on the agenda and his lead support is blatantly obvious. They brought in the usual accomplices too like Abundant Housing and VICA to support their “auto housing approval” effort. And, a speaker actually declared at a recent meeting that Calabasas residents had no right to vote on other peoples’ lives…..
N is fraught with many twists and turns, including an initial attempt to hijack Preserve Calabasas — which long-time enviro activists Toby Keeler and Liz Stephens founded many years ago. The developer’s disingenuous objective appeared to be to try and use Preserve Calabasas to sell his project to the electorate – as if voting for this project is really a mechanism for preserving Calabasas and keeping development off Calabasas hillsides. It will not keep one single project off the hillsides or out of the rural or undeveloped areas in Calabasas.
Time to get the FACTS out there.
The Federation is opposed to N. Certainly no one is against affordable housing. There are many Calabasas residents that work 2 or 3 jobs to try and make ends meet that are not part of this or subsidized in any way that could really use help and more “affordable” housing — but, this is not the way to get it done.