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Two neighborhoods eye annexing to Santa Clarita

Representatives from Tesoro Del Valle and Fair Oaks Ranch attend meetings to discuss pros, cons

Posted: August 12, 2009 9:43 p.m.
Updated: August 13, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Two communities - one north and one east of Santa Clarita - are considering joining the city, a planning official said Wednesday.

Homeowners associations in Tesoro Del Valle and Fair Oaks Ranch watched presentations by the city at two annexation meetings held during the last two weeks, said Sharon Sorensen, senior planner for the city of Santa Clarita.

The presentations pitched the advantages of joining Santa Clarita. City planners were invited to make the presentations.

One homeowners association member was sold.

"It's really a no-brainer," said Max Hobbs, president of the Fair Oaks Ranch Neighborhood Homeowners Association. "Santa Clarita is a wonderful city. All the quality-of-life issues we have can be addressed by joining the city."

The next step
The next step for the homeowners associations is to draft a letter of interest to the city, Hobbs said.

Once the letter is received, the city will conduct a survey of the homeowners to measure interest in annexation.

The Santa Clarita City Council will use that information in deciding to file an annexation application with the Los Angeles County Local Agency Formation Commission, Sorensen said.

The commission decides issues of annexation, cityhood and incorporation.

The Fair Oaks Ranch Neighborhood Homeowners Association was scheduled to vote on whether to submit its interest letter Tuesday night, Hobbs said.

Neighborhood safety
For Hobbs, joining the city translates into a safer neighborhood.

"The city provides more sheriff's (deputies) through their contract," Hobbs said. "Response times in the city are faster than in the county (unincorporated) areas."

Localized government

Melding into the city of Santa Clarita gives Fair Oaks Ranch residents a better chance to interact with local government representatives, said Dan Carmichael, vice president of the homeowners association.

"The city gives us local representation. And even though the city has (an) at-large City Council, they (council members) serve less constituents than county supervisors," he said. That gives people a stronger voice in government, according to Carmichael.

Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich serves about 2 million constituents in his district, which includes the Antelope Valley and part of the San Fernando Valley.

Fiscal impact
Prior to the presentations, the city studied the areas in Fair Oaks Ranch and Tesoro Del Valle to measure the fiscal impact of annexing, Sorenson said. Fair Oaks Ranch could be a money-maker for the city, she said.

"If the Vista Canyon Ranch development is approved, there is enough commercial development that in the long term, it could be revenue positive," Sorensen added.

The same could be said of Tesoro Del Valle. The Albertsons supermarket and the adjacent stores, mixed with revenue from the development of West Creek, would make Tesoro Del Valle fiscally viable, Sorensen said.

Westside studies
Tesoro Del Valle playing the role of money-maker runs counter to previous studies that considers the area as part of the Santa Clarita Valley's westside communities.

In both the fiscal analysis of incorporation of a westside community and the study on annexation of the westside unincorporated areas into Santa Clarita, Tesoro was labeled a revenue drain.

The studies were commissioned by Santa Clarita and Los Angeles County to explore governing options for the westside unincorporated areas of Castaic, Stevenson Ranch, West Ridge, Sunset Pointe, Tesoro and Val Verde.

However, Sorenson warned not to confuse the boundaries for Tesoro in the governance studies with the city's current annexation study.

"That's a different animal when you look at the boundaries," Sorensen said. "The other studies included all of Tesoro, and we just included the developed portion of Tesoro Del Valle."

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