January 24, 2013: the Court of Appeal of the State of California granted UCLA’S latest request to delay the trial pending their appeal to the Hannah Carter family’s successful preliminary injunction. Hearing was held on August 28; read Fate of Bel-Air’s Hannah Carter Garden Still Up in the Air, Beverly Hills Courier
2.Contact UCLA directly to urge them to honor their pledge to the donors and preserve the Hannah Carter Japanese Garden in perpetuity.
3. Send a letter to the UC Regents. To help frame your letter, download a PDF or Word template for letters to the UC Regents.
Now that the L.A. Superior Court has granted a temporary injunction blocking the sale, it’s time to find an a way to preserve the garden for the benefit of UCLA, the community, and the public. Here are some talking points:
The Hannah Carter Japanese Garden is a historic place of national significance. The one-and-one-half hillside garden is among the largest and most significant private residential Japanese-style gardens built in the United States in the immediate Post World War II period. It is also associated with two of the most prominent designers of Japanese gardens, Nagao Sakurai and Koichi Kawana.
Through a series of agreements beginning in 1964, continuing through another agreement in 1982 and a final agreement in 1999, UCLA agreed to keep and maintain the garden in perpetuity, using funds from the sale of the adjacent Carter family home. Mr. Carter clearly stated that the first priority for those funds should be for the maintenance and improvement of the garden in perpetuity.
Without contacting any known conservation groups, concerned citizens, or family members,in 2010 UCLA persuaded a court to remove the “in perpetuity” requirement, clearing the way for the sale of the property as surplus real estate.
Selling the garden to the highest bidder without any conditions or protections — as currently planned by UCLA — endangers the garden and severely limits its likelihood for survival. As a requirement for selling State-owned property, UCLA must accept the highest bid, regardless of the planned use or intent for the site. Zoned agricultural, the one-and-one-half-acre hillside site could conceivably be redeveloped for a single-family residence, destroying the garden. If sold, at the very least, UCLA should place protective covenants or an easement as a condition of the sale.
Gardens and other significant landscapes in Los Angeles and across the nation have been successfully operated, maintained, and preserved through private-public partnerships — all while serving educational purposes. To date UCLA has not reached out to garden, conservation, or potential friends groups to explore potential partnerships. Despite possible collaborations with Japanese studies and viable strategies to address long-standing parking issues, UCLA claims the garden “serves no academic purpose” and using it “for any public functions is highly problematic.”