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Wednesday, Jun 7, 2023

Newhall Ranch Enters Another Phase in Project

The 15-year process to receive approval on what will be one of the largest planned communities in Los Angeles County is about to clear another hurdle. Officials for Newhall Land and Farming Co. next month will submit environmental documents to the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission for Landmark Village, a 1,444-residential unit mixed-use project just west of Santa Clarita. Plans call for 308 single-family units and 1,136 multi-family units arranged on a torpedo-shaped plot hugging the Santa Clarita River and Highway 126, just west of Golden State (5) Freeway. The project would also feature a town square housing more than 1 million square feet of businesses over retail, offices and meeting spaces, according to documents submitted to the county. The development will also include a fire station, nine-acre elementary school, 16-acre park and river walk. It is the first in the latest phase of projects by Newhall Land on portions of the vast land holdings the company has held since the 1870s. In the 1960s, the company used portions to develop the Valencia planned community. The company started planning the Newhall Ranch project in the early 1990s on about 12,000 acres it owned from the intersection of the 5 and 126 west towards the Ventura County line and south behind the Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park. The company drew up plans for four villages Landmark, Mission, Homestead and Potrero with a total of 21,000 residential units and shops, office space and parks on the site built over 25 years. The county in 2003 approved a specific site plan for the four villages. Marlee Lauffer, a senior vice president with Newhall Land, said the next phase is for the county to endorse the specific village proposals, starting with Landmark, the smallest of the villages. “Each village is moving through their own approval process to ensure they’re consistent with the specific plan,” she said. The developer has compiled an environmental impact report, which lists the possible affects of the project on the area, and is preparing for a public hearing in front of the commission scheduled for Jan. 31. The county Board of Supervisors must also vote on the proposal, clearing the way for construction to start. “We’re hoping that a groundbreaking could happen in 2008 and homes became available by 2009,” Lauffer said. That timeline worries some in the community around the proposed project, which is today largely undeveloped land. One major opponent has been the Friends of the Santa Clara River, which sued Newhall Ranch during the completion of the master plan alleging the project will hurt the river. Ron Bottorff, the organization’s chair, said the group plans to take an active role in the Landmark approval process as well. He said the group is concerned the project will hurt the plant and animal life downstream or the river will be banked with concrete.

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