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Residents back Disney plan

Opinions heard on Golden Oak Ranch project

Posted: June 4, 2012 10:56 p.m.
Updated: June 4, 2012 10:56 p.m.

A city set is seen at Golden Oak Ranch in Placerita Canyon.

 

About 100 Santa Clarita Valley residents showed up for a public hearing Monday night at Hart Hall in Newhall to comment on a proposed sound stage and production facility for Disney and ABC Studios on Golden Oak Ranch in Placerita Canyon - with the majority of speakers stating their support for the project and the thousands of jobs they hope it will bring to the community.

Disney and ABC Studios released their draft environmental impact report in May and the public has 45 days to comment on the proposed project, with the comment period ending June 18. The 890-acre movie ranch east of Interstate 14 off Placerita Canyon Road is in an unincorporated area of Los Angeles County and has long been used for producing movies and television shows.

At Monday's hearing, about 20 residents commented on the project. Officials from the city of Santa Clarita, Santa Clarita Valley Chamber of Commerce and Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp. voiced their organization's support for the proposed project.

"The city of Santa Clarita strongly supports this program moving forward as proposed," said Santa Clarita Councilman Bob Kellar.

Several Placerita Canyon and Newhall residents said that the project would be a benefit to the community.

"This is a great project," said Jim Coffey, a Placerita Canyon resident. "I have absolutely no concerns about this project from the beginning to the end."

Those who did have concerns about the project said that they wanted to make sure the increase in traffic would be addressed and see if the project could incorporate renewable energy such as solar panels or wind turbines.

Lynne Plambeck, who said she was representing Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment, said she opposed the project on a number of levels - including the appearance of the project, concerns about the actual number of jobs that would be created by the project and transportation concerns.

The project - which will be on a 58-acre parcel of land on the western edge of the ranch - includes up to 555,950 square feet of buildings with six soundstage buildings with two stages each, bungalows for actors and writers, production storage and offices, administration offices, production shops and other support facilities, according to a project fact sheet.

The project would have a significant impact on local noise and air quality during the facility's construction, although Disney and ABC Studios plan to mitigate the noise by using noise-shielding and muffling devices on construction equipment, said Adam Gilbert, project manager for Disney ABC Studios at the Ranch.

The project involves removing 158 of some 3,000 oak trees on the property, including 16 heritage oaks, and encroaching on 82 other oaks, according to the document.

The county requires at least 442 oak trees be planted as replacements, but Disney and ABC Studios are planning to plant 1,600 trees on the property.

Construction would bring an estimated 3,152 new jobs to the area during construction; 2,854 full- and part-time jobs would be created after the project is completed, according to company executives.

An estimated $533 million in annual economic activity throughout the county is expected to be generated when the project is operating fully.

After the comment period ends for the draft report June 18, public comments will be addressed in the final report, which company executives said should be released in the fall.

To view the draft environmental impact report, visit http://planning.lacounty.gov/case/all and view vesting tentative tract map 071216. Written comments will be accepted until June 18 to Christina Tran, Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning, Special Projects Section, Room 1362, 320 West Temple Street, Los Angeles, CA 90012 or emailed to ctran@planning.lacounty.gov.

kjonas@the-signal.com

661-287-5517

 

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