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Paul Brotzman: City and county: planning for the future of the SCV

Live from City Hall

Posted: August 20, 2010 9:15 p.m.
Updated: August 21, 2010 4:55 a.m.
 

To ensure that the city of Santa Clarita and Los Angeles County have logical and realistic plans for the delivery of public services within the Santa Clarita Valley, both the city and county have been working together with residents, businesses and property owners to develop new general plans that will address long-term street and highway needs, sewer and water requirements, public safety requirements, housing needs and future land-use patterns. 

Does this planning effort encourage or promote growth? 

The answer is no.  It provides for processes and controls to ensure that both the city and county can reasonably manage growth as it occurs within the Santa Clarita Valley. 

Does One Valley, One Vision provide for greater growth than the current General plans of the city and the county? 

Again, the answer is no.  It does modify some existing proposed growth patterns but it reduces the amount of overall development that will be permitted to occur within our valley.

Both the city and county recognize that the vast majority of development that has and will continue to take place in the Santa Clarita Valley is located in the much larger unincorporated areas of our valley that surround the city of Santa Clarita. 

With this in mind, the city and county have worked closely to plan for logical growth that limits leapfrog development, reduces urban sprawl and ensures that the infrastructure will be adequate to accommodate development within the unincorporated areas and infill development that will gradually occur within the city. 

One Valley, One Vision’s key goals include: preserving open space and creating a greenbelt around the valley; strategically building on our town center; and creating more jobs throughout the valley in order to reduce traffic congestion and provide economic opportunities here at home.  These goals are interconnected, and each plays a part in creating a robust future for our city and for the Santa Clarita Valley. 

Residents, business owners, students and elected officials have been involved with the OVOV process from the beginning. 

In fact, OVOV has had more community outreach and public participation than any other project in our city’s history. 

Each element of the new general plan (an “element” is a specific section of the plan that deals with topics like safety, circulation, noise, etc.) have been prepared in draft form, and presented during Planning Commission study sessions and open to the public. 

This information, along with comments and suggestions from local residents, has shaped the draft OVOV general plan. 

Residents have had real impacts: potential zoning and land-use designations have been scrutinized, and in some cases, changed due to the direct recommendations of concerned, informed community members.

It is important to note that state law requires general plans to be updated periodically. OVOV is the city’s first overall update since the original general plan was adopted in 1991. 

Much has changed in our valley in the past 20 years. Our community has grown, schools and roads have been built, and our economy has experienced tremendous shifts. 

The new general plan reflects these changes and will provide a blueprint that will guide the future of our valley for the next 20 years. Now, more than ever, it is important to preserve and in some cases enhance the community character of individual neighborhoods, plan to protect our open space and environment, and conserve resources while at the same time
encouraging economic development and providing much needed housing for the city’s current residents.  

Santa Clarita is part of a vibrant, growing region and growth will continue to occur in our community. When One Valley One Vision is adopted, residents have told us they want more jobs, preserved neighborhoods and a vibrant town center, all in appropriate areas. 

Residents have also told us that any new development should compliment and enhance the character of their neighborhood or community. Under the city/county One Valley One Vision, anticipated population growth in the Santa Clarita Valley will be less than what the current city and county plans allow. At the end of this unique visioning process, city and county development standards will be nearly the same for the first time, and both agencies will share a common vision for the Santa Clarita Valley.

Over the next few months, the city and county will be circulating the draft environmental impact report that will provide more opportunities for public comment on the proposed General plans.

It is anticipated that the city’s portion of OVOV will be presented to the Planning Commission in a public hearing in the fall of 2010, with adoption by the city council anticipated in early 2011. 

Public comments are welcome. If you would like more information about One Valley One Vision, please visit the city’s website at www.santa-clarita.com or call Jason Smisko, senior planner, at (661) 255-4330.

Paul Brotzman is the Director of Community Development Department for the City of Santa Clarita and can be reached at: pbrotzman@santa-clarita.com. His column reflects his own views and not necessarily those of The Signal.

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