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UPDATE: Supervisors OK expansion plan for Disney’s Golden Oak Ranch

Santa Clarita applauds move, expected to create local jobs

Posted: August 27, 2013 1:35 p.m.
Updated: August 27, 2013 6:23 p.m.

An artist's rendering of the Disney ABC sound stages when completed.

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SANTA CLARITA - On a 4-0 vote, Los Angeles County supervisors approved a expansion to Disney’s Golden Oak Ranch in Placerita Canyon — a project expected to add thousands of jobs and millions of dollars to the Santa Clarita Valley economy.

The move would help seal Santa Clarita’s efforts to become Hollywood North to the film industry.

“This is a very strong addition to our county,” said Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich. “It shows we are involved in creating jobs and strengthening the private sector, and that is the engine that drives our state and nation.”

But there are still some hoops to jump through before building permits can be pulled, officials noted. No date for construction has yet been set.

Supervisors gave approval to two different versions of the project, one that would allow the Walt Disney Company and ABC Studios to construct approximately 555,950 square feet of structures, including 12 sound stages, and another, smaller option entailing 510,000 square feet of structures with eight sound stages.

“Due to unforeseeable market conditions Disney will decide at a later date which option to pursue,” Antonovich said.

The sound stages and other buildings would occupy about 58 acres of the 890-acre movie ranch located off Placerita Canyon Road and Highway 14 in Newhall.

Much of the project would be built on construction pads left over from Highway 14 construction in the 1970s, according to Adam Gilbert, director of corporate real estate for Disney.

The supervisors’ decision to approve the project came after enthusiastic support for the plan during a public hearing.

“We need to do more to keep film production activity in the state, and approval of the project is a step in the right direction,” said Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar.

Construction alone would create an additional 3,152 new jobs and have a positive economic impact of $522 million, according to estimates.

After construction, the project would create 2,854 part- and full-time jobs and generate $533 million in annual economic activity, according to estimates, with about $1.3 million in new annual revenues to Los Angeles County and $26 million to the state of California.

“The county needs to do all it can to keep the entertainment industry in Los Angeles County with investments such as this,” said Don Fleming, co-chairman of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corporation.

Russell Sypowicz, an economic development associate with Santa Clarita, said increased local filming should benefit the city’s 6,000 residents who work in the entertainment industry.

“We always like it when our residents can work here,” he said.

Lynne Plambeck, a longtime local environmental advocate, said she was discouraged by the board’s decision.

“I sort of feel like if you’re a little guy or if you have concerns, you can’t depend on your Board of Supervisors to listen to you,” she said.

Some of Plambeck’s concerns include increased traffic in the area and increased greenhouse gas emission as a result, as well as the potentially adverse impact that lighting on the new development could have on local wildlife.

“I’m discouraged because this kind of large project should get more scrutiny than it did,” she said.

Golden Oak Ranch has long been owned by the Disney Company and has been a frequent shooting location for movies and TV shows, such as 1957’s “Old Yeller,” 2001’s “Pearl Harbor,” and 1993-2002’s “The X-Files.”

Though the board decision is a major step forward for the project, Disney and ABC still need to secure approval from other agencies, according to officials.

“We are grateful for the tremendous community support for the Disney ABC Studios at the Ranch project,” said Richard Ballering, vice president of production operations for ABC.

“While the approval by the county of Los Angeles is a critical milestone, we still have a number of approvals to secure from other agencies.”

No construction time line will be set until the project receives those approvals, according to officials.

Supervisor Gloria Molina was absent from Tuesday’s meeting and did not vote on the item.

Lmoney@signalscv.com
661-287-5525
On Twitter @LukeMMoney

 

 

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