Secret Canyon Stairs Neighborhood Cleanup

Did you know there is a Secret Stairway in Chevy Chase Canyon?  It’s part of a city-owned path that connects Buckingham Rd. with Linda Vista Rd.

The stairs had all but disappeared under years of washed down dirt and leaves The city hadn’t cleaned for over 25 years, secret stairs are not high on their priority list.  Today a group of neighbors spent two hours trimming, shoveling, scraping and raking, and we unearthed the vanishing trail and stairs.  It all started with a post on Nextdoor dot com by Sarah Emery Bunn, a new canyon neighbor who wanted to know the story regarding some secret stone stairway she discovered out on a walk.  More people posted about the stairs and one thing led to another, and the decision was made to meet Saturday morning with tools in hand and rescue the stairs.  It was two hours of hard dirty work and everyone had a ball.  Our crew was made up of Sarah Emery Bunn, Susan Padilla, and two CCEA Directors, Zak Grausam, and Graeme Whifler.  And a special shout-out to Hilda Kelley who brought the crew water.  Photos below.

Click here for a map to the secret stairs.

Ice Cream Social Photos

Too Much Fun. 

The Chevy Chase Estates Association sponsored an Ice Cream Social that was a smashing success.  The Glendale Fire department offered a detailed inside tour of firefighting, lifesaving info for the young ones on how to survive a fire, and some hands-on experience with a fire hose (see photos).  Thanks to all the Bat Cave guys at Station 23.  Following the tour, everyone feasted on Free Ice Cream courtesy of the CCEA.  Then the day wrapped up with art projects and story time.  We have lots of photos to share.  Click on the little arrows in the upper right to see full-sized images.

City Council at Chevy Chase Photos and Important Info.

For the first time, Glendale City Council moved their Tuesday night meetings from city hall and held court at the beautiful new Chevy Chase Country Club.

It was a well-attended event with a lot of citizen oral communications, hours worth.

One issue of widespread and deep concern echoed over and over was the problem with reckless drivers in our canyon.  Please read below a bullet point summary prepared by one of Chevy Chase Estates Association Directors, Zak Grausam.

Canyon Speeders – CALL TO ACTION

The Glendale City Council held a “Council in your Neighborhood” event recently.  It featured a report from the police department that spoke generally about traffic concerns and enforcement.

It was requested that they give some specifics as to what the general public could do to help facilitate a greater presence in the canyon given the issues we’ve had with speeders/reckless drivers.

Lieutenant Rafael Quintero stated that they need reports of incidents so they can build up their database and know when/where to target areas of concern.  They use that data (in part) when scheduling officers.  He said he should be the point of contact for such information.

So the next time you experience a speeder, reckless driver, cyclist blowing through a stop sign, etc. send him a message!  If everyone reports each incident hopefully it will tip the data scales in our favor and result in an increased police presence.

Here is his information:

Lieutenant Rafael Quintero

(818) 548-3131

Be sure to include the date, time of day, and as many details as you can about the incident.

Chief Carl Povilaitis also mentioned that when they hear about issues and ask people when it’s happening they usually hear “all the time”.  The interpretation is that general complaints (with no specifics) become white noise to them after a certain point.  If we start reporting all incidents hopefully it will help our canyon rise about the noise and turn into some action on their part.

Be sure to keep Lt. Quintero’s info handy and give him a shout out when you see something.

Ice Cream Social hosted by the CCEA!

The Chevy Chase Estates Association invites all canyon residents, especially those with children to our very first ice cream social.  The event starts at 2 pm Saturday the 25th with a tour of the Chevy Chase’s Bat Cave formally known as Fire Station 23 that is right next door to the Library.  Following the tour, there will be story time at the Library and then FREE ICE CREAM!

See a part of our canyon that maybe you have never seen before – Firehouse Station 23!  The Chevy Chase Estates Association Board is hosting an event for you and your family on Saturday, August 25th.  At 2 pm we have planned a tour of Fire Station 23 followed by story time in the library.  Hear stories read by our Firemen and Estates Board about wildlife in the canyon and what it is like being a firefighter.  After story-time enjoy our ice cream social!  Make delicious creations with an assortment of ice cream flavors and toppings.  What a great way to stay cool and celebrate our canyon.

