Newhall Land and Farming officials are dealing with another lawsuit filed against them and their Newhall Ranch development last week, as the first meeting of the Newhall Ranch Sanitation District is scheduled for Tuesday.
UPDATED ON MARCH 11 AT 11:00 A.M.
UPDATES WITH COMMENTS FROM THE SANTA CLARITA ORGANIZATION FOR PLANNING AND THE ENVIRONMENT REGARDING THE NEWHALL RANCH LAWSUIT.
Newhall Land and Farming has met with a series of roadblocks as they seek approval for their Newhall Ranch development west of Interstate 5. A lawsuit was filed by local environmental groups last week. But, the Newhall Ranch Sanitation District will have their first meeting on Tuesday, just another administrative step before Newhall Land can break ground.
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The Newhall Ranch County Sanitation District will hold its first Board of Directors meeting during the regular Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors meeting.
The Newhall Ranch Sanitation District was originally formed in 2006 by the Local Agency Formation Commission and approved by the Board of Supervisors in 2011.
Due to the economy and litigation, the Newhall Ranch development was postponed.
The first two of four phases for Newhall Ranch, Landmark Village and Mission Village, were approved by the county board in 2012, said Edel Vizcarra, planning and public works deputy for Supervisor Michael Antonovich.
Both villages were litigated, said Newhall Land Spokeswoman Marlee Lauffer.
“The litigation against Landmark was rejected,” she said.
The lawsuit against Mission Village is still ongoing, in addition to the most recent lawsuit filed in federal court by the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment, Friends of the Santa Clara River and the Wishtoyo Foundation.
This lawsuit addresses the whole development and the validity of permits issued by the Army Corps of Engineers and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
The environmental groups claim that the Newhall Ranch development would harm the habitat of fish and wildlife, like the unarmored threespine stickleback, the California condor and the southwestern willow flycatcher, in addition to harming Chumash Native American cultural sites.
“Rather than ensuring that the last free-flowing river in the county is preserved, the agencies have approved development directly in the Santa Clara River’s fragile floodplain,” said Lynne Plambeck, president of SCOPE. “Such a massive development in sensitive habitat and prime farmland is out of step with contemporary urban planning. It is time to implement new planning concepts that protect, not destroy, wildlife habitat, water resources and our local agriculture.”
Taking the lawsuits into consideration, Newhall Land hopes to be able to break ground within a year, Lauffer said.
“A variety of different things that need to occur before we break ground, but certainly the litigation plays a role in some of that,” she said.
Another step is the first meeting of the Sanitation District.
“The (Newhall Ranch Sanitation) District board has not met, because there was nothing for them to do until now,” said Ray Tremblay, head of facilities planning for L.A. County Sanitation Districts.
The meeting will focus mainly on administrative actions.
The district’s board of directors, which includes Board of Supervisors Chair Don Knabe, will vote to appoint a secretary and board chair, adopt a seal and amend the name of the district, according to board documents.
Pending approval of the board, the district will also seek to join the Los Angeles County Sanitation Districts, an organization of “23 independent special districts serving about 5.5 million people in Los Angeles County,” according to their website.
For more information and updates about the Newhall Ranch Development, click here.
Board to Vote on Drought Mitigation
The Board of Supervisors will also vote Tuesday on a drought mitigation motion by Supervisor Michael Antonovich.
He recommends that the board direct the Public Works Department to expedite the construction of stormwater capture projects, work with the Army Corps of Engineers and continue working with federal, state and local agencies.
“Our ability to further enhance water supply reliability faces tremendous regulatory hurdles and fiscal challenges,” Antonovich’s motion reads.
The recent storm in Southern California did little in the long-run to eliminate the ongoing drought.
The motion also addresses the issue of sediment collecting in county dams.
“The benefits of several recent enhancement projects at County dams and downstream spreading grounds are in jeopardy due to the impacts of sediment accumulation at reservoirs in the wake of recent fires,” according to the motion. “Sediment reduces the storage capacity of the reservoirs for capturing stormwater and could affect the ability to release water from the reservoirs.”
It is similar to the problem affecting Bouquet Canyon, where the board declared a state of emergency on Feb. 25.
If the motion is passed, the Public Works Department would be instructed to take actions ensuring that state and federal lawmakers would pass legislation to increase funding and streamline the regulatory process for stormwater capture facilities.
New Playground Equipment For Castaic Sports Complex
On the consent calendar for the Board of Supervisors are suggested improvements for several parks in the unincorporated county.
If approved, the Castaic Sports Complex would receive $450,000 of new playground equipment.
“The proposed Castaic Project includes installation of new playground equipment for 5- to 12-year-olds to replace the existing, non-compliant Americans with Disabilities Act playground equipment; and installation of a new 50’x27’x31’ shade structure. The proposed Castaic Project will also include path of travel to the play area from the parking lot to comply with ADA requirements,” according to documents attached to the board agenda.
To read the full board meeting agenda, click here.
The meeting is scheduled for 9:30 a.m. on Tuesday, March 11 and can be livestreamed on the board website, here.
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Source: Santa Clarita News