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Las Lomas czar resigns

Palmer shifts his focus to other SCV projects

Posted: December 12, 2008 10:14 p.m.
Updated: December 13, 2008 4:55 a.m.

The man who tried to reshape the Santa Clarita Valley by building 5,500 homes into the hillside border with the San Fernando Valley now has other plans to develop local land.

Developer Dan Palmer, who on Thursday stepped down as president of the Las Lomas Land Company LLC, has set his sights deeper inside the SCV with plans to develop in and around Hasley Canyon.

Palmer has an option to buy more than 134 acres of land from the Del Valle Land Co. LLC, land that was one of the original sites considered for a high school in Castaic.

Richard Patterson, president of the Santa Clarita Valley Facilities Foundation - which buys land for the William S. Hart Union High School District - said discussions were well under way seven years ago to build on the site.

"The foundation and the district in about 2000-2001 considered the property as a potential site for the Hart district and for the Castaic high school," Patterson said Friday.

"We actually did a plan for the high school there. It's a beautiful piece of land."

In addition to having an option to buy the 134 acres on the south side of Hasley Canyon Road, Palmer Investments owns about 430 acres on the north side of the same roadway, future home of the luxury Los Valles housing development and its Hasley Golf Course.

More than 200 luxury homes and 14 recreational lots were approved by the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning in April 2007, including a water well and water tower, seven storm drain lots and one golf course.

The golf course is the much-touted fixture that will anchor the planned community. Famed golfer Arnold Palmer designed the course. He is not related to Dan Palmer.

The Facilities Foundation expects to build 58 homes on about 70 acres it owns west of the golf course.
Less than a mile from the foundation's land and just down the road to the south is the newly-announced location of a Castaic high school on land owned by Sterling Gateway.

Its neighbor immediately to the east - the Del Valle Land Co. LLC - has plans to build 109 single-family units on its 134 acres.

On Thursday, Las Lomas issued a news release announcing Palmer had resigned as president of Las Lomas Land Company LLC.

Las Lomas still intends to develop the region's first smart-growth community at the northern edge of the San Fernando Valley and the southern gateway to the Santa Clarita Valley as an antidote to urban sprawl, with jobs, schools, parks, museums, shops, restaurants and community activities all within walking distance of each other, according to the release.

The Las Lomas project would create 9,000 direct jobs, 22,000 indirect jobs, more than 1,300 construction jobs and more than $1.3 billion in annual wages, according to Las Lomas spokesman Edward Park.

On March 19, the Los Angeles City Council voted 10-5 to stop any further work on the Las Lomas project.

"We're going to look at all our options," a disappointed Dan Palmer told reporters at the time of the council decision. "We believe Las Lomas is a fine project and we remain committed."

Phone messages left for Palmer were not returned Friday.


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