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Project never teed off

Golf course, housing have yet to be developed

Posted: October 22, 2008 9:34 p.m.
Updated: December 24, 2008 5:00 a.m.

A woman in a plush white bathrobe leisurely looks over her balcony at beautiful rolling green hills and a professionally designed golf course called Los Valles.

That's the image posted the last two years by Los Valles developers on a Web site promoting the golf course and more than 200 luxury homes that go with it.

The view today, however, is of 400 acres of rolling hills of dirt and a cluster of heavy construction machines sitting idle on the other side of a wire fence on Hasley Canyon at Del Valle Road.

Some of the people living near the planned development want to know when the golf course and its luxury homes are going to be built.

"It just seems to go on and on and on," said Castaic real estate broker Victoria Maw of California Estates. "They might want to build one or maybe three model homes to serve as an incentive to buy. So that someone comes up and says. ‘Wow, I want to be a part of this.'"

A shaky financial market is to blame for temporary delays in building Los Valles, according to Los Valles spokesman Dave Williams.

"Due to the instability of the financial market we have modified our original scheduling and delayed our sales opening and golf course completion until an estimated time of fourth quarter 2009," Williams wrote in an e-mail Wednesday.

"During this time, Los Valles will be focusing one hundred percent of its resources on completing its infrastructure in a fast and workman-like manner."

Kyle Cowan is an avid golfer who lives on Temple Court, just around the corner of what will one day be the number nine hole near the end of Hayward Street, on the east side of Los Valles.

"I walk over there all the time and look at where they showed off some of the hills where they're going to build," he said.

Cowan asked Williams when the golf course would be completed and was told the course would be open for play in summer or fall 2009, and monthly dues would be collected then.

Los Valles "Founding Memberships" start at $90,000, with regular golf memberships starting at $40,000, according to Williams.

Although the Los Valles plan was approved a little more than a year ago, some concerned Castaic residents say something should have been built by now.

"I expected to see greens for the golf course, maybe some gates, at least a model home," Maw said, adding she feels uncomfortable suggesting prospective Los Valles buyers pay $15,000 to get on waiting list for homes that haven't been built. "I can't bring in clients and tell them to put down $15,000 on a site."

Under planning deparement guidelines, developers can begin selling lots for homes after the first phase of the approved plan has been approved.

In April 2007, the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning approved Los Valles as the "Hasley Golf Course" with 429 acres offering 14 recreation lots and 209 homes, including a water well and water tower, seven storm drain lots and one golf course.

The first phase of Los Valles' plan called for the hills to be graded. Initial grading has been completed and the graders now sit parked by the Hasley Canyon Road fence.

"Los Valles is in the process of taking refundable lot deposits of $15,000 from potential home buyers," Williams wrote.

The golf course is the much-touted fixture that will anchor the planned community. Famed golfer Arnold Palmer designed it. He is no relation to Los Valles developer Dan Palmer of Palmer Investments.

Dan Palmer's company made headlines in Santa Clarita as the company that proposed building more than 5,500 homes in Newhall Pass in a planned community called Las Lomas. That development was halted by the Los Angeles City Council last spring.

Los Valles neighbors include the Santa Clarita Valley Facilities Foundation - which buys land for the William S. Hart Union High School District - immediately to the west of the golf course, where the foundation expects to build 58 homes on about 70 acres.

Less than a mile away and just down the road to the south is the site of the newly announced location of a Castaic high school on land owned by Sterling Gateway.


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