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Newhall project could go back to drawing board

Via Princessa extension EIR also on Tuesday council agenda

Posted: August 21, 2009 7:44 p.m.
Updated: August 22, 2009 9:00 a.m.
A "gateway" project intended for Newhall could go back to the drawing board after a City Council member appealed the Santa Clarita Planning Commission's approval.

Councilwoman Marsha McLean filed an appeal June 8 in response to the commission's June 2 approval of the Newhall Gateway project proposed at the intersection of Newhall Avenue and Sierra Highway.

On the agenda for Tuesday's City Council meeting - the first after the council's summer hiatus - is a request to open a public hearing and continue it until Oct. 27, giving the developer time to have discussions with the University of Southern California, which owns an adjoining several acres, regarding the overall site design.

"The potential for a really great gateway project is there," McLean said Friday. "I think it's going to be a win-win for everyone."

McLean's letter of appeal cites concerns over "overall site design, aesthetics and environmental issues."

In a 4-1 vote June 8, the planning commissioners voted to approve a conditional-use permit for the five-building, 99,000-square-foot commercial development on a little more than 10 acres next to Highway 14 at the corner of Sierra Highway and Newhall Avenue.

Newhall Creek runs through a 10-foot-deep gully along the length of the property. Water flows northwest out of the site through a culvert near Newhall Avenue, past the Polynesian Mobile Home Park and converges with drainage from nearby Whitney Canyon before meeting up with the Santa Clara River.

Development of the project would entail filling a portion of the gully, and extending the concrete culvert at Newhall Avenue 300 feet to the south.

An adjacent vacant 7 acres is owned by USC.

On Aug. 3, developer SFXS Partners met with USC officials, and an appraisal will be completed to determine the viability of including that land in the Gateway project, according to the agenda report.

In other business, the council is poised to sign off on a roughly half-million dollar contract for an environmental impact report for the extension of Via Princessa.

Impact Sciences, Inc. would prepare the EIR for a project that would extend Via Princessa 1.2 miles from Golden Valley Road east to where the road ends near Rainbow Glen Road.

As part of the city's general plan, Via Princessa is slated to eventually be connected to Wiley Canyon Road, creating a new east-to-west traffic route.

The council meets at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers at City Hall, located at 23920 Valencia Boulevard.


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