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Valencia park, parking project takes step forward

Posted: December 6, 2012 5:49 p.m.
Updated: December 6, 2012 5:49 p.m.

A sign is posted at the corner of Grandview Drive and Newhall Ranch Road on Thursday at the site of a proposed city park and parking lot in Valencia.

Members of the Santa Clarita Planning Commission cleared one hurdle this week in the city’s attempt to expand its park offerings in Valencia, but the project remains far from a done deal.

In a unanimous vote Tuesday, Planning Commission members approved a proposal that would take 5 acres of land at the intersection of Newhall Ranch Road and Grandview Drive and develop 2.6 acres of it as open park space with the remainder designated for additional parking.

The idea is for this new park space to function as a passive landscaped space that could also host small community events, according to city Parks, Recreation and Community Services Director Rick Gould.

But first things first: The city needs to actually take possession of the land.

The developer of Bridgeport Marketplace owns the five-acre parcel but has offered to dedicate it to the city, according to both Gould and city Associate Planner Patrick Leclair.

Gould said the city is working in conjunction with Bridgeport Marketplace and Real Life Church, located in the shopping center, to find a mutually beneficial way to move forward with construction.

This is especially important because the city does not currently have money available to fund the project, Gould said.

The city drafted a tentative agreement with Real Life Church last year. Under that agreement, the church would work with Bridgeport Marketplace to help construct the park and the parking area and the city would allow patrons of the church and nearby businesses to park there, Gould said.

While the church agrees the park is in the best interest of the city, this agreement could actually lower the amount of available parking in the area, according to Real Life spokeswoman Maddy Dowler.

The proposed construction site is a 5-acre dirt lot that some churchgoers use for parking, Dowler said. Construction of a park could effectively halve the available parking space.

“We don’t want it to be a dirt lot forever and we know that the park is the best thing for the city,” Dowler said. “We’ll just keep parking anywhere.”

The city is also limited by what it can do with the land.

An earthquake fault runs through the site, meaning it is impossible to build any kind of enclosed structure on the property, even something as basic as a bathroom.

“You can bet if a developer could’ve built something on the property they would have already done so,” Gould said.

From here, city staff will review the agreement with Real Life Church and present it to the Santa Clarita City Council for approval.

Gould said it is unclear what the time frame for the project is moving forward.




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