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Friday, Jan 27, 2023
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Where the Wild Ones Will Roam

It’s not every day that a businessman donates investment property for public use but that’s just what happened recently in the Santa Clarita Valley. Bob Stevenson, 68, and his wife Wendy gave the city two adjoining 4.9-acre lots in Sand Canyon that could have been home sites but now will be kept in their natural state. Stevenson bought one of the lots 25 years ago and the other last decade figuring he could later sell them for development – that was until the outdoor enthusiast in him took over. “It preserves the country feel that we have out here. They are two of the most beautiful view lots in Sand Canyon,” said Stevenson, who is an avid mountain biker. Stevenson is an engineer by trade who holds more than 100 patents in the medical device field and owns Stevenson BioMedical Consulting Inc. in Santa Clarita. He lives in Sand Canyon and has been in the valley since 1975. The latest donation marks Stevenson’s second. The first came in 2007 when he gave 16 acres to the non-profit Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy. The conservancy property was on the east side of Sand Canyon while the latest donation is on the west side with an access point at the end of the Diver Road cul-de-sac. It is also near Golden Valley Ranch, a 900-acre tract of open space crisscrossed by trails. “We wanted to keep it from development and keep the ridge-line open,” Wendy Stevenson said. Open space is a serious issue in Santa Clarita, which is flanked on its southeast border in the Sand Canyon area by the San Gabriel Mountains. In July 2007, property owners in Santa Clarita voted in the Open Space Preservation District, which assesses local property owners to buy open space and protect it from development. The Stevensons first approached the city about the donation nearly a year ago and it wasn’t officially recorded until Dec. 23. “It was a thoughtful process for them,” said Barbara Blankenship, the city’s land acquisition specialist. She added the city may build trails on them that will connect to the existing Golden Valley Ranch network – a prospect that excites the Stevensons. “We look forward to being able to ride up this particular piece of land,” said Wendy Stevenson, also a mountain biking enthusiast. Local real estate broker Ryan House, vice president at the Valencia office of Jones Lang LaSalle, said it’s hard to assign a monetary value to the donation since the lots were unentitled. “A very generous gesture without question, but difficult to assign a value to,” he commented. – Rosie Downey

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