After more than a decade of addressing water and environmental concerns, officials at Newhall Land Development Inc. announced Tuesday they have received a green light from the regional water board to proceed with Newhall Ranch.

Newhall Land officials received word from the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control Board on Friday that board members had unanimously voted to issue a 401 Water Quality Certification of the Army Corps 404 permit issued last summer.

“This is an important governmental approval,” said Marlee Lauffer, vice president of marketing and communication for Newhall Land.

“We are pleased to bring this community to fruition,” she said, referring to the planned 20,000-home Newhall Ranch development, to be located along Highway 126 west of Castaic.

“The issuance of these final permits allows us to be able to put this plan into reality,” she said.

In a media release announcing the board’s decision, Lauffer said: “This action completes the more-than-a-decade-long process of obtaining all the federal permits relating to environmental issues on Newhall Ranch.”

“Over the last several years, Newhall Land has been working with the Regional Water Quality Control Board on the incorporation of state-of-the-art water quality control and treatment facilities within the Newhall Ranch plan and have obtained long-term federal and state environmental permits from a variety of agencies, including Department of Fish and Game, Department of Fish and Wildlife, Army Corps of Engineers, and US Environmental Protection Agency,” she said.

Water board representatives could not be reached for comment late Tuesday afternoon.

In March, the board publicized notices of public hearings on the environmental concerns surrounding Newhall Land’s application for water quality certification.

Written comments were welcomed by the board until April 9 with the understanding that the board would approve certification in May.

Newhall Ranch is a master-planned community from the same firm that planned and developed Valencia. It would add more than 20,000 homes and a number of new commercial areas in the northwest Santa Clarita Valley.
Construction of the community is expected to take 25 to 30 years.

The plan, according to Lauffer, provides a “critical balance to allow for a 3-1 jobs-to-housing ratio, an array of housing types, transportation improvements and key environmental protection.”

Project planners boast more than 50 miles of trails that are expected to extend from the hills flanking the Santa Clara River Valley to the Santa Clara River and connect to trails within the city of Santa Clarita.

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