...no country can be well governed unless its citizens as a body keep religiously before their minds that they are the guardians of the law and that the law officers are only the machinery for its execution, nothing more.
— Mark Twain in The Gilded Age


In 2013-2014, there were various Palos Verdes Estates City Council meetings where residents who live on Via Elevado advocated closing the entire Paseo Del Sol Fire Road Trail which runs from Lower Paseo del Sol to Via Campesino. This is one of the two most popular hiking trails in PVE (The Boundary Trail along Torrance is the other). However, a strong turnout among trail supporters caused City Councilmembers not to follow their recommendations, although they did consider and discuss closing the trail. Instead, they decided to impose a curfew between one hour after sunset and one hour before sunrise.  City Council also imposed a parking ban on one side of Paseo del Sol and limiting parking on the other side to only residents of Paseo del Sol (who were given special parking permits and signage installed).  

In 2015, the residents of Va Elevado (led by Jim D'Angelo) developed a proposal to close the portion of the trail directly above their homes and re-route it higher up the hillside with a trail that contained xx steps. They proposed a 300 foot fence with "no trespassing signs" that would essentially annex the parkland adjacent to their properties for their own benefit. Further the proposal advocated  prosecution to those not complying. This would have clearly violated underlying deed restrictions which say:

“That, except as hereinafter provided, said realty is to be used and administered forever for park and/or recreation purposes only … for the benefit of the (1) residents and (2) non-resident property owners within the boundaries of the property heretofore commonly known as “Palos Verdes Estates”…¶ 3 (pp 6-7)

Moreover, the "new" trail would cost $70,000 and they expected the City to pay for part of that. Finally, the new trail would mean that certain members of the public who previously had used the trail would no longer be able to use it -- because of the dirt path (instead of the Fire Road's pavement) it would no longer be usable by bikers, baby carriages, wheelchairs, older people with balance/stability issues and anyone who wanted a place to hike after a heavy rain without dealing with the mud. For the application and specifics, click here.

In June 2015, D'Angelo took his proposal to the Palos Verdes Homes Association seeking their support. The PVHA not only granted the support, but extended the possibility of partially funding the costs. For the letter of support signed by PVHA President Mark Paulin, click here.

In September 2015, the Parklands Committee led by Charlie Peterson rejected the proposal, criticizing that the residents along Via Elevado for already building fences incorporating a slice of parklands into their backyards. He said the Parklands Committee would not consider a proposal while such encroachments remain.

Below are photos of the part of the trail that would have been forever blocked to the public:

Chronology of Events:

  • 9/24/13 City Council Meeting approving Ordinance 13-703; Adding Section 12.24.180 to the Palos Verdes Estates Municipal Code Closing Certain Trails at Night, including Paseo del Sol Fire Road. For Staff report and correspondence, click here.
  • 9/10/15 Parklands Committee in which the proposal to close a portion of the Paseo del Sol Fire Road and re-route up the hillside was rejected.

Voting Record of Elected Officials:

early 2015: Palos Verdes Homes Association Approves support of Paseo Del Sol Trail closure & Re-routing Project

Voting For: Ed Fountain, Phil Frengs, Dale Hoffman, Gabrielle Holt, Mark Paulin

Voting Against: None

September 10, 2015: Parklands Committee rejects Proposal to Close a Portion of the Paseo del Sol Fireroaed and Re-Route to a new Trail

Voting For: None

Voting Against: Charlie Peterson, Robert Wade, Paul Rubicam, Amir Kaviani, Deborah Richie-Bray

PVRRG Perspective:

Parkland is an essential part of what makes Palos Verdes Estates a special community. It was intended by our Founders to be permanently protected for public recreational use, and protected by explicit language in the underlying deeds. It was a huge breach of fiduciary duty for the Palos Verdes Homes Association to write a letter in support of this project.  Especially since it is on the same parkland tract that was under litigation in the Panorama Parklands case (see here) and the letter was written just after a Judge had ruled that the PVHA had acted "ultra vires" (outside their powers) in selling Parkland.

Comments from the Public:

If you would like to post your comment on this page, please fill in the form below. By submitting, you are granting permission for PVRRG to post your comment with attribution.

Thank the Parklands committee for their vote on the trail down to Via Campasina from Paseo del Sol. While I can no longer hike that trail, I enjoyed it for more than twenty years...even before the fences and cement barriers were installed. My children hiked down “peacock canyon” from Via Panorama down to Malaga Cove school. Don’t know if that’s possible anymore. Save our parklands!
— Sandra Winston

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