County supervisors, who approved the first phase of Newhall Land Development Inc.’s Newhall Ranch housing project two weeks ago, approved the Mission Valley phase of the same project Tuesday despite continued opposition.
For the second time this month, some Santa Clarita Valley residents concerned about environmental effects of 20,000 new homes to be built between Interstate 5 and the Ventura County line appealed to Los Angeles County supervisors to stop the housing project.
Their appeal was rejected, however, and the project was approved.
Other local residents who also made the 30-mile trip south to the hearing at the county Hall of Administration called for supervisors to approve the project without delay.
“This is an environmentally friendly project that will protect more than 75 percent of the length of the Santa Clara River that runs through Mission Village by leaving it completely in a natural state – no concrete channels or artificial banks,” said Dave Bossert, a West Side resident.
“I respectfully urge you to just move forward with this project as soon as you can without hesitation.”
Mission Village would see 621 lots developed on 1,261 acres of land west of Interstate 5 and south of Highway 126.
It would include 351 single-family homes and more than 3,700 condominiums contained on 44 lots.
Local environmentalist Lynne Plambeck asked the board: “There (are) significant impacts to air quality but not to global warming; how can that be?
“You have several federally listed endangered species that will be impacted by this project, but there’s no significant impact (on) biology. How can that be?
“This is absurd,” she said. “Someone has to start looking at these issues.”
When Plambeck left the podium, Jonas Peterson, executive director of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation, took her place urging the board to move ahead with Mission Village, citing “much needed” job creation.
“We are in favor of the Mission Village project,” he said. “We think it is aligned with our economic development plans, aligned with our growth. We support the project and we encourage you to oppose the appeal.”
On Oct. 4, supervisors approved zoning changes for Landmark Village, first phase of the Newhall Ranch project.
The proposed changes mean the creation of 422 lots on about 295 acres. The lots would mean 270 single-family homes, 744 condominiums and 430 apartments, along with 16 commercial lots. It also calls for 119 lots for open space and at least one fire station, park and school.
Discussion on Mission Village opened Tuesday with a response from county planners addressing six key environmental points raised in the appeal filed by environmentalists.
Sam Dea, representing the Special Projects Section of the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning, told the board there was nothing in the six issues of appeal that the county had not already addressed.
“The appeal does not raise any substantial issues that have not been considered by the Regional Planning Commission or analyzed and responded to in the EIR done for Mission Village,” Dea said.
Appeals revolved around water quality, preservation of an endangered plant’s environment and inadequate compensation for compromises in air quality.
“I oppose this project and hope you kill it outright,” said Santa Clarita Valley resident Dave Lutness.
He argued contamination apparently spreading under ground from the Whittaker-Bermite former munitions plant supported a “no” vote on the project.
Dan Masnada, general manager of the Castaic Lake Water Agency, assured supervisors the project will not be adversely affected by perchlorate contamination as detected in the groundwater of some wells in the Santa Clarita Valley.
“As for the Mission Village water supply, we do not see any impact because the project relies on other groundwater sources from wells located in non-perchlorate-impacted portions of the groundwater basin,” he said, adding those wells are four miles from the main source of perchlorate contamination on the Whittaker-Bermite property.
At least one person downstream of the future Newhall Ranch development told the board she is not convinced the project should move ahead.
“Any economic gain created by any and all phases of the Newhall Ranch project will be far outweighed by the cost to taxpayers,” she said.
Several opposing the project told supervisors they needed more time to review the county’s official response to their concerns, since it was delivered less than four days previously.
“Of concern is the 2,000-page document that was just released on Friday,” said Kathleen Squires of the Sierra Club. “We have not had time to review and we ask that we are given this time to review it.”
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