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Boydston says city should control growth

Former city councilman challenges need for projected high-density developments

Posted: February 21, 2009 12:21 a.m.
Updated: February 21, 2009 1:00 p.m.

Former city councilman TimBen Boydston wants some straight answers from city planners about the population of Santa Clarita Valley, which is projected to double in 25 years.

"I don't want to be another San Fernando Valley, but that's where we're going," said Boydston of the sprawling area south of the Newhall Pass.
Boydston contends he's been unable to get straight answers about development in the Santa Clarita Valley.

On Friday, he threw down the gauntlet challenging Paul Brotzman, the city of Santa Clarita's director of community development.

"Since the people made it clear they do not want the kind of density the city has projected, why is the city insisting on planning that would make this density happen?" Boydston asked.

He called for a taped interview of Brotzman conducted by a member of the media.

"I'm happy to answer the questions," Brotzman said.

His only condition is that he be given the questions in advance since some of the questions might be "highly technical."

If questions are not answered, then Boydston said he would start a referendum.

"If the city polls an area like Calgrove about a proposed development, and they (residents) oppose it, and if the city then reacts to that, to work with the people for a solution, then there shouldn't be a need for a referendum," he said.

The whole idea of a development-killing referendum emerged Thursday at a meeting celebrating the 21st anniversary of the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment (SCOPE) at which Boydston was the guest speaker.

He asked the group to consider whether the Santa Clarita Valley has enough room for 500,000 residents.

The overwhelming answer from the group was a resounding "No."

"This is a America," he told them. "You guys do get to say what happens here."

The "One Valley, One Vision" General Plan is a joint effort between Los Angeles County and the city of Santa Clarita to create a single vision and guidelines for the growth of the Santa Clarita Valley over the next 25 to 30 years.

While the plan was initiated in 2000, SCOPE members have worked tirelessly for more than two decades monitoring urban development and preserving resources.

"I am not anti-development," Boydston told the group of about three dozen, calling himself an advocate for "low density, high quality, lots of open space."

He called any housing project that embraces those values "a good project."

When new-home plans have an adverse impact on the community, however, it's the responsibility of the community to stand up to oppose them.

"If you don't want the toxic waste dump or you don't want the house of prostitution - whatever it is that you don't want - you get to say something about it," he said. "That's part of your rights."

One woman proposed a "no more development" ballot initiative. Someone else suggested a referendum to cap population at 326,000.

The Santa Clarita Valley's population is estimated to be 260,000.


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