Alarcon seeks probe of leak on Las Lomas

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first_imgIn response, Councilman Bernard Parks – who chairs the council’s Budget Committee – had asked the City Attorney’s Office whether the city has a legal obligation to process Las Lomas’ environmental study and development application even though the project is outside city limits. In the four-page opinion, Chief Assistant City Attorney David Michaelson wrote that the city has already accepted fees from the developer and begun reviewing the project, so L.A. would lose a lawsuit if leaders stopped processing the project and the developer sued. “A court would likely determine that the city initiated a specific plan and that the city was legally obligated to process the Las Lomas EIR and the specific plan,” the opinion said. But Smith disagrees with the city attorney’s opinion and questions whether processing the environmental study and other applications could obligate the city to annex the property. Smith has hired his own attorney, who is an expert in annexations, to review the situation. The proposed project is along Interstate 5 in county jurisdiction, between the cities of Santa Clarita and Los Angeles. Under county zoning, the developer would only be able to build around 200 homes. Palmer has sought annexation by the city of L.A. for its guaranteed water supply and the possibility that L.A. leaders would endorse his higher-density mini-city concept. Las Lomas spokesman Matt Klink said the company received an e-mail version of the city attorney opinion Monday morning, hours before the council committee hearing. “Frankly, we’re shocked and surprised that a document like this would end up being blast e-mailed. It’s not appropriate,” Klink said. kerry.cavanaugh@dailynews.com 213-978-0390160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MOREWhicker: Clemson demonstrates that it’s tough to knock out the champ“I’m hopeful that whoever leaked the information is found out and that we enact the appropriate sanctions.” Still in the environmental-review phase, developer Dan Palmer is seeking to have Los Lomas annexed by the city of Los Angeles and to build a 5,500-home community in the hills between Santa Clarita and L.A. The memo was leaked before a council budget committee hearing Monday, when members were going to consider a fee agreement proposed by Alarc n in which Las Lomas would pay for staff time to expedite review of the project. Alarcon’s motion was postponed to January. Councilman Greig Smith, who opposes Las Lomas, has urged his fellow council members to deny the fee agreement and stop having city staff work on the project. Los Angeles City Councilman Richard Alarcon called Wednesday for an investigation into the release of a city attorney memo that said city leaders would be breaking the law if they stop processing development applications for the controversial Las Lomas development. The confidential memo was obtained by project opponents and distributed by a neighborhood council. But Alarcon argued that publicizing the opinion gave the developer an inside look at the city’s legal strategy on the project, which has already spawned several lawsuits. “This could have the effect of weakening our position as we go through this process,” said Alarcon, who requested a Los Angeles Police Department investigation if necessary. last_img read more