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Avenue project on hold

• Developer wants to rethink plans for old mule ranch

Posted: May 28, 2008 1:28 a.m.
Updated: July 29, 2008 5:02 a.m.

The developer of a proposed residential and commercial center on the old Smiser Ranch mule farm in Newhall has suspended its plans to rethink the project that has left dozens of area residents infuriated.

City Manager Ken Pulskamp announced at Tuesday night's City Council meeting that he received a letter from Monteverde Companies to suspend the plans.

Residents marched to the podium at an April City Council meeting to protest The Avenue at Santa Clarita, a 37-acre development that would bring two 12-story buildings, retail shops and 800 residential units to an area bordered by Interstate 5, Wiley Canyon Road and Calgrove Boulevard. Residents cited concerns about traffic and environmental effects and asked that the area be turned into a park.

Project consultant Jeff Lambert told The Signal that the residents "lit a fire under us" to modify the project to address the community's concerns, but said the idea of turning the property into a park "is not likely to get much attention from us."

City officials then sent a letter to the developer listing the community's concerns.

Plans for the development were submitted to the city in November. Consultants for the environmental impact report had not yet been chosen.

A phone call made to Lambert Tuesday night was not returned by press time.

Trash rates raised: In other business, the City Council approved a contract that allows residential trash hauler Waste Management and commercial trash hauler Burrtec Waste Industries to raise their fees 3.95 percent beginning July 1.

The standard rate for a single family residence will jump to $17.28 per month, which adds up to about $8 per year.

Businesses using large-scale trash bin services may pay an additional $200 per year.

The rate change is a result of increased costs expected in fuel, equipment and other expenses, city officials have said.

The City Council also approved a $1.2 million purchase of a 6,200-square-foot property at 24519 Spruce Street in downtown Newhall.

The property is currently occupied by White Light Chiropractic, which will become the city's tenant until construction moves ahead on construction of a new library on the block. The 16,000 to 30,000-square-foot library is part of the city's efforts to revitalize the aging downtown Newhall area.


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