By Leon Worden/SCVNEWS.com
The Newhall Redevelopment Committee has ceased to exist.
Word came late Thursday from City Manager Ken Pulskamp in the form of a letter to Newhall Redevelopment Committee members (including this writer).
The Newhall Redevelopment Committee is – or was – an all-volunteer advisory body to the City Council (in its Redevelopment Agency role) and to the Planning Commission. The fate of the committee has been limbo since the dissolution earlier this year of all redevelopment agencies in California, including Santa Clarita’s.
Since that time, city officials had been conducting “further evaluation … to decide on the future of the committee.”
On Thursday the decision was made. Pulskamp’s letter states that because the redevelopment committee was created and appointed by the Santa Clarita Redevelopment Agency, and the agency no longer exists, the committee “is by law dissolved.”
Members of the committee have expressed a desire to continue in their advisory capacity on matters relating to the development of Old Town Newhall, and the committee’s (former) members are in the process of scheduling an informal meeting.
The committee was created and appointed in 1997 by the Santa Clarita Redevelopment Agency board – i.e., the five members of the Santa Clarita City Council. (The council actually wears a number of hats. For instance, the City Council serves as the board of the new Santa Clarita Public Library system, which is a separate government agency. Redevelopment worked the same way.)
The advisory body on redevelopment – the Newhall Redevelopment Committee – started out 15 years ago as a 17-member panel of local residents and business operators with an interest in transforming Newhall from a neglected business district into a thriving commercial center.
As redevelopment took hold in Newhall, the size of the committee was reduced to nine. The committee has been chaired in recent years by Phil Ellis, who also serves on the Newhall School Board. The other current members were Larry Bird, Tony Campbell, John Grannis, Duane Harte, Kevin D. Korenthal, Carol Rock, Dennis Verner and Leon Worden.