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Council to vote on 302-acre land purchase

Santa Clarita could acquire hills once planned for Las Lomas development

Posted: July 9, 2013 2:00 a.m.
Updated: July 9, 2013 2:00 a.m.
 

Rugged hills through the Newhall Pass once proposed for a dense development could be added to Santa Clarita’s open space areas on a vote by City Council members tonight.

The last item on the agenda of the council’s last meeting before summer break calls for the city to join in a complex transaction that would place 302 acres of Newhall Pass land into the Santa Clarita Open Space Preservation District.

Some 555 acres of the hilly, oak tree-dotted acreage northeast of Interstate 5 just above the interchange with Highway 14 came close to being approved in 2008 for a proposed dense development called Las Lomas.

The development would have featured a 5,500-home “village” with 2 million square feet of commercial space and a 300-room hotel. Massive grading and oak tree removal would have been required.

Las Lomas would have exceeded Los Angeles County’s and Santa Clarita’s adopted density for the area by more than 1,000 percent.

Running into opposition from Santa Clarita, Las Lomas Land Co. attempted to annex the property to the city of Los Angeles and win its approval for the proposal.

But in 2008, when questions arose as to whether Las Lomas Land actually had the owners’ permission to develop the property, the Los Angeles City Council turned thumbs-down to the proposal on a 10-5 vote.

The City Council’s agenda item tonight calls for the city to pitch in $1.35 million to $2 million toward the purchase of the land. The state, which would be the lead agency on the purchase, would pay $2.3 million, said Chris Price, assistant city engineer. Grants would fund another $1 million toward the purchase, and the land would be turned over to Santa Clarita to manage, he said.

“This will connect to other open space lands that we’re trying to develop (for recreation),” Price said. “It will connect up to other spaces we have, and then we’ll be looking for new ways to get people into the land to enjoy it.”

The Santa Clarita City Council meeting begins at 6 p.m. in City Council chambers, 23920 Valencia Blvd.

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