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UPDATED: Council OKs college plan

Master’s ready for 10-year expansion project

Posted: January 13, 2009 9:14 p.m.
Updated: January 14, 2009 10:42 a.m.

The Santa Clarita City Council voted unanimously Tuesday to approve The Master's College's 10-year master plan, giving the school a green light save one formality.

The plan will come before the council for a second reading Feb. 10.

The master plan was completed and submitted to the city for review in December 2004, associate city planner James Chow said during a review of the plan Tuesday.

The plan is comprised of four components: The approval of the 10-year plan itself; development and buildout of Dockweiler and Deputy Jake drives; development of 42 single-family units and dedication to the city of 20 acres of open space including Creekview Park, which the city has leased from the college for the past decade.

The plans also include a 55,000-square-foot chapel, two classroom buildings that total 60,000 square feet each, a new 120-bed dormitory and upgrades to existing buildings on the campus.

Located in Placerita Canyon, the private Christian liberal arts college presently has an enrollment of 1,105 students, with more than 300 staff members.

Under the master plan, the school's population would be capped at 1,700 - an increase of about 600 more than what it is now, Chow said.

The plan would be fleshed out in three phases, he said. Phase one would focus on the roughly half-mile extension of Dockweiler Drive as a four-lane road into downtown Newhall, and the extension of Deputy Jake Drive to Dockweiler. Additionally, up to 114 oak trees would need to be removed. No heritage oaks are slated for removal.

The street extensions would create new entry and exit points for both college and the canyon at large, with gate-controlled access where Dockweiler enters downtown Newhall, said Dennis Hardgrave, lead planner with Armstrong Real Estate Advisors.

Phase two would focus on the construction of the chapel and a variety of landscaping.

The third phase would involve all remaining projects, Chow said.

He said prior to each construction project, the college would be required to submit a development review application to the city, to ensure it is in line with the master plan.

Overall, the plan calls for the grading of 1.2 million cubic yards or earth - about 49 acres' worth - and the removal of about $860,000 worth of trees.

One of the biggest hurdles the school overcame was winning the approval of the Placerita Canyon Property Owners Association.

"You have just witnessed a miracle," association member Val Thomas told the council. "The PCPOA is here speaking on behalf of the college plan. I'm delighted to hear they have addressed the concerns of (people living along Dockweiler). ... It's got to work for the majority of the people."

The college will be responsible for the street improvements, Chow said. They have also pledged a donation of $150,000 to the city for the future construction of a pedestrian and equestrian bridge connecting Placerita Canyon with downtown Newhall.


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