When:  Saturday, August 25 at 2 pm

Where:  The Chevy Chase Library and Fire Station 23  – 3301 E. Chevy Chase Drive

Newly Discovered Chevy Chase Canyon History

A treasure trove of never seen canyon history has been donated to the Chevy Chase Estates Association and we would like to share the highlights.  Most of these documents detail the early years of our canyon development as the founder Bert Farrar laid out his plans for the canyon and then proceded to build it.

The first item is a tantalizing hint of what could have been, the sketch of a never built canyon hilltop house by the architect Lloyd Wright, famous around these parts for having designed The Derby House on Chevy Chase Drive.

Sketch by Lloyd Wright

Next, full memberships in the Chevy Chase Country Club can be had for $250.  The year was 1925 and one also had to pony up the $25 war tax.  The Club hadn’t actually been built yet but the layout is described in detail in their first brochure.  For a full-sized gallery click on the two arrows upper right.

As the first homes and country club were being built Bert Farrar placed an ad in the local Glendale paper describing his vision of Chevy Chase Estates.  For easier reading, one can click on the photo below to download a PDF.

And finally an invite poster Bert Farrer created offering his guests a free brunch so they could see for themselves all the magnificent progress way up in the canyon.  Note the country club and many of the original homes have been completed and are pictured.  Also of interest are the sketches of a proposed but never built shopping center.  Clicking on the image will allow one to download a large PDF so all the details can be seen.  Big file.

Off To Make Music – CCEA Elects New Officers

Brian Duran

Brian Duran

After many years of truly inspirational dedication to Chevy Chase Estates Association, our longtime President, Brian Duran, will be stepping down from the CCEA board to dedicate himself more fully to his many other activities.  Most of you know Brian as one of the great champions of hillside protection; over his many years as CCEA’s President, he has devoted countless hours to monitoring proposed developments in the Canyon and being a true advocate for the Hillside Ordinance which safeguards the quality of life of every Canyon resident.  Some of you might also know that Brian is an I.T. expert who has worked at law firms and currently teaches computer classes.  But what you might not know about Brian is that he is also an accomplished studio-level woodwind player.  Having performed with many professional groups during his career, Brian is looking forward to devoting even more of his time to being a professional musician, music teacher and, most recently, author of a book on a revolutionary technique for teaching instrumental musicians.

The CCEA Board extends its most sincere thanks to Brian for being an amazing leader over these many years, and wishes him every success – and a world of musical enjoyment – as he focuses even more of his seemingly-limitless energy on his creative talents.

The CCEA board will now be led by co-Presidents James Ward and Graeme Whifler, both of whom are longtime Canyon residents.  Graeme and James look forward to continuing the CCEA’s 81-year history of protecting the quality of life for all residents of Chevy Chase Canyon.

Laird Project Again – Let Your Voice Be Heard

Update – Project sent back to the drawing board once again!  

The CCEA and concerned neighbors prevailed.  The Design Review Board voted to send the Laird Street project back for another redesign.  Thanks to all who wrote emails and attended the meeting.

Canyon Development Alert!  

Once again the project at 910 Laird will be held this 5 pm Thursday the 12th, at the MUNICIPAL SERVICES BUILDING – 633 E. Broadway, Room 105  And all are welcome!

If you can’t make this hearing please send your thoughts on this project to: 

FOUR YEARS!  Concerned neighbors and the CCEA have been raising objections to a developer’s proposals to build at 910 Laird for the last four years.  You can read the brief history here.

Three months after the Design Review Board gave a thumbs-down sending their latest proposal back for a redesign because the structures placement up on the hill, and its general design were not compatible with Glendale’s Hillside Ordinance, the developer is back.  It’s claimed to be a redesign.

The garages have been moved to the center of the building, and the structure has been sunk into the hill 8 feet and moved west 5 feet.  Other than that it is pretty much the same house.  Needless to say, the CCEA and concerned neighbors are not pleased with these superficial changes.

This new submittal has raised alarms with Neighbors and the CCEA because it leaves intact an illegally graded driveway that traverses the lot, a drive that could potentially provide access to more development.  Had the redesign been a true makeover, and the house sited down the hillside as was suggested, it would have effectively blocked the illegal driveway.  But the house site wasn’t moved and the illegal driveway was saved.

