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City to buy SDI land

Council close to approving purchase of 140 acres

Posted: March 17, 2009 11:47 p.m.
Updated: March 18, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 

If all goes as planned, this May the Santa Clarita City Council could give final approval for its purchase of 140 acres of open space in Placerita Canyon.

The city intends to pay $2.5 million for the property, formerly home to Special Devices Inc., city acquisitions specialist Barbara Stoll said.

Located east of Placerita Canyon Nature Center, the property would join the roughly 3,400 acres of open space already under the city's control.

Moorpark-based Special Devices Inc. filed for bankruptcy protection last December.

Fewer than 10 acres of the Placerita Canyon location contain low levels of chemical contamination, the result of manufacturing aerospace applications and ignition devices for use in automobile air bags, according to a report by the state Department of Toxic Substances Control.

Operations ran from the late 1950s until 1999. All buildings were eventually removed from the rugged terrain.

A public-comment period begins Thursday for the draft corrective measures study developed by the Department of Toxic Substances Control. It ends May 4.

There are minor levels of fuel- and solvent-related pollution on two small portions of the land, according to information from the DTSC.

While the study lists several possible remedies, the DTSC is recommending no action coupled with a so-called land use covenant, which limits activities on certain parts of the property.

"The idea behind that is: Over time the contaminants will naturally dilute," Stoll said.

The city's intent is not to develop the land, but to set it aside as open space, another link in the greenbelt that the city hopes will encircle the Santa Clarita Valley.

Once the DTSC closes the comment period, barring any holdups, the final approval of the purchase will likely go before the City Council in May, Stoll said.

She said about 30 percent of the necessary funds will come out of the Open Space Preservation District the city established to establish the greenbelt.

Anyone with questions about the DTSC's study can call Nathan Schumacher at (866) 495-5651, or by e-mailing NSchumac@dtsc.ca.gov.

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