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Las Lomas dealt another setback

Proposed mini-city developer loses appeal for 5,500-home plan

Posted: September 18, 2009 10:35 p.m.
Updated: September 19, 2009 4:55 a.m.
An appeals court this week blocked a developer's effort to build a mini-city in the hills above Newhall Pass.

The state Court of Appeals rejected an appeal filed by the Las Lomas Land Co., which had proposed a 5,500-home network of villages on nearly 1,000 hilly acres above the junction of Interstate 5 and Highway 14 freeway.

Developer Dan Palmer filed the appeal last January after Superior Court Judge David P. Yaffe threw out a lawsuit against the city of Los Angeles for issuing a stop-work order on the Las Lomas project.

Palmer's plans for construction on steep hillsides between the I-5 and Highway 14 had long been opposed by the city of Santa Clarita and environmentalists.

"It's very good news ... for everyone in the community," Matt Myerhoff, spokesman for Los Angeles City Councilman Greig Smith, said Friday.

Las Lomas spokesman Edward Park declined to comment Friday.

In December 2008, Yaffe ruled Las Lomas could not proceed with a complaint the firm filed against Los Angeles. The appeals court rejected Palmer's appeal of Yaffe's decision Thursday.

Palmer had claimed the Los Angeles City Council acted unlawfully in March 2008 when it halted the environmental review process for what company officials called "arbitrary and discriminatory reasons."

According to a Friday news release from Smith's office: "Las Lomas was too big, too dense and couldn't be planned in a worse place. It would have had a devastating effect on traffic, the environment and would have unacceptably strained our water, infrastructure and public safety resources."

Las Lomas officials have claimed the project would create 9,000 direct jobs, 22,000 indirect jobs, more than 1,300 construction jobs and $1.3 billion in annual wages.

The smart-growth community would reportedly add $22 million per year to the Los Angeles city general fund revenue, company officials said.


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