At Tuesday’s Planning Commission meeting, City staff made their opening remarks regarding the draft of One Valley One Vision, the lengthy document that provides a compass for the Santa Clarita Valley’s future.
Totaling more than 8,000 pages, tackling the document could only be described as a Sisyphean task.
Consisting of both a General Plan and an Environmental Impact Report, OVOV would follow the City’s first General Plan, adopted in 1991.
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Upon its release on September 23, many were left pondering the need for such a bulky blueprint in the first place.
Listening to City staff at Tuesday’s meeting, one can hope that OVOV tries to balance the needs of those who want to live here, those who want to work here, those that want to start families here and those who don’t want anybody moving in at all.
As residents stepped forward voicing their concerns, it’s clear that this is no easy task.
Furthermore, there’s the issue of commercial developers and the rights they have to build on their land.
According to Jason Smisko, Senior Planner for the City of Santa Clarita , OVOV acknowledges how the byproducts of commercial growth can accommodate present and future Santa Clarita residents.
“Believe it or not, this valley is really under built,” Smisko said. “Commercially the amount of development that’s been built is well under what is allowed.”
Smisko said that City staff surveyed various developers and properties, and determined that they’re only building on about 27 percent of their land.
“The densities that are allowed developers, depending on what zone you’re in commercially, at a minimum you can build on 37.5 percent of your land,” he said.
According to Smisko, staff found that many places allow developers up to 67.5 percent of land use. Some places even allow a one-to-one ratio, which allows developers to build on their entire property.
“If you drive around this town you see a lot of commercial areas with just empty asphalt.”
Smisko hopes developers will build more on their commercial sites so that more jobs are generated for Santa Clarita residents.
“That does a number of things,” he said. “It creates jobs, it creates a market here in town and it also reduces traffic.”
While Tuesday’s meeting allowed staff to provide an introductory summary to OVOV, residents also had the opportunity to voice their dismay with the time allowed to comment on the document.
The public has 90 days to submit comments in writing concerning OVOV, doubled the amount of time required.
Public hearings – where residents can voice their concerns as well – will not be limited by the 90-day period.
“The focus (of Tuesday’s meeting) was to let the public know of their continued opportunity to participate,” said Smisko. “It’s understanding when we’re going to talk about the different subject areas.”
The proposed One Valley One Vision public hearing schedule is listed below.
November 16, 2010: Land use and circulation; responses to meeting on October 5, 2010
December 7, 2010: Greenhouse gases/climate change, air and water quality; responses to meeting on November 16, 2010
January 18, 2011: Responses to meeting on December 7, 2010