Extensions Granted For Reviews

Los Angeles County Planning Commissioners decided to give Santa Clarita Valley residents more time to review thousands of pages worth of environmental documents before deciding whether to approve Newhall Land Development LLC’s plan to build 4,412 homes west of Interstate 5.

Newhall Land’s latest project, Mission Village — part of the larger Newhall Ranch development — would also include more than 1.5 million square feet of space for office buildings, retail shops and commercial buildings.

The development would span 530 acres west of Six Flags Magic Mountain and south of Highway 126, according to county documents.

Mission Village is the second phase of Newhall Ranch, which would add more than 20,000 new homes on 19 square miles in the Santa Clarita Valley west of Interstate 5.

But local environmentalists are concerned that Mission Village will bring pollution and degrade the habitats around the Santa Clara River, which runs through the development.

At a meeting earlier this week, commissioners voted to extend public comment on Mission Village’s draft environmental impact report, which details potential problems caused by the development, to Jan. 4.

Commissioners will consider approving the project at a meeting in March.

And although Newhall Land has plans to include a 65 acre nature preserve for Mission Village to protect river habitat, officials from the Friends of the Santa Clara River said the project would pave over some estuaries that drain into the river, thus degrading the environment.

“What we would like to see overall is for the project not to happen because it’s the antithesis of smart growth,” said Ron Bottorff, the organization’s chair. “It’ll change the nature of the whole area, restrict wildlife and have major impacts on natural areas in the valley.”

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