Save Kite Hill
Our goal is to preserve the last remaining open spaces and natural habitats in Elysian Heights starting first with our beloved Kite Hill.
Kite Hill runs alongside and around Baxter street, one of the steepest roadways in America. They say it was called Kite Hill because the height created a perfect opportunity for, yes, flying a kite. And the name has lived on, a community mascot to all those that have been lucky enough to dwell here.
The kite hill trail at risk is the path running from the Baxter Stairs to the Salkin House AKA “The Lost Lautner” on Avon Terrace. Both the Baxter stairs and the Salkin House are historical monuments.
This land is part of the Santa Monica Mountains and one of the oldest natural habitats in our city. It is home to protected trees such as black walnuts as well as Mexican Elderberry and Toyon which are on the list of trees to be considered protected by city of Los Angeles.
The hill is also a refuge for the community. It brings people together and is in daily use from all who live or visit here.
Kite Hill has been assumed public and used publicly as a walking trail since the 1940s but it is not the first time it has been threatened by development. In the 1990s the community fought and won against a condo development. Their decision was based on lack of access. The plot is landlocked, In order to build upon the hillside one has to erect a sort of freeway off ramp from Avon Terrace which is a dead end and very steep substandard street. This proposed roadway would sit on an estimated 16 pilings to curve around the Salkin House and is at points 40 feet above grade. Plans for the roadway were not submitted at the time of our first hearing so we will update you as we know more.
The current owner bought the parcel in a 2007 tax sale after the previous ones lost their case with the city. While we believe in the right to build upon private land, it’s not that simple here. Permission needs to be granted by the city to build a roadway that is very invasive to the surrounding properties and native habitat. As of now that case is continued pending environmental review.
We have the support of the Santa Monica Mountain Conservancy with the end goal of buying this land back to keep it public for all time. Please join us in this mission by showing your support! And don’t hesitate to reach out with questions.