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City Council approves Placerita Canyon split

Placerita Canyon project opposed by neighbors

Posted: December 12, 2012 2:00 a.m.
Updated: December 12, 2012 2:00 a.m.

Santa Clarita City Council members voted unanimously Tuesday to give final approval to a controversial development project in Placerita Canyon.

The plan calls for a 2.01-acre lot to be split so a second home can be built where a barn now stands.

The Santa Clarita Planning Commission denied the lot split, but on Nov. 27 the City Council voted unanimously to overturn that decision. The council directed staff to write a resolution formalizing its decision.

Council members voted 4-0 to approve that resolution Tuesday. Councilman Frank Ferry was absent from the meeting.

Curtis Hairell originally made the application to build his dream house on the second lot. He committed suicide in September, shortly after the commission’s denial.

Michael Hairell, his father, appealed the decision to the full council, saying he would pursue the project as a tribute to his son.

Reached by phone Tuesday, Michael Hairell said he is pleased the City Council has decided to approve the project after all, but he is unsure of the time frame for construction.

Hairell also said he did not know why there was such stiff opposition to the project from neighbors.

“It’s not like we’re putting up condos back there,” Hairell said.

Several Placerita Canyon residents, among them Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Ann I. Jones, have spoken against the project, saying it violates the rural and equestrian environment in the area.

Jones’ role in opposing the project has since caused controversy because she is presiding judge in environmental lawsuits concerning the Newhall Ranch residential development project.

Hairell has alleged the original Planning Commission decision was made in part because Jones exerted undue influence during the process.

Newhall Land is attempting to bar Jones from ruling on cases involving Newhall Ranch, citing conflict of interest concerns stemming from her opposition to the project.

Val Thomas, a resident of Placerita Canyon, asked the city to require a study on the effects the project would have on water flow in the area before approving the project.

City staff members, including City Manager Ken Striplin, said those types of studies are always done for development projects of this type, and any increase in water flow off a property as a result of new development must be offset by the property owner on site.



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