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North Newhall Plan on Ice

Posted: February 14, 2008 2:10 p.m.
Updated: April 16, 2008 5:00 a.m.
While the plans for the revitalization of downtown Newhall continue to move ahead, the city's plans to spruce up the northern portion of Newhall are on hold for a year, a city planner said Wednesday.

The city will hold off on drawing up the land-use designations for the North Newhall Specific Plan while planners iron out the details of a key intersection on which everything else in the plan is dependent.
As part of a 20 to 25-year-plan, the city is planning a commercial and residential community on 200 acres at the mouth of Placerita Canyon bordered by Newhall Creek to the west, Circle J Ranch to the north, Placerita Canyon to the east and Market Street to the south.
City planners agreed to take another look at the land-use plans last year when area residents voiced their concerns about high density and traffic. Details of the plans, however, are contingent on the new roads planned for the site, which include extending Dockweiler Road to meet up with Lyons Avenue at the point where Lyons currently dead-ends at Railroad Avenue (formerly San Fernando Road).
Obtaining state approval for the intersection, particularly from the Public Utilities Commission, may be difficult, according to City Associate Planner Jason Smisko, the project manager.
To gain state approval, the city plans to spend the next six months producing an environmental impact report detailing traffic circulation in the area, which requires a "full-blown traffic study as to projected volumes in all directions," Smisko said.
"That's where I need to put my resources right now," he said. "When the Public Utilities Commission does its determination, I can then begin the land planning."
The city also would need to construct a bridge over Newhall Creek and therefore needs to study the hydrology of the creek, making sure water will be able to flow through the creek without affecting the roadway.
If the city is not able to get the necessary approval, Smisko said he will take another look at land planning alternatives.


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