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County kills small projects

Dirth of large developments allows planners to look at smaller activity

Posted: November 16, 2010 8:23 p.m.
Updated: November 17, 2010 4:30 a.m.

Regional planners pulled the plug Tuesday on permits to build close to a dozen houses on at least 10 lots across Santa Clarita and Antelope valleys.

The recent lull in local large-scale land development is allowing planners an opportunity to revisit smaller cold-case projects that have been sitting on the county shelf gathering dust, said Ramon Cordova, with the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning.

“Many of the larger projects have kind of fallen by the wayside, and so we now have a lull in our activity,” he said Tuesday. “This allows us to go back and look at older projects that have been sitting on the shelf.”

At a public hearing in the Hall of Records on Temple Street in Los Angeles Tuesday morning, 10 projects that promised to build close to two dozen houses total across county District 5 were tossed out.

“All the projects were denied due to inactivity,” Cordova said.

Permit applicants will have until Nov. 29 to appeal the decision that was rendered without any public debate, he added.

A nationwide slow-down in the housing market has stalled several larger already-approved local projects that typically call for 400 to 500 homes to be built.

The subsequent drop in the county workload has allowed planners like Cordova a chance to dust off the smaller projects and clean house.

Some of Tuesday’s applicants have been seeking county permission to build in Santa Clarita Valley and still want to put multiple units on relatively small land lots, including projects in Sand Canyon and one in Castaic on Romero Canyon Road — now discussed as the possible address of the proposed Castaic high school.

“These are what we call ‘mom-and-pop’ projects,” Cordova said, describing permit requests from individuals to build multidwelling housing units on relatively small lots of land.

But, for one reason or another, the applicants haven’t acted on their proposals.

“A lot of times these smaller developers have hired a surveyor to prepare the appropriate map and have participated in county subdivision talks, which includes representatives from: parks and recreation, public works, county fire, public health and regional planning.

“It’s usually at that point that they realize what’s really involved and often decide that its not economically feasible to go forward so they just forget about it,” Cordova said.

The individual building permits discussed Tuesday range in lot size, the smallest being a plan to build two houses on a third of an acre to as large as four houses built across 20 acres.

Two of the projects tossed out Tuesday called for three single-family units to be built on 3.7 acres on Camares Drive in Palmdale, and four single-family units to be built on 20 acres on the southwest corner of East Avenue and 161st Street East in Antelope Valley.


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