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Acton takes aim at off-road park

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http://www.avpress.com/n/mosty3.hts

Acton takes aim at off-road park

This story appeared in the Antelope Valley Press on Monday, October 4, 2004.

By LISA WAHLA HOWARD

Valley Press Staff Writer

ACTON - There isn't even a formal plan yet, but residents on upper Crown Valley Road already are gearing up for a fight if Los Angeles County pursues its plan to put an off-highway vehicle park on a nearby 650-acre hillside.

"It's just a bad idea," said Beverly Kane, who lives in the area and worries about her property values. "There will be a horrible amount of noise, the dirt will be incredible, and they'll try to make Crown Valley Road the main thoroughfare up to the area. ... This is a horse community - they're nuts putting it here."

The county agreed to purchase the property in August for $1.2 million after finding out the owner defaulted on property taxes, but the owner can still pay the back taxes and reclaim possession.

The purchase must be approved by the state, after which the county must send letters to all interested parties, publish a notice in a newspaper and wait 60 days before moving ahead. At any point in the process, the property owner could reclaim the land by paying the back taxes.

If the county does purchase the land, between Acton and Palmdale south of about 30th Street West, it would use fees paid by OHV users. After the sale, the county would hire a consultant to determine if the property is feasible to be turned into an OHV park.

"I think if they decide to select that site for further study, they'd have major opposition from the Town Council," Acton Town Council President David Weary said. "Definitely, we're opposed to doing that in our backyard. ... There's got to be a better place than Acton, closer to the county boundaries."

Sheila Ortega, spokeswoman for the county's Department of Parks and Recreation, said the department has spent 20 years trying to find an appropriate location for the OHV park. Other possible sites have been ruled out because of the same concerns raised in Acton - residents' fears about noise and dust, she said.

Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich, who represents the Antelope Valley, supported the parks department's decision to study the idea, but that shouldn't be interpreted as support for the plan itself, an aide said.

"The supervisor supported the department in looking at it, but we made it very clear that we wanted community support," said Sussy Nemer, Antonovich's parks deputy.

One of Kane's main complaints is that the acres near her home are already used by OHV riders, trespassing illegally on vacant properties, and the noise they produce echoes through the canyon.

"It's severe - they're here every weekend, and in the evenings after work," Kane said. "The sheriffs do not respond, and if they do, the motorcycles hide and come out when they leave."

Nemer said the county is aware of the problems with illegal riders.

"That's one of the main reasons why the parks department is looking to build an OHV park, so we can reduce the illegal activity," Nemer said.

Kane has support from many nearby residents, including close to 40 signatures on a letter of opposition that cites water worries, dust concerns and dangerous conditions for horses and their riders. She's hoping for backing from environmentalists and has contacted the Sierra Club because she believes the proposed park is a habitat for an endangered species of kangaroo rat.

Jim Dodson, a local member of the Sierra Club, said it's too early for the group to get involved, but he would like to see the area in question and learn more about the county's plan.

"I don't think this is a good spot to have one, because of the conflicts with the neighborhood," he said. "People come out to a place like this (to ride), find it too crowded, and just go riding (illegally). It becomes an attractive nuisance."

Dodson said the region could be habitat for the Mohave ground squirrel and the Mariposa lily, both endangered or threatened species.

lhoward@avpress.com

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What is interesting is the fact that they use the "dust" issue in their complaint. I have three horses at home myself and "dust" is a constant issue at my house. Ever seen a horse and rider heading down a trail??

I have wondered how they proclaim every rider is riding illegally when most equestrians ride on power line right of ways.... I thought they were private property...hmmmm :cry:

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Exactly right. "Oh, I'm not trespassing because I'm on a horse." I don't see local and state govt's taxing horses either. If, in their own mind, they are supremely and solely entitled to ride on private land, then they should have to pay a usage tax. Screw a license plate right to the horse's ass, and slap a sticker on the forehead.

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"If the county does purchase the land, between Acton and Palmdale south of about 30th Street West, it would use fees paid by OHV users. After the sale, the county would hire a consultant to determine if the property is feasible to be turned into an OHV park"

Isnt it nice that OHV user fees will be used to purchase the land, land that may not produce riding opportunities?

Robert :cry:

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They must keep there horses on indoor / outdoor carpet :cry: Horses are dusty! And maybe a indangered kangaroo rat...come on they can do better! :cry:

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When I lived down south many of my friends were cowboys??, actually most of them worked in the film industrie and lived in the Acton area. One thing that does'nt work together are bike,s and horses, or there riders!!!!. I'd expect quite a fight and would put my money on a horse!!!. thankfully,(at least when I was in that area, (10 years ago!!!). Not to many OHV riders used that area. I'm sure that has changed??. But the Mojavie desert country is only a short drive away. Thankfully I'm back in the NorCal mountains where I was raised!!!. bike,s and horses still don't work together!!, but like out in the desert there is plenty of terrain to seperate both??, the fight goe,s on even up here!!. :cry:

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What really amazes me is that back in the 70's Acton was hicksville. Now there are a lot of huge "Estate Properties" where people bought relatively cheap land and built huge homes on them.

Those people don't go down without a fight. Money talks.

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