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CORRECTED: Neighbor irked over Castaic high site

Posted: April 7, 2011 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 7, 2011 1:55 a.m.

Editor's note: This story has been updated to include the complete date listed on Lombardi's letter. It is dated Feb. 16, 2010.

The man who owns the land across the street from the future site of a high school in Castaic has vowed to protect his property rights against any effort to involve his land in school plans.

Eugene Lombardi owns the property on Romero Canyon Road directly opposite the property selected by the William S. Hart Union High School District board as the site on which to build a high school in Castaic.

Hart district officials have grappled with building a high school in Castaic for the last decade. High school students living in Castaic have commuted to West Ranch and Valencia high schools. Last year, the Hart board decided that the Romero Canyon site owned by prominent local developer Larry Rasmussen would be the preferred location for the new school.

In an email letter sent to Rasmussen dated Feb. 16, 2010, Lombardi writes:

“I intend to defend my property rights against any effort by you, the (Santa Clarita Valley Facilities) Foundation or anybody else. This includes any effort to take, harm, encumber, cut off or interfere with any of my property or its future development.”

This week, copies of the same letter were included in a mass emailing to more than three dozen individuals.

Attached to the email were more than half a dozen official documents, including maps, environmental assessments and board decisions.

Rasmussen said he was apparently “not on the email list,” but he did receive the Feb. 16, 2010, email letter a while ago.

“These things he says in his letter — he seems pretty upset,” Rasmussen said.

Rasmussen said there was an agreement in place between the two Castaic neighbors in which Lombardi could sell his property to the school district, too.

“The Hart district chose not to buy his property,” Rasmussen said. “They looked at other sites, but at the end of the day, they chose my site.”

District spokeswoman Gail Pinsker concurs.

“Plans are to open a fully built school in 2014,” she said Thursday.

The Hart district held a meeting in March to decide what all the required environmental review would study, Pinsker said.

The report is now under way.

“All the concerns will be fully reviewed and responded to as part of this process,” she said. “We understand that there are people that are concerned about this site, and all concerns will be addressed through the (environmental review) process.”

That process will be finished in September.

Lombardi said in his emailed letter that he feels compelled to speak out about plans that appear to impact his property:

“It is not clear to me how much my property would benefit from your project, if at all, or how that would compare to any benefit to me from the (Santa Clarita Valley Facilities) Foundation project," Lombardi wrote.

“I am not out to kill your project, as I think in any fair comparison it will die a natural death, for the reasons I’ve shared before.

“But I do intend to make sure this process is open and public and I will do whatever is necessary to ensure that your project is evaluated completely as a standalone project without harming my property, its value and/or its entitlement rights.”


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