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TO: HONORABLE MAYOR LYON AND MEMBERS OF THE CITY COUNCIL
FROM: ASSISTANT CITY MANAGER
DATE: FEBRUARY 17, 2004
SUBJECT: POTENTIAL PURCHASE OF A VACANT LOT ON CHERRYHILL LANE IN THE PORTUGUESE BEND LANDSLIDE AREA
Provide direction to staff on making an offer to purchase a vacant lot on Cherryhill Lane in an amount not to exceed $2,700.
In November 2003, the City exchanged correspondence with Ms. Terry Turner, the owner of a 15,280 square foot vacant lot on Cherryhill Lane (see attached letters and site map). Ms. Turner was concerned that the property tax bill for her lot on Cherryhill Lane, which had been approximately $345.00 per year, had substantially increased with the passage of the PVP School District’s parcel tax last year. Rather than paying the increased taxes on the property, Ms. Turner recently contacted the City Manager and indicated that she would like the City to consider purchasing her lot.
There are a total of 35 lots on Cherryhill Lane that were subdivided in the early 1950’s by Tract Map No. 14118. In the wake of the Portuguese Bend Landslide that began in 1956, only four residential structures remain in this neighborhood today and the vacant lots are unbuildable due to the continuing land movement. All of the properties on Cherryhill Lane are zoned Open Space Hazard (OH) and are within an Equestrian Overlay District. The City currently owns seven of these vacant lots – six were acquired in the late 1980’s when the City realigned and rebuilt Palos Verdes Drive South back into its legal right-of-way and the seventh was purchased in 2001 from the County for $2,721.00 through the sale of tax defaulted property. In the last few years, the City has also attempted to purchase four other tax-defaulted properties in the Portuguese Bend Landslide area, however, these were eventually redeemed by their owners and removed from the tax sale.
As opportunities have arisen, the City has purchased vacant lots on Cherryhill Lane, which continues to be the most the active portion of the Portuguese Bend Landslide. These lots have been acquired in order to further the City’s landslide abatement efforts. Over time, if enough of these properties can be acquired, they may also have some long-term benefit for the preservation of natural open space and the development of public trails and passive recreational amenities in the area, as this area is located adjacent to the proposed Portuguese Bend Nature Preserve.
Staff recommends that the City’s offer not exceed $2,700, based on the last lot the City purchased on Cherryhill Lane in 2001. If the City’s offer were accepted, the money for the purchase would come from the General fund. The only on-going cost to the City of owning this property would be the annual cost of clearing non-native vegetation for fire control purposes, as necessary.
Assistant City Manager