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Open Space Open For Discussion

City Council takes time to speak on issue

The Santa Clarita City Council has made no secrets about their dedication to preserving open space.

The latest way of doing so is by starting an Open Space Preservation District, which the Council unanimously passed a few weeks ago.

The Preservation District prompted an engineer’s report, which served up information on a plan to institute a $25 per year assessment on property tax in Santa Clarita. As it breaks down, no less than 90% of that money can go to purchase undeveloped land. No more than 10% of the money can be used to convert that land into usable parkland.

The idea, according to proponents, is to preserve an open space greenbelt around Santa Clarita, preserving wildlife, increasing property value, and effectively taking the land away from developers.

There is a cap saying that the amount of the assessment can increase by no more than $1 each year, and even that would have to be voted on by the City Council each time.

Some concerns raised by three residents who spoke at Tuesday’s Council meeting include the assessment itself, and whether or not the land was guaranteed to be the public’s forever.

City Attorney Cal Newton said that the city could issue a proclamation rendering the park land public, and once doing so would allow the land only to be used for other purposes if the public voted to do so.  The Council expressed interest in making such a decision.

The final say, however, lies with property owners, who will be receiving a ballot in the mail soon.

Open Space Open For Discussion

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