BY LEON WORDEN / FOR SCVNEWS.COM
Pico Canyon Park is a viable location for a future library to serve Stevenson Ranch, according to documents from the County of Los Angeles Public Library system.
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The 20-acre park on Pico Canyon Road, home to the “Old Glory” oak tree that was moved there nearly a decade ago following a community effort to save it, is the last place left on the County Library’s list of suitable sites that’s both available and big enough to host a new library.
All of the commercial properties that had been under consideration for lease or purchase are either unavailable or too small, according to the documents, which stem from a public meeting earlier this month.
“In most cases, existing restrictions prohibited the use of specific commercial sites for library construction,” according to a fact sheet. “In other instances, sites did not contain sufficient square footage to accommodate the requirements of a library; or parking and locations did not serve the community in a balanced geographic area central to serving the entire community.”
The county looked at raw land in the area, but “no properties were available for development within the next 5–10 years.”
The county hopes to start construction on a new library in 2014 and open it in 2016. Much of the anticipated $16 million construction cost is in the bank, through developer fees and funds paid by the city of Santa Clarita when it took over the three county libraries inside city limits. The city bought the Valencia Library and the former Newhall library building from the county, and it reimbursed the county for recent improvements to the Canyon Country Jo Anne Darcy Library, which the city had paid to build.
The county says it needs a 15,000-square-foot building to serve the west side communities, with adequate parking and ADA accessibility. That’s based on 2020 census projections at 0.5 square feet per person. Plans call for 2.5 reader seats, one computer and four parking spaces for every 1,000 patrons served.
Pico Canyon Park would fit the mold. “The park is county-owned park land,” the fact sheet states. “The Parks and Playground Act of 1909 permit(s) public facilities, including libraries, for recreation and enjoyment (to) be built in parks, and the county has built libraries in other parks across Los Angeles County.”
The county’s Dr. Richard Rioux Memorial Park would work, too, but it’s an “active park” with “lots of programming” and isn’t being considered.
Jake Kuredjian County Park wouldn’t work because the county has a joint use agreement for it with the Newhall School District.
Raw land owned by homebuilder DR Horton at The Old Road and Sagecrest is available and would be a “great site for identity of the community,” but an environmental review process alone could take up to a year and again, the library documents show that no development site would be ready for five to 10 years.
Another undeveloped site on Pico Canyon Road has “difficult topography” and “many oak trees.”
The existing commercial structures that had been under consideration were:
* Linens and Things – no longer available.
* Billiards and Barstools, 25420 The Old Road – too small (8,800 square feet).
* Stevenson Ranch Road & Hemingway (Dance Studio) – too small (9,700); shared parking.
* Magic Mountain Exit, (27430 The Old Road Restaurant Site – no longer available; too small (8,300).
* 25922 & 25926 The Old Road – no longer available; too small (10,100); shared parking.
* 25261 The Old Road (Commercial Center with Outback Steakhouse) – shared parking; “below minimum programming requirements.”
* Val Surf, Valencia Market Place, 25950 The Old Road – CCR restrictions; shared parking; “below minimum programming requirements.”
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