History Preserve Calabasas

Old Topanga resident Toby Keeler, and Calabasas Highlands residents Liz Stephens and Bob Benson, founded Preserve Calabasas in 2007 initially to prevent the city from installing a stoplight at Headwaters Corner and thwart an urban intrusion into the rural community. 

Calabasas’ rural community was also significantly hillside/mountainous zoned, beautiful and unique. Fighting Viewpoint school’s commercial expansion during the second phase of the MOU — and fighting to protect ridgelines and other natural resource protective policies during the General Plan GPAC deliberations were battles also undertaken.

Liz Stephens
Toby Keeler

Toby Keeler and Liz Stephens were long time Federation delegates and activists fighting to preserve all of the Santa Monica Mountains – including our COG cities.

The Las Virgenes Homeowners Federation, Inc., has always played a significant role in fighting to protect the spectacular natural beauty of the city of Calabasas since its incorporation in 1991. And Preserve Calabasas was a natural component to absorb. Quality of life has always been one of the most important goals of the electorate.

It was the Measure N battle last year (2019), that attracted extra special attention for several reasons. A billion dollar real estate investment company AvalonBay, manufactured its own affordable housing crisis to enable themselves to build 161 new market rate units — when they were entitled to none. It was a precedent setting scheme that would have bypassed public input and the Planning Commission process in Calabasas entirely.

Measure N went down in flames — final votes tabulated were NO – 78.02% and YES – 21.98%.

Adding to this, the city is currently undergoing a Housing Element Update — and warrants special attention — as they are reviewing ridgeline, grading, and hillside policies and zoning — and looking at potentially up-zoning to accommodate the purported 6th Cycle RHNA numbers. These could have the potential to change the landscape and face of Calabasas permanently.

The entire city of Calabasas lies in a very high fire severity zone. RHNA allocations should be challenged (not just accommodated) based on many legitimate factors — including public safety, landscape constraints, location, conservation, urban sprawl, and upcoming state legislation.

There is no place for added dangerous density in the wildland-urban interface.

A t-shirt from 2007.