The Los Angeles City Council on Tuesday voted to designate a portion of the Verdugo Hills Golf Course as historically significant — making good on a deal reached last week that will still allow construction of a planned residential development on the site.
Descendants of Japanese Americans who were interned at the Tuna Canyon Detention Station, which was located on the site during World War II, and other community members had been pushing for a historic-cultural monument despite a unanimous vote by the city's Cultural Heritage Commission in April not to recommend the designation because of a lack of original structures remaining on the property.
But a deal was eventually brokered with the city's Planning Land Use and Management committee and the site's stakeholders, including developer Snowball West and L.A. City Councilman Richard Alarcon, who initiated the application for historic designation.
Alarcon issued a statement after the City Council on Tuesday voted to approve the designation, calling the station "an important piece of our history" in northeast San Fernando Valley.
"Declaring the Tuna Canyon Detention Station as a historic-cultural monument allows us to protect this important piece of our history, and give[s] us the opportunity to continue to learn from our past mistakes and preserve this lesson for generations to come," Alarcon said.
At the same time, an attorney for the property's owner expressed frustration with the city's process. But after the deal was announced on Friday, a member of the Sunland-Tujunga Neighborhood Council said she was glad the internment center will be memorialized, even if the residential development on the site wouldn't be halted.
Staff writer Daniel Siegal contributed reporting.