Feathers Ruffled as Hobbyists Enjoy Wind Beneath Their Wings Oak Park: Longtime model glider fliers disturb and in some cases alarm residents of new development around ridge called Kanan Hill.
October 15, 1994
Los Angeles Times; Ventura West Edition; Metro, Page B-11.
By Greg Rippee, Special to the Times

Nancy Tohl was squinting toward the weedy ridge when the large model glider plane burst back into view and sent its shadow across her concrete driveway.

"It's a very nice way to enjoy life," the Oak Park resident said. "I can't see why anyone wouldn't like them up there."

Far up the ridge, Ken Kegler stood against the morning sun and used his remote control to ease his glider into the thermals that had swept off the distant Oxnard coast and risen from the tile roofs below.

"Sometimes (people) will come up here and watch us and enjoy our silent flight," said Kegler, 53, of Thousand Oaks.

Down below, Cleavant Derricks gazed up from his new house on Burano Court and watched a vulture drift toward the soundless glider. Their shadows mingled as they moved over the weeds. And bird and plane, as they receded into the blue, soon became indistinguishable in the glaring sunlight.

"What I like about this neighborhood is things like this," the actor from New York said.

But to some residents in the new Monte Carlo housing tract that is being erected off Kanan Road and Hawthorne Drive, all is not necessarily well.

As so often happens when housing developments penetrate deeper into previously unoccupied areas--whether beach, farmland or open space--adjustments must be made.

Glider fliers suddenly find themselves fending off residents' complaints of increased auto traffic and the annoyance, if not danger, of aircraft crashing into their neighborhood.

Kanan Hill, as the ridge is known, has been luring model glider lovers for years, because its shape and location make it one of the best launching sites in east Ventura County. Nobody really minded the small squadrons of gliders that took flight from its brushy spine, either, until now.

"They're saying they've been coming here for 10 to 15 years," said Brenda Saturday, 38, a psychotherapist who moved into her house on Burano Court four months ago. "But there's a development here now."

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While appreciative of the aerobatics of the gliders, Saturday and other residents are rankled by enthusiasts who park near a public-access entry to the ridge at the end of Burano Court.

The entry is for hikers, mountain bicyclists, glider fliers and others who frequent the 317 acres of open space above the Monte Carlo tract, said Ranger Pat Lyman of the Rancho Simi Recreation and Park District.

Whenever the wind is right--weekend or workday--small groups of glider fliers park near the cul-de-sac to climb the railroad ties that lead to a trail up the ridge.

The public stairs, which cut between two homes, are not too far from another entry off Kanan, on the other side of a slump-stone wall that borders the tract. The entries are equidistant from the launch area. And some homeowners say glider enthusiasts should use the Kanan entrance.

"I think it's an issue of who has a lesser burden," said Saturday's husband, Terry, 37, a law clerk at a Los Angeles firm that defends aviation firms. "They can park on Kanan. (But) they put up the response that they've always done this."

The Times Mirror Company; Los Angeles Times, 1994. lat101594


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