3/15/07 Early Elephant Hills and how they survived

Pre-historic Elephant Hills or The Land That Some Forgot
Chapter 1

It all started way back in the early 1900's when every city in the US so far was developed around a grid type system of streets and roads, Los Angeles was no exception, our nearsighted city planners were content with the standard method of laying out their city (platting) with a checkerboard of streets at right angles to each other paying no attention to the topography of the land they were platting over the top of, after all, Los Angeles looks as flat as Topeka Kansas on a map.
The result was a system of streets that in some hilly locations was as useless as a squirt gun at a forest fire leaving select areas nearly impossible to develop. Over time most of these areas have been exploited by developers using innovative methods of hillside building and creative zoning variances (Google 'California mudslide' or 'La Conchita' or 'Eaton Crest' for examples) very few were left undeveloped and by the early 80's only a handful of topographically challenged sites remained, Elephant Hills is one of these sites,
{There's FlatTop, Paradise Hill, Black Hawk Canyon and others but the daddy of 'em all is Elephant Hills, and as I write this entry there are evil men plotting the destruction of these hills, they have proven beyond a shadow of a doubt that they will stoop to incredibly low tactics to push their project through and that they have but one concern, THE BOTTOM LINE.

In 1978 when some rocket scientist decided that it would be a good thing to take this giant plot of undeveloped rolling hillsides affectionately known by locals as Elephant Hills<--- (note the 'S' these are hills, a range of them not one single, but a group of, hillS) and build condo's on them, the housing market was about to explode and venture capitalists across the ocean piled their money in stacks of hundreds of thousands and proceeded to make the first run at decimating the most precious natural resource Northeast Los Angeles has ever known, it's limited (even then) open space. The attempt was squashed almost before it got off the ground,
The history of ownership and finding out who owned the parcels then finding where that person was, was a huge task. Remember each parcel had to be individually identified by parcel number then a written request for each one had to be submitted to the county assessor who then took anywhere from 3 to 18 weeks to return the results of their microfilm records search.
If you were able to track the owners down you had to then convince them to sell their land. Life was more difficult for everyone before the advent of the computer. The overseas investors lost a bundle on the failed first attempt but their effort was just the beginning and sparked interest in the area and soon the man would be back, this time he would bring the CRA with him and boy, what a ride it was, The 65 million dollar Snyder-Allatorre blunder on the hill ...coming soon.


Sahra Bogado said...

I love the open space, and I think Elephant Hills should be protected. However, the property you are talking about is privately owned by many different people. I think they have a right to some sort of just compensation. I believe that most of the property owners bought that land with hopes of one day selling it at a profit for their retirement. They're not evil people.

Also, finding out who owns a piece of property might have been difficult in 1978, but it is the year 2007. You can find out who own what in a matter of minutes with online real estate databases. Why don't you guys pool your money and hook up with a title company for quick online access to this information. Alternately, you can have a civil engineer do the work for you - and gather a list of property owners and their mailing addresses for several thousand dollars.

If you want some help with any of this research, please feel free to contact me at

MusicUCanSee said...

Keep reading...I am not inferring that the private owners of select parcels in Elephant Hills are evil, I want to make it clear, the scoundrel in this story is the reckless developer and his roughshod tactics who is as close to evil as I ever want to see.

Keep reading.... We've got the database thing handled but I will be in touch with you to see whereyour help will be better used.