City Council votes 10-5 to defeat proposal.
UPDATED 4:51 p.m. 3/19
The Los Angeles City Council has voted in a 10-5 decision to stop the massive 555-acre Las Lomas Project, proposed by developer Dan Palmer for the area adjacent to the Newhall Pass.
Santa Clarita Mayor Bob Kellar, who was at the council meeting, was estatic with the outcome.
"This is an incredible victory for not only the citizens of the Santa Clarita Valley, but certainly for those in the San Fernando Valley," he said. "For all practical intents and purposes, this project is over."
The vote taken Wednesday was on a motion proposed by Councilman Grieg Smith, whose council district is immediately adjacent to the project. Smith asked the council make a policy decision to stop the massive development. Projects proposed outside the city (Las Lomas is in unincorporated County land) are governed by council policy decisions whether or not to expand the City and provide the necessary infrastructure to service the project, such as water, sewer, police and fire, power and public works.
The project, initially proposed in 2002, has always been fraught with controversy. The Santa Clarita City Council opposed the project because of its adverse effects on traffic and the environment. Las Lomas would have been sited just east of the 5-14 interchange, in undeveloped, hilly terrain where paintball has been played and near a mobile home park. It would have required grading of more than 20 million cubic yards of slope and would have a disastrous impact on the wildlife corridor that runs between the San Gabriel and Santa Susana Mountains.
Geologists also questioned the project’s siting in what has proven to be the most seismically active part of the area, where homes and freeways were destroyed in both the 1971 and 1994 earthquakes.
Las Lomas was proposed as a “mini-city” with 5,553 homes, a hotel, office complexes, a 350-room hotel, community and recreational facilities, shopping centers and an underground Metrolink station. Concerns about traffic were immediate with the project’s proximity to the confluence of five major freeways – the 5, 14, 118, 210 and 405. A white paper issued by Smith’s office states that gridlock in the area is already so severe a federal study has been commissioned to look for ways to fix existing conditions without any new developments.
Five Los Angeles Council members voted against Smith’s proposal, with Councilman Alarcon citing the city attorney’s concern about the city’s liability to the developer since fees had already been paid for the plan’s consideration.