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CORRECTION: County supervisors approve deal for new sheriff’s station, courthouse

Corrects dollar amount of two parcels togethr

Posted: February 14, 2012 4:20 p.m.
Updated: February 14, 2012 4:20 p.m.
 

 

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on Tuesday signed off on a deal that would build a new Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and courthouse on 12 acres of land along The Old Road just south of Highway 126.

While the captain of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station is pleased with the plan for a bigger station to serve the growing community, city of Santa Clarita officials say they are shocked and upset because they feel left out of the deal.

“To say we’re surprised is an understatement,” city spokesman Gail Ortiz said Tuesday after the supervisors’ unanimous vote. “We’re shocked.”

Santa Clarita City Manager Ken Pulskamp said: “As soon as I hang up the phone, I’m going to call the county and ask them why we weren’t consulted.”

County officials say the move is part of taking a regional approach that better serves the city and Santa Clarita Valley.

On Tuesday, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, approved a recommendation by the county’s Chief Executive Office to approve the terms and conditions of their option agreement with Newhall Land Development Inc. for the transfer of two 6-acre parcels of land to the county for a price.

The price tag for the land is $5.78 million — or $2.89 million for each six-acre parcel.

Serving the growing SCV
Supervisors approved “sighting” the Santa Clarita Courthouse and regional sheriff’s station on 12 acres of land located along the south side of The Old Road, east of Henry Mayo Drive, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said in a statement.

The location is next to the California Highway Patrol’s Newhall Station on The Old Road.

The new 45,000-square-foot sheriff’s station is expected to be built using proceeds from the sale of the existing Civic Center site in Valencia and developer fees, he said.

“The state of California’s identification of the Castaic site moves us forward in our effort to provide Santa Clarita Valley a new state-of-the-art courthouse,” Antonovich said. “The county and the state are working in partnership to replace outdated facilities to meet the future needs of the Santa Clarita Valley.”

A bigger sheriff’s station means more deputies will likely be hired, and it would reduce the workload at the existing station, said Capt. Paul Becker of the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station.

“It’s certainly good news to have a county station,” he said, noting that the unincorporated population exceeds 92,000.

Santa Clarita Valley showed the second highest jump in population among 23 stations across Los Angeles County, according to statistics of the 2010 U.S. Census compared with those of the state’s Department of Finance tallied in 2009.
Anna Pembedjian, Antonovich’s justice deputy, said the new station is regional in nature, designed to meet the needs of residents in the unincorporated areas and the city.

“This is not expected to be the only sheriff’s station in the Santa Clarita Valley,” she said, adding discussions among supervisors today included talk of a sheriff’s sub-station in Canyon Country.

The new station on The Old Road would replace the existing one on Magic Mountain Parkway according to the

county.
“The state of California has assigned the highest priority to the replacement of the existing courthouse,” county CEO William Fujioka said in his background letter.

A larger sheriff’s station would likely mean hiring more people, Becker said.

“To have a station that’s larger, with a larger jail, would require us to hire additional personnel, and therefore, be more efficient,” he said.

The county’s ongoing talks with Becker about the new sheriff’s station has allowed city officials ample opportunity to review the details.
City officials, meanwhile, say they would still have preferred to have been consulted first.

“For a city that pays $20 million to the county to provide policing in the Santa Clarita Valley, we at least deserve some consultation,” Pulskamp said.

As well, a station on the outskirts of Santa Clarita Valley does little to meet the policing needs of residents on the other side of the valley, he said.

At Tuesday’s Santa Clarita City Council meeting, Councilman Frank Ferry said he was surprised when he found out about the Board of Supervisor’s vote earlier that day.

“Today, I have to admit I was completely caught off-guard when the county board of supervisors voted 5-0 to build a Santa Clarita (Valley) Sheriff’s Station outside the city limits, west of (Interstate 5),” Ferry said.

Pulskamp said that he would be bringing the matter back before the City Council at a later date.

County officials say they’ve kept the city apprised through ongoing talks with local law enforcement.

The need for a new station
Recently, officials with the state’s Administrative Office of the Courts assessed the current station on Magic Mountain Parkway and the courthouse next to it and found the buildings to be “deficient and unsafe,” according to a letter given to county supervisors.

“Each facility is in physical decline and fail to adequately serve the needs of the Santa Clarita Valley,” the letter reads. “The facilities were constructed in 1972 and are deficient and unsafe.”

Becker said he understood the new station will be built to police the unincorporated area, and that the existing station would remain until a larger station could be built in the city’s center.

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