Las Lomas Open Space | Photo: Wendy Langhans
A hotly contested piece of land that was once slated for dense development will now be preserved as open space with a 5-0 vote from Santa Clarita City Council at their meeting Tuesday night.
The move approves $2.8 million from the city’s Open Space Preservation District Fund for the purchase of approximately 302 acres in the Newhall Pass/Interstate 5 corridor area.
Las Lomas, a community proposed by developer Dan Palmer, would have added 5,500 homes, 2 million square feet of commercial space, and a 300-room hotel in the Newhall Pass where the 5 and 14 freeways converge.
The council’s concerns stemmed from the fact that the Las Lomas development would have exceeded Los Angeles County’s and Santa Clarita’s adopted density for the site by more than 1,000 percent.
The development was prevented when the California Supreme Court denied their final appeal in December 2009.
“We were successful in stopping that,” said Mayor Bob Kellar. “Now we’ve actually, thanks to the Open Space Preservation District, been able to acquire that property.”
Map from a “Stop Las Lomas” website in 2007.
The Open Space Preservation District allows for the city to purchase county-owned land within three miles of the city’s border.
Kellar said that the location of the property is “ideal in keeping with our green belt around the city of Santa Clarita.”
The city plans to establish trails and trailheads in the open space, in addition to preserving the natural wildlife habitat.
“When we pick up property such as this, we almost always try to make it accessible to our citizens,” Kellar said.
Kellar also praised the citizens efforts in fighting the original Las Lomas development plan, which he said was “for lack of better terms, over the top.”
“This (open space) is a huge plus, not only for the citizens of Santa Clarita but the entire Santa Clarita Valley, so we could not be more pleased with this acquisition,” Kellar said. “I dare say this is the best one out of all of the ones that have been made through the Open Space Preservation District thus far, and I hope everybody in Santa Clarita is as thrilled as we are on the City Council and at City Hall.”