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Correction: two route options for Princessa expansion

Posted: August 22, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: August 22, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Via Princessa extension map

 

The Signal’s front-page story “Report on road extension released” in Monday’s paper was incorrect; the draft environmental impact report for an extension of Via Princessa in Canyon Country offers two possible routes to connect Rainbow Glen Drive with Golden Valley Road.

The route labeled “preferred” would connect Via Princessa to Golden Valley Road north of Golden Valley High School. It follows the city’s general plan, Santa Clarita officials said.

The route considered an “alternative” would connect Via Princessa to Robert C. Lee Parkway, which could then be used to reach Golden Valley Road.

The preferred route would extend and expand the existing two-lane Via Princessa between Sheldon Avenue and Rainbow Glen Drive to three lanes in each direction. From Sheldon Avenue, the proposed 1.2-mile route would connect to Golden Valley Road just north of Golden Valley High School.

An alternative plan to extend Via Princessa to Golden Valley Road calls for the street to follow Los Angeles Department of Water and Power transmission lines to avoid unnecessary environmental impacts to the area, a city official said.

“Anytime we choose an alternative, we have to make sure the alternative is an environmentally superior choice,” said Santa Clarita Associate Planner James Chow.

The Robert C. Lee Parkway alternative would have less impacts on biological resources than the preferred route, mainly because it avoids a vernal pool — a mostly dry area that fills with water in the spring and is home to creatures such as fairy shrimp — that the preferred route would run through, Chow said.

For both the proposed project and alternative, the visual impacts on the area would be significant and unavoidable because of the new road, the draft EIR concludes.

More than 15 years of thought went into the project, which would help ease traffic and improve connectivity on the east end of the city.

Long-term plans call for Via Princessa in the east valley to eventually connect with Via Princessa in the west, which dead-ends at Circle J Ranch, Santa Clarita Planning Manager Jeff Hogan said.

Pollution cleanup at the former Whittaker-Bermite site must occur first.

The draft EIR considered input from different homeowner associations and a public scoping meeting held in October 2009. During the initial study performed for the report, residents voiced concerns about dust and debris, how they were going to enter and exit from housing tracts in the area, and traffic, according to the report.

The hefty report analyzes air quality, biology, cultural resources, geology and soils, climate change, human-made hazards, hydrology, land use, noise, transportation and traffic and visual resources associated with the proposed extension.

The report was released Thursday. Residents have 60 days to comment on the impacts of the project. Comments will be considered in the final report.

No start date has been set for the road expansion, according to city officials. The city would have to obtain funding and other permits, such as oak tree permits, before construction begins, Chow said.

Two public outreach meetings for the Via Princessa extension are scheduled at 6 p.m. on Sept. 6 and Sept. 27 at Santa Clarita City Hall Century Room, 23920 Valencia Blvd.

Residents can view the draft report on the city’s website, or can view hard copies at libraries in Valencia, 23743 Valencia Blvd., and Canyon Country, 18601 Soledad Canyon Road. They can also view copies at the Planning Division at Santa Clarita City Hall, 23920 Valencia Blvd.

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