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Residents succeed in hotel delay

Council gives more time to discuss appeal

Posted: September 8, 2009 10:35 p.m.
Updated: September 9, 2009 4:55 a.m.
 
Residents spoke out about a proposed Valencia hotel Tuesday night, and the City Council answered, delaying the project to allow for more discussion.

The council agreed to continue until a date uncertain its decision on an appeal filed by the Positive Solutions Association after the Santa Clarita Planning Commission approved the development of a seven-story, 200-room Sheraton hotel near the corner of Valencia Boulevard and McBean Parkway.

The option to allow more time followed on the heels of a foreboding opening statement by Alan Cameron, speaking on behalf of PSA.

“There’s a strong possibility that litigation can be avoided,” he said. “The kind of outreach that avoids litigation needs to begin tonight.”

While agreeing the valley can benefit from the addition of another hotel, Cameron said the proposed location is not appropriate.

The Planning Commission voted July 7 in favor of Brisam Valencia LLC’s request for a conditional-use permit for the seven-story, 200-room hotel, to be located on 4 acres presently home to The Greens sports bar.

The Positive Solutions Association has also retained attorney Robert Stevenson, who said he specializes in matters related to the California Environmental Quality Act.

During the public comment period, several residents said an environmental-impact report should be prepared for the project site.

Stevenson also said that several public-records requests by the PSA have yet to be answered, to which Associate Planner Jeff Hogan responded: “I’m not sure exactly what we haven’t gotten them.”

Positive Solutions spokesman Donald Stevens said while he has received a sign-in sheet from a 2008 meeting between representatives from Brisam, Newhall Land and Farming Co. and the city,  he has yet to see any notes on what was discussed.

He also cited a perceived a dearth of e-mail communication between the developer and city officials.

“There should have been a lot more,” he said.

During the public comment period, he said the Sheraton project is inappropriate for the property in question.

Consultant Jeffrey Lambert — the city’s former planning director — said the Sheraton project is right for the proposed site, and said it will be complimentary to the nearby Hyatt Valencia.

The 136,550-square-foot hotel would be comparable in size to the 244-room Hyatt several hundred feet to the north.

The hotel would also include a 120-seat restaurant and 7,610 square feet of meeting and banquet space.

Under the city’s development code, a conditional-use permit is required for any building taller than 35 feet. The Sheraton would be 77 feet tall, with tower elements bumping the height up to nearly 88 feet.

By comparison, the buildings in Westfield Valencia Town Center range from 60 feet to 99 feet tall.

City attorney Carl Newton suggested that the council take more time for discussion before deciding on the appeal, a recommendation that mate with approval from the five council members.

“I’ve got some things that I would personally like to look into,” Councilman Bob Kellar said. “People feel they haven’t had due process.”

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