By Michael Edlen
Special to the Palisades News
In 1990 Randy and Betty Lou Young published Street Names of Pacific Palisades & Other Tales. This article is based on that book.
The Highlands is the last large-scale development in Pacific Palisades. Located at the top of Santa Ynez Canyon, the area was a focus of several major environmental battles from 1928-80. The huge expanse of mountain acreage south of Mulholland between Topanga and Sepulveda was almost developed into several communities which would have doubled the population of the Palisades in the 1950s. In the 1960s the then-owners came close to getting approval for 11 “villages” with schools and commercial centers, with a projected population of 63,000.
Widespread opposition to the plan led to the formation of the Santa Monica Mountains Regional Park Association with Marvin Braude as chairman. Its goal was to preserve the residential character of the area and to establish a large park in the mountains west of Sepulveda. During the same period the Pacific Palisades Property Owners’ Association was formed to implement a new master plan for the area.
As recently as 1966, developers still had plans that would have resulted in more than 7,000 homes and condominiums, with a population of 21,000 people. By 1972, though, even after Palisades Drive construction was well underway, the state had purchased acreage north and east of the Highlands area, which greatly diminished the possibility of a cross-mountain road.
There was a continuing battle between the PPPOA and the developer for several years as the community wanted far less density of development. In 1977 the Coastal Act was passed, and the California Coastal Commission claimed jurisdiction over the Palisades Highlands. A compromise agreement was finally reached with the developer in 1980 which enabled nearly 1,600 homes and condominiums.
Here are the meanings behind most of the streets in the Highlands.
Avenida de Cortez: “Avenue of Cortez.” Avenida de la Herradura: “Avenue of the Horseshoe.”
Avenida de Santa Ynez: “Avenue of St. Agnes.”
Calle Deborah: Named for the developer’s eldest daughter.
Calle del Estribo: “Street of the Stirrup.”
Calle del Jonela: Named for the project consultant’s daughter, Jonel.
Calle de Nancy: Named for Nancy Young, wife of the project engineer.
Calle de Palermo: Palermo is one of the developer’s names.
Calle de Sarah: Named for Sarah Chastain, the developer’s wife.
Calle de Sevilla: “Street of Seville” (a city in Spain).
Calle Arbolada: “Street of Trees.”
Calle Jermaine: Named for the developer’s youngest daughter.
Calle Patricia: Named for Patricia Cunningham, wife of the project’s zoning consultant.
Camino de Yatasto: Yatasto is the name of a famous Argentinian race horse.
Chastain Parkway: Named for Charles Chastain, president of Highlands Properties, the developer.
Cuesta Linda: “Cuesta” is “slope” and Linda was the name of the developer’s long-time secretary.
Cumbre Alta: “High Summit.” Cumbre Verde: “Green Mountain.”
El Bosque: “Forest” or “Woods.” Michael Lane: Named for a relative of one of the developers.
Monte Alto: “High Mountain.”
Monte Grande: “Large Mountain.”
Monte Hermoso: “Beautiful Mountain.”
Palisades: Refers to its location.
Paseo de Oro: “Walk of Gold.”
Piedra Morada: “Purple Stone.”
Vereda de la Montura: “Horse Riding Trail.”
Via la Costa: “Path of the Coast.”
Via Pacifica: “Way of the Pacific.”
Michael Edlen can be reached at (310) 230-7373 or firstname.lastname@example.org.