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Developer re-evaluating Avenue plans

• New proposal could come within 60 days

Posted: May 29, 2008 12:42 a.m.
Updated: July 30, 2008 5:04 a.m.

Developer Monteverde Companies will spend the next 60 to 90 days redrawing plans for a large residential and commercial center on the former Smiser Ranch site to address mounting concerns among Newhall residents.

Jay and Joyce Rodgers of Monteverde Companies submitted a letter to city officials Tuesday requesting The Avenue at Santa Clarita be officially placed in suspension.

Project consultant Jeff Lambert said Wednesday the developer is "totally re-evaluating the project."

Residents have cited concerns about potential traffic and environmental effects and with two 12-story buildings proposed, some said the development is simply too urban for their quiet community.

"We hope that the effort of formalizing the suspension of the project will help us rebuild some level of relationship with our surrounding community members so that we can regroup with them in the next few weeks and start talking about what kind of project would work on this site," he said. "It's clear we need to develop a plan with (the residents)."

In total, the plans include 800 residences, 770,000 square-feet of office space, and a 300-room hotel. The 37-acre site is bordered by Interstate 5, Wiley Canyon Road and Calgrove Boulevard.

Possible changes could include reducing the height of the planned 12-story buildings, Lambert said.

The developer submitted plans in November, but had not yet gone before the Planning Commission or City Council for consideration. Scoping meetings in preparation for the environmental impact report were expected to take place in the coming months.

"The Avenue, as colorful as it is, would have been like a moth in beautiful wool suit, eventually eating away at the quaint uniqueness and quiet family atmosphere in our little town of Newhall," said Sterling King, who lives within a block of the proposed project. "Though it was good news, we really plan to be just as involved as ever to make sure it is something that will complement our neighborhood."


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