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Paul Brotzman: OVOV: Another point of view

Posted: March 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: March 19, 2011 1:55 a.m.
 

In a recent opinion column published in The Signal (“City ignoring local concern over OVOV,” March 3), guest columnist Lynne Plambeck provided erroneous information. The following is being provided to correct the misstatements.

n First, it should be understood that OVOV is actually a joint city/county process that will result in an update of the county general plan for the unincorporated portions of the Santa Clarita Valley and a new general plan for the city.

This joint planning process was undertaken to ensure that the city and county general plans were both compatible and complimentary. The result of these plans will yield an overall decrease in urban sprawl and a reduction of 15,000 units from existing development potential as compared with the existing general plan.

* The inclusion of an economic-development element in the city’s general plan serves to address and benefit many factors — and the environment is certainly one of them.

This element supports the city’s efforts to create local jobs and reduce vehicle trips on the freeways, and thereby reduce vehicle miles. This leads to significant improvements in air quality and a reduction in noise impacts while keeping economic wealth, as well as helping to enhance home values, in the valley.

Finally, this is very much a quality-of-life issue. The less time residents must spend commuting over the Newhall Pass on Interstate 5 or Highway 14, the more time they have at home with family.

* The vast majority of the city’s outreach during the OVOV process was to neighborhood groups. Scores of meetings have been held with the Calgrove Corridor Coalition, the Placerita Canyon Property Owners Association, the Canyon Country Advisory Committee and in other community meetings. There was also a three-hour meeting with representatives from Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment.

It is important to the city that these communities understand the proposed General Plan and the city’s commitment to protecting their quality of life. The OVOV team has made presentations to the Building Industry Association and the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Cooperation, as it is our responsibility to keep all residents, property owners and business owners informed.

* The city’s proposed General Plan under OVOV supports a population growth similar to the currently general plan, with population totals that will most likely result in a modest reduction in overall population numbers.

There are currently 63,000 residential units either approved and/or entitled in the city. OVOV anticipates a capacity of another 8,000 units upon build out — representing a 13 percent increase over today, anticipated to occur over several decades.

* The water agencies and districts were heavily engaged in this process to ensure accurate and effective information-sharing and a consistency of expectation of future growth.

* The city’s proposed general plan is a long-range policy-making document. It does not propose or permit any building/construction. That only occurs as the individual property owner chooses to pursue a development project.

* Our proposed general plan contains language promoting low-impact development, created to ensure that new development is designed in consideration of overall environmental conditions, including water quality and incorporating a series of “green infrastructure” concepts.

During the 10-plus years the city of Santa Clarita has been working on One Valley, One Vision, public participation has been a critical part of the process. Dozens of meetings have been held and public input has been solicited every step of the way.

A City Council study session on our proposed general plan has been scheduled for April 5. The city welcomes the public to attend.

Paul Brotzman is the director of Planning and Community Development for Santa Clarita.

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