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New Sheriff's station coming

• County approves facility for Newhall, expanding Valencia site

Posted: May 29, 2008 12:58 a.m.
Updated: July 30, 2008 5:04 a.m.
 

As the population grows in Santa Clarita Valley, so will the number of "cop shops."

Five new law enforcement facilities are expected to be built in and around Santa Clarita including an expansion of the existing Sheriff's station in Santa Clarita, one in Newhall, Gorman, Palmdale and Lancaster.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a motion to establish a fee system that would pay for the new law enforcement buildings should the need to build them arise.

The fees which can be obtained legally under the current state law - called the Law Enforcement Facilities Mitigation Fee - were prepared by county lawyers as a way of collecting money from anyone developing new homes Santa Clarita, Newhall and Gorman.

In order to establish the developer fee, which is what this fee is all about - new development - the county had to, by law, undertake a study to explain why the fee was needed.

County and city of Santa Clarita planners saw a need for the fee because they saw a need for expanded services, all because more and more people are settling in Santa Clarita Valley.

"Before you can impose a fee you have to present a report that shows what you're changing and what the impact of those changes will be," said Paul Novak, planning deputy to Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich.

The five proposed law enforcement facilities are intended to be built in areas that need them most.

However, it may happen that no buildings are ever erected as a result of the fee.

"This fee system doesn't say that buildings A B C D and E are going to be built," Novak explained. "It means that the money is there to be used for such buildings down the road."

The county can only impose fees on incorporated areas of county land.

Santa Clarita, however, has already come up with its own facilities impact fee schedule to respond to any development inside the city.

"We actually mirrored the fee that the city of Santa Clarita has adopted," Novak said.

The new developer fees sought by the county will be paid by anyone responsible for new development.

On June 24, residents of Santa Clarita, Newhall and Gorman will get a chance to ask questions and voice their concerns over the proposed Law Enforcement Facilities Mitigation Fee ordinance.

Last October, a company that specializes in assessing the impact of population growth scrutinized trends in Santa Clairta and submitted its findings and recommendations to the board.

In its report entitled, "Santa Clarita - North Los Angeles County Law Enforcement Facilities Fee Study" - MuniFinancial identified law enforcement facilities fee structures for five areas: Santa Clarita, Newhall, Gorman, Lancaster and Palmdale.

The Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff's Station on Magic Mountain Parkway, built in 1972, is at capacity, according the MuniFinancial report.

Right now, the station covers 25,100 square feet on 2.7 aces of land. The total cost including a service building on the same lot is $17.3 million. The station also has 52 black and white patrol cars, four black and white sports utility vehicles, and 26 other vehicles, at a cost totalling about $3.68 million.

The MuniFinancial assessment found that this was not enough to deal with a population which is expected to reach 287,300 by 2025.

Sheriff's station renovations call for an additional 24,900 square feet - almost double what it is now - to be built and for an additional 40 vehicles that carry a total cost of $19.35 million.

MuniFinancial noted in a footnote of their description of the building plans that the station's construction promises to be at a cost 30 percent higher than new construction done somewhere else.

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