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Housing project put on hold

Plan in Canyon Country postponed indefinitely

Posted: October 9, 2008 9:21 p.m.
Updated: December 11, 2008 5:00 a.m.
Canyon Country residents expecting a school, a fire station and sheriff’s sub-station — along with close to 500 new homes — in the proposed Spring Canyon development are going to have to wait.

Spring Canyon developer Pardee Homes won a year-long extension this week for its permit to build 499 homes on the north side of Highway 14 and Soledad Canyon Road between Shadow Pines Boulevard and Agua Dulce Canyon Road.

No date has been set for shovels to actually go into the ground, according to a Pardee spokesman.
“I wish I had a crystal ball,” said Jim Bizzelle, vice president of community development for Pardee Homes. “We’re still moving ahead processing plans for Spring Canyon.”

On Tuesday, at a Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning hearing, Pardee requested a time extension for its planned community.

It was the third renewal request made by the Los Angeles-based developer.

“We’re protecting our entitlements,” Bizzelle said.

Ramon Cordova of the county Department of Regional Planning is overseeing the Spring Canyon project.
“They didn’t give us a reason for the delay,” he said.

In May 2007, Pardee obtained entitlement to develop more than 550 acres of land at the eastern edge of Santa Clarita.

Plans for a school, fire station, sheriff’s sub-station and water tank were all part of the deal.

“That was part of the entitlement,” Cordova said. “If they’re given x amount of lots then they do have to build things such as a school and sheriff’s sub-station.”

The developer can file for an extension on its entitlement every year for up to five years.
The Spring Canyon project was delayed initially when an environmental group questioned the availability of water for the planned community.

A court has since ruled in favor of the Castaic Lake Water Agency, which determined there was sufficient water to meet the demands.

Nevertheless, some citizens still challenge Pardee.

“Maintaining the quality of life is part of our mandate,” said Cam Noltemeyer, a member of Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment, or SCOPE. “What we want is for all the infrastructure to be in place when it comes to development.”

Spring Canyon sits under the chin of a project of similar size calling for just as many homes to be built in Tick Canyon.

The two projects — both approved in spring 2007 — are expected to bring about 1,000 homes to the area, each with its own water tank to serve its respective residents.

As a block of new development, the two projects bookend the eastern edge of the Santa Clarita Valley.


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