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CORRECTION: City may grow by leaps and bounds

LAFCO official changes percentage of residents required to protest annexation

Posted: April 8, 2012 1:55 a.m.
Updated: April 8, 2012 1:55 a.m.

 


Santa Clarita is poised to annex about 10 square miles of land — which could propel it into third place in Los Angeles County in terms of city population, surpassing Glendale, city officials say.

The Los Angeles County Local Agency Formation Commission, a state agency and independent body overseen by a nine-member commission, is processing applications for seven areas of land that would add an estimated 25,870 people to the population of the city.

Santa Clarita currently has about 177,500 residents, so the added number could boost the population to about 200,000, according to city officials.

By contrast, the 2010 U.S. Census reported 191,719 people live in Glendale, which is currently the third largest city in Los Angeles County.

The city of Santa Clarita was originally envisioned to include the entire Santa Clarita Valley, said city spokeswoman Gail Ortiz.

“What we’ve seen happen is as neighborhoods get developed, they request to come in the city,” Ortiz said.

Upcoming annexations

Copperstone, Elsmere Canyon, and Soledad Commons are all expected to be annexed by July 1, city officials said.

North Copper Hill, Norland Road, South Sand Canyon and Vista Canyon/Fair Oaks Ranch/Jakes Way/Sand Canyon are expected to be annexed by Dec. 1.

Most of the annexation proposals have been in the works for years, according to city officials.

“These have been going on for a while,” said Jeff Hogan, interim planning manager for Santa Clarita. “Coincidentally, they’re all coming together.”

All of the annexations are community driven, either by residents or developers, said Patrick Leclair, associate planner for the city of Santa Clarita.

“The city definitely tries to employ community outreach,” Hogan said. “We’re not out there if we don’t have the support.”

Annexation process

After cities and counties hash out the details of the annexations, including property tax transfers, the annexations have to pass a two-step process with the Los Angeles County Local Agency Formation Commission for final approval, said Paul Novak, executive officer for LAFCO. If the commission approves the staff’s recommendation, there’s a 30-day protest period for property owners and registered voters in the annexation areas.

If more than 50 percent of landowners or registered voters in either group object, the annexation application is dissolved, Novak said. If more than 15 percent object in either group, then the commission votes on the annexation.

If less than 15 percent object, then the annexation can be finalized.

Opinions

At least one resident in the Copperstone area says he wants to be able to actually vote on the annexation.

“That whole issue tends to bother me,” said Copperstone resident Fred Zeiler. “They’re just going to go ahead and annex us without any real vote.”

Other residents of areas facing annexation are happier about becoming part of the city.

“We’re excited that the entire east side of the valley will be annexed into the city,” said Fair Oaks Ranch Homeowners
Association president Max Hobbs. “I think it’s going to go very smooth. I’m not aware of anyone as far as Fair Oaks Ranch goes who’s opposed to it.”

A spokesman for the property developer seeking to have Vista Canyon annexed — where a development is proposed for 185 acres with more than 1,000 homes and nearly 1 million square feet of commercial office and retail space — said the developer worked with the city because their goals were similar.

“I think in the Vista Canyon case, it really made sense to annex into the city,” said Glenn Adamick, entitlements manager for JSB Development. “We’re surrounded by the city on three sides.”

Next steps

LAFCO is scheduled to discuss and vote on the Copperstone, Elsmere Canyon, Soledad Commons and Vista Canyon/Fair Oaks/Jakes Way/Sand Canyon on Wednesday in Los Angeles.

Residents are welcome to attend the meeting to voice their opinions.

The other annexations will be voted on later in the year.

kjonas@the-signal.com
661-287-5517

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