Newhall Land Development Inc. won a victory Wednesday in its bid to begin construction of Newhall Ranch as an appellate court affirmed the environmental review and approval of Landmark Village, the first phase planned for construction.
The decision, however, has not stopped environmentalists who sued to halt the planned project on the West Side of the Santa Clarita Valley.
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A new California Appellate Court ruling affirms the environmental review and approval of Landmark Village, part of Newhall Land’s proposed 20,000-home Newhall Ranch community west of Interstate 5, the company announced Wednesday.
A three-justice panel of the California Second Appellate District unanimously supported a February 2013 ruling by the Los Angeles Superior Court that affirmed the development project’s Environmental Impact Report, and other land use permits, as approved by the County of Los Angeles in late 2011. The court acted on a lawsuit brought against the County by Sierra Club, Center for Biological Diversity, SCOPE and other environmental groups.
The appellate court’s 44 page opinion concurs with the earlier ruling by the trial court and fully validates the EIR, finding that the County of Los Angeles –which was the lead government agency that conducted the environmental review–had acted appropriately and with substantial evidence to approve the detailed document and its related mitigation measures.
“The appellate decision fully supports the Superior Court ruling and validates the several years of environmental review undertaken by the County of Los Angeles regarding Landmark Village,” said Marlee Lauffer, Newhall Land spokeswoman. “We had great confidence in the diligence the County took to certify the EIR.”
“As an owner of a company that is building master planned communities in California, we value our partnership with the County of Los Angeles,” said Emile Haddad, President and CEO of Five Point Communities, the development manager for Newhall Land. “Today, the exhaustive review of the County was affirmed by the Appellate Court to have been completed properly. We are thankful for their efforts and look forward to implementing the plans for Landmark Village.”
Landmark Village is located south of Highway 126 and includes a mixed use office and retail center, an elementary school, 2 miles of river trails and about 1,400 homes. It is part of Newhall Ranch’s Specific Plan which has undergone over 15 years of environmental reviews by the County, state and federal agencies. At build out, Newhall Ranch related villages will bring over 80,000 permanent jobs to the region and over 47,000 development related jobs. The Plan also calls for over 10,000 acres open space, 60 miles of trails, several public schools and community infrastructure including a water reclamation plant, fire stations, library and sheriff station.
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