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SCVNews.com | County’s OVOV Plan Up for Commission Approval | 09-21-2011
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The dream of “One Valley, One Vision” could soon become reality.

The Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission is scheduled Wednesday, Sept. 28, to consider approving its version of the “OVOV” Santa Clarita Valley General Plan.

Years in the making, the OVOV plan would formally coordinate future development in the Santa Clarita Valley on both sides of the city-county border for the first time since the formation of the city of Santa Clarita in 1987.

The Santa Clarita City Council approved its version of the OVOV plan June 14. If the county planning commissioners OK the county version next Wednesday, it will go to the Board of Supervisors for final consideration and adoption.

“It has been a pleasure working with the city on this important effort,” county Regional Planning Supervisor Mitch Glaser said Wednesday. “The county’s updated Area Plan (OVOV) not only reflects our collaboration with the city, but also the input of our unincorporated residents, town councils, environmental groups and other stakeholders.”

“I look forward to bringing the updated Area Plan to our Board of Supervisors early next year,” said Glaser, who led the OVOV process for the county.

The city and county versions of the plan are essentially the same on major issues such as land use, traffic circulation, conservation and open space, safety and noise.

“That’s why it’s called One Valley One Vision,” said Jason Smisko, the senior Santa Clarita planner who spearheaded the city’s version.

“City and county project teams rigorously worked together to create similar long-range planning tools,” he said.

One difference is that the county plan lacks the “housing element” that is in the city plan – but that’s not a problem because housing needs are addressed in other county planning documents, Smisko said.

Smisko said the county version “reduces densities in the outlying areas” such as Castaic, Saugus and Agua Dulce to the city’s satisfaction. He said the city is happy with the county version in all other ways, as well, adding that he will be available at the county hearing to testify in favor of it if necessary.

“It’s a very effective document,” he said. “It represents forward planning for a sustainable valley-wide population by the county in partnership with the city.”

It won’t be the first time the county commissioners have seen the plan. Critics caused it to be reworked in 2009 and again in 2010. Attorney General Kamala Harris claimed it didn’t go far enough to satisfy new climate change rules, the Castaic Lake Water Agency questioned the availability of  water for future growth outside of the agency’s current boundaries, and property owners in Castaic challenged certain proposed land-use designations.

Glaser and his staff retooled the documents and released them for public scrutiny Sept. 15 on the Internet here – http://planning.lacounty.gov/ovov – and at the county libraries in Castaic and Acton-Agua Dulce.

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