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2,420 homes planned for SCV

• Development proposed for eastern Canyon Country

Posted: June 20, 2008 2:51 a.m.
Updated: August 21, 2008 5:03 a.m.


Despite a near-record number of foreclosures in Santa Clarita Valley, residents of Canyon Country are now bracing themselves for more than 2,420 new homes expected to arrive with a handful of newly-approved housing developments.

And, if you count the developments that are pending - and many Canyon Country residents are - the population of Canyon Country will mushroom to include more than 3,800 new residents in the next few years.

A hot and humid room across the hall from the swimming pools at the George A. Caravalho Aquatic Center was packed Wednesday night with Canyon Country homeowners eager to learn who will be moving into their neighborhood.

Some fanned themselves, others sat perched on counter tops at the side of the room, and some stood the entire time, all listening to Susan Tae of the Los Angeles County planning department Land Divisions Section explain the complicated process by which developers turn sand and sagebrush into Santa Clarita suburbs.

For many attending the Canyon Country Advisory Committee meeting, details about the development - both proposed and approved - were clearly laid out in overhead slides that showed different shaded boxes arranged around the eastern edge of Canyon Country.

What wasn't so clear for many was how 3,800 extra residents were expected to fit onto Highway 14, the community's only main inter-city thoroughfare.

"With One Valley, One Vision, we're trying to change the pattern of development," said Paul Brotzman, director of community development for the city of Santa Clarita, who fielded many of the queries about traffic congestion.

Brotzman explained to the group that projected "fairly sophisticated" traffic models planned jointly years ago by the city and Newhall Land and Farming Co. that divided Santa Clarita into 450 traffic zones.

"The model looks at every possible development," he said. "And the model takes into account the flow of where people are trying to go."

Developers required by the county to include traffic implications in their Environmental Impact Reports - most often those building 500-home projects or more - assess their own impacts.

Brotzman assured residents that he and his department try to look at the big picture, putting the implications of all the developments into a more comprehensive plan.

"The projects that were approved, were approved in the context of older planning.

"We're trying to limit the sprawl and create more of a village environment," he said, stressing the city's to commitment to preserving open space.

Projects already approved include:

• Spring Canyon - 499 single lots on 551 acres, with 385 acres of open space which includes two parks and three open space lots. Plans also include land set aside for a Sheriff's station and a fire station.

• Tick Canyon - which the developer referred to as Park Place, includes 492 single family lots on 500.6 acres, with 271 acres of open space and one large 16-acre multi-purpose.

• Sierra Way - 75 single family lots on 246 acres with 172 acres of open space.

• Meadstone - 63 single family lots on 80 acres with 56 acres of open space.

• Shapell Plum Canyon - originally approved for 1,300 single family lots including 1,200 condos, now calls for 1,298 single family lots and 1,202 condos on 603 acres of land, with allotment made for a school site and a fire station.

It was Brotzman who pointed out that city officials are seeing more and more foreclosures on houses, specifically: 12 in 2006; 49 in 2007 and 35 before May this year.


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