URGENT DEVELOPMENTS

The county has released their final draft of the Santa Monica Mountains North Area Plan

http://planning.lacounty.gov/smmnap

And we need your help!

 

Here’s what’s been happening:

    Many of the residential communities in the Santa Monica Mountains have been joining together in protest of the activities of the growing number of wineries, wedding venues and the like doing business in their area. This uproar has caused the county to revise the Santa Monica Mountains North Area Plan (SMMNAP). Our Vasa Park falls in this Area Plan and will be so adversely affected by the changes they are proposing that it will be unable to function as it does today.

   You can help by writing a letter in support of Vasa Park and by attending the upcoming online public meeting with the county.

   Thanks to the many of you that have already written letters and attended the two previous public meetings wearing your yellow shirts and voicing your concerns. We need your continued help. Pass the word, keep writing your letters and plan to attend the next online public meeting.

   Vasa Park is not a “Commercial Party House” and should not be treated as such.

Please submit all written comment letters no later than 5:00 p.m. on June 30, 2020.

Please send by mail to the following address:

Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning

Attn: Thuy Hua

320 W. Temple Street, 13th Floor

Los Angeles, CA 90012

For email submittal of your comment letter, send to:

smmnortharea@planning.lacounty.gov

Public Meeting: The county will conduct one online public meeting. All interested parties are invited to participate.

June 11, 2020

5:00 p.m.

Online Meeting

Visit http://planning.lacounty.gov/smmnap or call (213) 974-6465 for more meeting information.

 

IMPORTANT LINKS:

http://planning.lacounty.gov/assets/upl/project/smmnap_plan-2010may.pdf

http://planning.lacounty.gov/assets/upl/project/smmnap_csd-2020may.pdf

 

 

CULTURAL

  • Vasa Park is an outdoor recreation property located in Agoura Hills.  The “park” has been quietly owned and operated by members of the VASA Order of America for over 70 years.  The park is an essential gathering point for Scandinavian-Americans to provide members a means to share their rich heritage with fellow Americans, and to learn or remember the meaningful ways and values of historical Scandinavian culture.  The new Community Standards District Plan will shut down our existing conforming use. Without an exemption our park Vasa members will have nowhere to keep the traditions alive. 
  • Vasa Park provides an opportunity for general public to experience Scandinavian culture, see authentic Swedish traditions and dance, and learn the Swedish language in a natural outdoor setting.  The new SMMNA Community Standards District plan would prohibit our events as they have been held for 70 years.  Do not shut us down. 
  • Vasa is a nearly 125 year old Scandinavian-American organization founded on the principles of helping our fellow man, truth and unity of our roots.  Our park property in Agoura Hills represents the culmination of U.S. westward immigration to the Los Angeles area and is dedicated to preservation of our Scandinavian heritage which we share with our members and the public.  The SMMNA Plan will undo our 70 years of conforming peaceful enjoyment and replace with restrictions which we cannot overcome as a non-profit organization.  Please allow our traditions to continue by exempting the Vasa Park property from the Community Standards District.

RECREATION

  • Vasa Park in Agoura Hills exhibits the simple beauty of outdoor nature in a highly digitized world.   The facility is accessible to our members as well as the public for recreation and education.  The new SMMNA Community Standards District will impose un-warranted restrictions that will require closing the park down.  We have been a good neighbor in the community for 70 years, do not force us to close.
  • Vasa Park on Triunfo Canyon Road exemplifies the preservation of open space merged with coordinated outdoor daytime events for all to enjoy.  The park also provides important green space and community shelter-in-place protections in the event of  a catastrophic fire.  The new SMMNA plan Community Standards District will force the property to close and be lost forever to the public and community. 
  • Vasa Park in Agoura Hills allows nature recreation to many children, especially those disadvantaged children living in populated areas with little access to green open space.  The beauty of the sycamore trees, the riparian setting of the seasonal Triunfo Creek and the surrounding hillsides must be preserved by allowing this property to be maintained and used as currently practiced.  Requiring the now-legal property to conform to new restrictions and requirements as detailed in the SMMNA Plan and CSD will mean closure of this wonderful place.  Do not shut Vasa Park down.

VESTED ENTITLEMENT/GRANDFATHER RIGHTS

  • Vasa Park in Agoura Hills has been a legal-conforming facility in the County of Los Angeles for 70 years.  The new SMMNAP and CSD will make our current use nonconforming and will result in “regulatory taking” of our property.  Vasa Park must be exempted from the new plan.
  • The Vasa Park property has been a legal, conforming use facility,  consistent with current zoning regulations in Agoura Hills for 70 years.  We have been a good neighbor in the community and have protected our open space for peaceful enjoyment of the owners and public alike.    Our historical operating practices are not changing or expanding.  The property needs to Grandfathered as a legal, non-conforming use to continue as we have done for 70 years. 
  • The proposed SMMNA Plan and proposed CSD changes will require our property, Vasa Park on Triunfo Canyon Road in Agoura Hills, to be closed and lost forever.  We request that the County of Los Angeles preserve our vested property rights by written exemption and allow our current legal and conforming uses to continue without the granting of a Conditional Use Permit.

Vasa Park Talking Points

  • Vasa Park has operated for over 70 years as a non-profit organization.
  • Our park serves the cultural needs of our members and the family recreation needs of the public.
  • We are currently and historically a daytime operation.
  • Vasa Park is a safe-haven environment and access point for emergency measures and evacuations.
  • The local TriunfoLobo Homeowners Association supports in writing grandfathering our operation over the other larger, commercial event venues. Vasa Park has proven to be a good neighbor.
  • Definition of “Event Facility” in the SMMNAP Community Standards District document describe more than our operation. Vasa Park is not a wedding, concert or rowdy party venue. As a matter of fact, we have turned away wedding requests in the past.
  • An Event Facility will require a Conditional Use Permit, the cost of which we cannot afford nor the proposed 3 year time limit to achieve. This will put Vasa Park out of business.
  • Our park Dance Pavilion was legally built and permitted many years ago and was built for our needs as a specific cultural dance performance area. It is different from neighboring businesses which just have an “ad-hoc” designated dance area. The Vasa Park dance pavilion should be excluded from new regulations.
  • Our business plan for the future is to continue to operate as we have down for over 70 years as a family picnic and recreational facility.

What Vasa Park is requesting is simple – a permanent way to continue our current operations without the requirement of obtaining a CUP. We believe this can be achieved through multiple methodologies including:

  • “Grandfathering” through vested entitlement, either tied to property OR current property owner;
  • Adding another venue definition to the Community Standards District document, compatible with the North Area Plan document, which describes a legal conforming operation like Vasa Park (i.e, “Family Picnic Grounds and Recreation Facility”) and does not require a CUP.

Public Review PeriodStarting on May 15,2020 and ending on June 30, 2020

Public Comments: Please submit all written comment letters no later than 5:00 p.m. on June 30, 2020.

Please send by mail to the following address:

Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning

Attn: Thuy Hua

320 W. Temple Street, 13th Floor

Los Angeles, CA 90012

For email submittal of your comment letter, send to:

smmnortharea@planning.lacounty.gov

Public Meeting: The county will conduct one online public meeting. All interested parties are invited to participate.

June 11, 2020

5:00 p.m.

Online Meeting

Visit http://planning.lacounty.gov/smmnap or call (213) 974-6465 for more meeting information.