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County offers land for courthouse

State must choose between two possible sites

Posted: July 14, 2009 8:16 p.m.
Updated: July 15, 2009 4:55 a.m.

The county approved a land transfer on Tuesday that allows the state to relocate Santa Clarita Superior Court from Valencia to the Pitchess Detention Center in Castaic.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved a transfer of 10 acres of land to the state to construct a replacement courthouse.

“It will be a 10-courtroom building which is much larger than our current building that has four courtrooms,” said Anna Pembedjian, justice deputy for Fifth District Supervisor Michael Antonovich.

The decades-old building at the corner of Valencia Boulevard and Magic Mountain Parkway is in dire need of upgrades, and Pitchess Detention Center wasn’t the only location considered for a replacement court building.

The Santa Clarita City Council offered the state seven acres of land near Fire Station 104 east of the Golden Valley Road and Centre Point Parkway intersection.

“It’s up to the state to decide which option is best,” said Evan Thomason, city spokesman.

That decision could come by September, according to county officials.

It is unclear how the current courthouse will be used if the state builds a new court building in Castaic, Pembedjian said.

A new building on the Pitchess Honor Ranch will be a better fit for the courthouse than its current location in Valencia, said Paul Novak, planning deputy for Antonovich.

“You have the courthouse, and let’s think about the type of people who go to court — next to the library which is usually attracts mom, dad and two kids,” he said.

Moving the courthouse to Pitchess will also cut the county’s inmate transportation costs. “Many of the inmates at Pitchess are awaiting court appearances. This will make getting them to court easier,” Novak said.

The new facility will also be highway-adjacent, he added.

Antonovich and the board of supervisors have been considering the move for more than a year, he added.

Before construction on a new courthouse can begin the state must pick a site on the Pitchess property, Pembedjian said.

“That will be a 12- to 18-month process that includes site tours,” she said. The decision on the exact location is up to the state.  



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