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'Master' plan goes to public hearing

The Master's College awaits approval for upgrades and road extensions

Posted: January 11, 2009 9:26 p.m.
Updated: January 12, 2009 4:55 a.m.

The 10-year master plan for The Master's College comes before the Santa Clarita City Council Tuesday and college officials believe the project will meet the needs of the college and mix into a revitalized downtown Newhall.

"We're just really excited that we have joined forces with the community and that we will also be meeting the needs for the city of Santa Clarita," said Bob Hotton, vice president of operations for The Master's College.

The plans involve a 55,000 square foot chapel, two classroom buildings that total 60,000 square feet each, a new 120-bed dormitory and upgrades to existing buildings on the Christian liberal arts campus.

The college would also donate 20 acres to the city as open space and Creekview Park, which the city currently leases from the college, city associate planner James Chow said.

The plan also calls for the extension of Dockweiler Drive through The Master's College and the extension of Deputy Jake Drive so it intersects with the proposed Dockweiler Drive.

The city recommends the council conducts public hearing, certify the final environmental impact report and adopt a resolution approving the 10-year master plan.

The master plan, which has gone through roughly a four-year process, went through four Planning Commission meetings and ended with the commission's unanimous approval in November 2008.

The project's ordinance will pass to a second reading on Feb. 10, if approved Tuesday.

College officials scaled back the master plan because of initial concerns from the Placerita Canyon community.

"We have had meetings almost on a monthly basis with the association," Hotton said.

The original 54-unit multi-family residential development is now a 42-unit single-family development, the height of certain buildings were scaled back from three stories to two and the original proposal for a through-street configuration on Deputy Jake Drive turned into a cul-de-sac, Chow said.

College officials took the input of residents and incorporated it into the updated master plan.

Ben Curtis, president of the Placerita Canyon Property Owner's Association, is pleased with the updated master plan and calls The Master's College a "good quiet Christian university."

"They're really, really good neighbors as opposed to the kind of neighbor we could have," he said.

"We have no problem with them whatsoever," he said.

The frequent community meetings allowed Placerita Canyon residents to voice their concerns with the original proposals for Dockweiler Drive and Deputy Jake Drive.

"We've made suggestions and they've taken them to heart," he said, later adding, "It's been a real hand-in-hand operation."

If approved, the plan gives the college a chance to spruce up.

"It's to improve existing buildings," Hotton said.

The changes to Dockweiler Drive will also weave into the city's downtown Newhall revitalization plans, Hotton said.

Even though approval could come Tuesday, construction on the master plan might have to wait.

If it wasn't for the slow economy, "We'd be able to start some of the grading on the first phase of the project," Hotton said.

"We're a donation and tuition driven institution, we can't just borrow money from the bank," he said.


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