Poppy Peak seen from the dead end at the top of East Annan Way in Highland Park | Photo by T. A. Hendrickson

Developers Eye Poppy Peak in Highland Park, Alarming Residents

2020 August Front Page

By Bill Hendrickson

Poppy Peak, the hillside that rises above the steep winding streets east of Figueroa in Highland Park, has caught a developer’s eye.

Residents of the area are not pleased.

Currently, two luxury homes are being built on East Annan Way, near the north slope of Poppy Peak. Residents who spoke up at a recent meeting of the Historic Highland Park Neighborhood Council (HHPNC) said the developer owns 26 such parcels which, if developed, would fill in one of the last remaining open spaces in Highland Park.

One of the two houses on East Annan Way is “done” and the other will be finished in about six months, according to the developer. | Photo by T.A. Hendrickson

Ahmad Abghari, a member of Poppy Peak 26 LLC, the development group that is building the houses, confirmed that the group owns more property on the hillside, but did not comment when asked if the long-range plan was to build a total of 26 houses. Abghari, who is based in La Crescenta, said that the plan for now is to focus on the two houses on East Annan Way, one of which he said was “done” and the other which he said would be finished in six months.

The construction notice on the fence at 6250 East Annan Way gives the developer name as “Poppy Peak 26 LLC,” though the developer says he is focused for now on building only two houses. | Photo by T.A. Hendrickson

At the HHPNC meeting where the Poppy Peak project was on the agenda, no one spoke in favor of the development. Abghari told the Sentinel he was not aware of the opposition.

Stakeholders expressed their desire to keep Poppy Peak as open space for people, birds and native habitat. They also noted that the narrow roads leading up to Poppy Peak are already difficult for cars and fire trucks to navigate. Abghari told the Sentinel that all development has to meet applicable fire safety standards and pointed out that there is a fire hydrant in front of one of the houses on East Annan Way.

Another criticism raised by stakeholders at the HHPNC meeting is that the developer had never presented the development plan to the council’s Land Use Committee and thus had never invited community feedback.

On this project, however, there may be little stakeholders can do to get the developer to listen to them. That’s because the Poppy Peak hillside is developable “by right,” which means the developer has legal authority to proceed without having to seek any special permission from city officials or community stakeholders. 

Nevertheless, the HHPNC Board voted 10-0 to send a letter to the developers asking them to present their Poppy Peak plans to the HHPNC Land Use Committee. Copies of the letter will also be sent to the City Planning Department and City Council District 14.  

At the least, the letter aligns the HHPNC with the stakeholders in terms of demanding a voice on local development. The letter also puts city officials on notice that constituents are not happy with additional housing being built on Poppy Peak. 

As of August 17, Abghari said he had not received the letter.

In the meantime, opponents of Poppy Peak development have begun a campaign on social media to protect the hillside. The opposition includes a Facebook Group, a video about Poppy Peak and a petition at savepoppypeak.com.  

In mid-August, this postcard arrived in the mailboxes of residents near Poppy Peak.

 


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2 thoughts on “Developers Eye Poppy Peak in Highland Park, Alarming Residents

  1. thanks a lot, your site has just provided the answers that i have been looking forward to for sometime now. because of this am sure to visit your website next time if i need answers, thanks again. if you are looking for an interesting site as good as this one, then click this link and you would be open to a site with amazing information that would be very useful to you.

  2. I’m a former resident of Highland Park (now a NoCal resident).

    The problem with gentrification is that you don’t know it’s coming until it is there. Local residents seem late to the game, and private ownership on Poppy Hill will result in development before the local groups can organize. The questions are: what are the limits of development, and to what use do you want to make these lands? That’s not clear in the article, and not clear in the local response.

    Highland Park continues to gentrify, and there’s little accomplished by reactive measures, and, as I suggested in my second paragraph, if you notice gentrification you have already lost much of the momentum to counter it.

    Take care of your open spaces, makes affordable housing available to everyone. Easy to say, but LA has made only short strides to protect open spaces, and is flummoxed by creating affordable housing.

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