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Planning for growth

Posted: June 18, 2008 2:23 a.m.
Updated: August 19, 2008 5:02 a.m.
 
Upon reading The Signal's recent article declaring city planners expect SCV's growth to expand to 500,000 people, I first thought, "Wow! How could our traffic infrastructure possibly handle that?"

Then I realized, "Oh, what great job security for our city planners!" Undoubtedly, City Manager Ken Pulskamp is salivating excessively over this prospect, since it's well known that one of his stated goals is to turn our suburban bedroom community into a legitimate urban center.

Moreover, what a brilliant move Pulskamp made hiring Paul Brotzman as director, community development, soon after becoming city manager.

Who could be better positioned to execute Pulskamp's goal, considering Brotzman's cozy relationships with various developer lobbyists, primarily Jeffrey Lambert, a previous co-worker and colleague, or is it accomplice?

Simply "Google up" Brotzman and Lambert, assemble relevant facts and you, too, will be troubled to recognize how these two maneuver. Interestingly, Lambert currently represents every major development project in Santa Clarita. Lambert's list includes Henry Mayo's huge office expansion; the gigantic urban project Avenue at Santa Clarita; Bridgeport Market Place (featuring 39,000 square feet of additional medical office space); Casden's massive North Newhall urban project consisting of a hotel, high-density housing, retail and industrial facilities; Vista Canyon Ranch urban project with 1.5 million square feet of commercial and high-density housing.

It certainly is noteworthy that Brotzman and Lambert worked together at West Hollywood City where they changed zoning laws enabling a substantial increase of restaurant and nightclub construction in 1992-93.
They also facilitated a reduction of parking requirements thus easing construction costs for developers.

Sound familiar? This is shortly before both of them gained planning department positions with our city. I don't know about you, but almost everywhere I go in SCV, I find a shortage of parking spaces, i.e., Henry Mayo Newhall Memorial Hospital, Trader Joe's, Sunrise Senior Center, Town Center Mall, Best Buy, Elephant Bar restaurant, Black Angus restaurant and Costco, among others.

When recently discussing our city's new ethics policy, Council Member Laurie Ender astutely mentioned that it is all about perception. It is very disturbing to read documents revealing Pulskamp's goal to turn our communities into an urban center, Lambert's and Brotzman's past job positions, their association to each other, how they favored developers by changing zoning laws, how together they facilitated increased construction while reducing parking standards and their involvement in SCV's major projects.

Indeed, connecting the Pulskamp, Brotzman and Lambert dots has been dreadfully instructive.

Another MAJOR dot, SCV citizens: BEWARE "The General Plan" looming on the horizon. City Planning, under the direction of Ken Pulskamp and Paul Brotzman, is working diligently to completely overhaul "The General Plan" developed decades ago, which was instrumental to the creation and protection of our master-planned communities.

The revised general plan, being implemented piecemeal, will drastically change zoning laws, relax parking requirements, reduce traffic standards, greatly minimize public hearing scrutiny, and enables city approval of large construction projects.

This is the precise vehicle that will provide our city manager a green light to fully implement his goal to turn our suburban bedroom community into a legitimate urban center.

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