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UPDATE: County buys in on Las Lomas purchase

Specifies sources of additional funds

Posted: November 5, 2013 5:23 p.m.
Updated: November 6, 2013 7:11 p.m.

SANTA CLARITA - Los Angeles County supervisors on Tuesday contributed $1.3 million in grant money to a proposal to buy 550 acres of land in the Newhall Pass that was once planned for a mini-city.

The move to buy the Las Lomas property pretty much ensured Santa Clarita Valley has a contiguous greenbelt of open space and wilderness wrapped around its developed area.

“We’re thrilled the county is supporting the project,” said Becky Nielsen of the Trust for Public Land, the environmental group slated to receive the grant money and make the purchase.

The $1.3 million grant will go for the preservation of open space and wildlife habitat in the unincorporated area of the Newhall Pass, Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich said.

Consisting of Gateway Ranch and Valley Vista, the Las Lomas Acquisition Project totals approximately 550 acres.

“This project will enhance our area’s environment by preserving existing natural conditions, protecting plant and animal habitats, connecting existing publicly owned open space and providing a direct link between the San Gabriel and Santa Susana Mountains,” said Antonovich.

The hilly land north and east of Interstate 5 just above its split with Highway 14 was proposed for a 5,500-home “village” with 2 million square feet of commercial space and a 300-room hotel. Massive grading and oak tree removal would have been required.

It would have exceeded Los Angeles County’s and Santa Clarita’s adopted density for the area by more than 1,000 percent and stood as a poster child for bad planning for many in Santa Clarita.

The money set aside by supervisors acting as the board of the Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District is the county’s part of the overall $8.1 million price tag for the total land purchase.

Additional money will come from the Santa Clarita open space district, $3.5 million; a Wildlife Conservation Board grant, $2.3 million; a Caltrans grant, $350,000; and Santa Monica Mountains Conseervancy funds from Proposition 84, $650,000.

“We’re providing an important wildlife connection,” Nielsen said. “And this (Las Lomas) property is an important critical connection that joins other wildlife areas — the Michael D. Antonovich Open Space, Elsmere Canyon, Towsley Canyon and, ultimately, the Angeles National Forest.”

From the county’s perspective, Tuesday’s pledge advances its goal of funding additional protected open space land in the 5th Supervisorial District.
on Twitter @jamesarthurholt




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