Neighbor Group Forms to Weigh in on Future of Del Rey Oaks Driving Range
January 17, 2013
It's been well over a year since the former operators of the Del Rey Oaks driving range, a grassy spot recessed behind Safeway off of Canyon Del Rey and Fremont Boulevard, shuttered with no notice and left behind a weed patch and padlocked clubhouse.
A new neighbor group formed within the past month to chime in on the future of the city-owned parcel, organizing against a proposed RV park.
"One thing that bothers us is that this isn’t something that Del Rey Oaks residents can use," says resident Ryan Durham, who with neighbors circulated a petition that's now 178 signatures strong.
Durham cites crime, traffic and an unwanted transient population as reasons to oppose an RV park there. He'd rather see a church or a school.
"There seems to be an obsession at city hall right now into turning that area into something they can generate revenue from, even at the expense of the residents," Durham says. "But we just approved a 1-percent sales tax increase [in June]."
Planning Commissioner Scott Larsen is reportedly considering a business venture to propose a sports bar on the vacant site, and city officials have also talked about bocce courts or additional Safeway parking.
Mayor Jerry Edelen (pictured, above left, with City Manager Daniel Dawson at the driving range site) says residents are unduly worked up, and the proposal—which hasn't even formally come before City Council yet—would be for a high-end RV park charging about $250 a night.
"We were caught totally by surprise," Edelen says of the petition, which Durham and others delivered to City Council this week.
They were spurred to action after the developer, Brad Slama, sent out a postcard to residents promoting an open house on the site next Monday, Jan. 21 (from 3-7pm). Edelen says he was planning to go to learn more about the project, but the city attorney advised him it would be better to avoid the appearance of city support at this stage; the postcard, Edelen says, incorrectly lists the city as a co-sponsor.
Slama is schedule to present an overview of the proposal City Council at its Jan. 23 meeting, where Durham and other neighbors plan to weigh in.
Edelen says that'll be the council's first opportunity to learn any details about the project. "It kind of hurts when people think we're trying to sneak things through," he says.