At 5:00 pm this Thursday, April the 12h, the city’s Design Review Board (DRB) will approve or deny the construction of a new home on Laird Drive.  The CCEA and concerned neighbors have repeatedly opposed this project for 4  years because its location behind and above existing homes would eliminate the privacy those homes have enjoyed for many years and would compromise the forested hillside that is part of the Chevy Chase Canyon charm.  Another reason this project should be denied is because of the precedent it would set for other developers who are not concerned about preserving the woodland character of the Canyon.  They are hoping for an opportunity to build on hillside areas that have historically been off limits.  If this project is allowed to move forward, they will get that opportunity.

You can help the effort to preserve the beauty of Chevy Chase Canyon by registering your objection to this project by letting the DRB know your position.  The best way is to appear at the hearing and say this project is incompatible with the neighborhood and you request denial of the project.  The next best thing is to send an email to the case planner for the project, stating your objection.  The more people who express their position, the better the DRB will understand the wishes of the community.   Information to communicate your position is below.

Address of the proposed construction:  910 Laird Drive
Case No. :  PDR1709694  (staff report here)
Case Planner: Kathy Duarte
Hearing: Thursday, April the 12th, 5:00 pm – 633 East Broadway, Room 105

Send emails objecting to this project to:

If you have questions, send an email to Questions and Comments.  You will receive a rapid response.


April 10, 2018


Kathy Duarte

Planning Division

Community Development Department

Re: CCEA Opposition to 910 Laird Drive development plans PDR1403541

Ms. Duarte,

The Chevy Chase Estates Association has continuously supported the Applicant’s right to develop the property at 910 Laird Drive, but the Applicant has repeatedly demonstrated his disdain for and rejection of the rules and regulations governing the development process. His irresponsible actions have led to a project that again does not conform to the spirit and intent of the Hillside Design Guidelines, leading the CCEA to continue its opposition and to call upon the Design Review Board to again reject the plans as submitted.

The Applicant’s extensive, unpermitted grading has allowed him to effectively expropriate the natural hillside for his own purposes, without the benefit of regulatory controls that preserve the natural terrain and maintain safety in the environment.  This attempt to bypass or subvert regulatory controls by fait accompli should not be tolerated because we now have slopes that previously did not exist, a significant cut for a driveway that shouldn’t be there, and many cubic yards irresponsibly dumped on city and neighbor property.  Public Works should enforce the citation issued to the Applicant and cause the topography to be restored so proper assessment and development of the site can proceed.

The Planning Commission and the Design Review Board’s repeated admonishments and directions to the Applicant to remedy questionable siting and other mass and scale issues have been met with a specious, minimally compliant response.  This Applicant has never demonstrated a sincere desire to maintain neighborhood compatibility by conforming to the codes that govern hillside projects and should therefore be prevented, once again, the opportunity to build a house in the wrong place and in a way that endangers neighbors, violates their privacy and degrades the forested environment of Chevy Chase Canyon.

Respectfully submitted,

Brian Duran

A Wonderful Event – The CCEA’S 81st Annual Meeting

A full house of canyon neighbors gathered at the beautiful new CCCC Clubhouse to hear Glendale Fire Chief Gregory Fish detail wildfire protection and survival.  Tom Lorenz, Glendale Director of Communications, jumped in with emergency contact information.  It was an evening of lifesaving tips.  Whether one attended or not, sign up for Glendale emergency notifications below.  But first, enjoy a few pictures from the meeting.  Click on the upper right arrows to see full-sized photos!

Links for Chevy Chase Canyon residents.

Some of these are fun, some are informational, some will keep you abreast of the latest news and gossip, and some might save your life.



EMERGENCY NOTIFICATION sign up.  (Highly recommended)




THE MEGA LIST – From The City of Glendale, go here to sign up for city news, planning report updates. 


THE CHEVY CHASE ESTATES ASSOCIATION NEWS AND ALERTS are emails sent free to canyon residents with neighborhood news, events, and alerts.  Up to date info on library fun events, crime, and raging wildfires. 


NEXTDOOR.COM is a neighborhood bulletin board where folks can post crime updates, take part in canyon discussions, let people know about canyon events, or even sell household items.


CCEA FACEBOOK PAGE features canyon news, CCEA updates, and occasional Glendale history posts.


NEIGHBORS OF CHEVY CHASE, a place on Facebook for… neighbors of Chevy Chase Canyon to get together. 


CRIMEMAPPING.COM is a free service where one can sign up and if there is a crime in the area emails will be sent detailing the type of crime, the date and time, and where it occurred plotted on a map.