On a 5-0 vote, the Santa Clarita Planning Commission decided to allow the replacement of the old U.S. Borax building’s parking structure with a bigger one – and the removal of two small “volunteer” oak trees – to make way for a Kaiser Permanente medical center.
The commission approved the action after hearing from project officials and community members, some for and some against aspects of the plan.
“The project will bring 200 specialty medical positions to the Santa Clarita Valley, which is a tremendous asset for us,” said Holly Schroeder, CEO of the Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp.
Community members had sent in 47 letters, four of which were in support and 43 in opposition to the proposed project. Opponents cited concerns about noise, parking structure height, hours of operation and construction hours, according to the staff report.
“My neighbors and I feel this community has kept its promise to be built as planned. This commission and the City Council have done a very good job of balancing our economic growth with responsible development, which has created jobs while still maintaining our good quality of life. This Kaiser threatens that, I believe,” said James McLafferty, a resident of the Woodlands community who said lives about 500 feet from the project.
The action originally went to the commission in January and was continued to allow time for consultation with the Fernando-Tataviam Band of Mission Indians. On Feb. 2 the city received a transmittal from the tribe stating it concluded the project did not require Native American monitoring or inspections, according to the staff report.
The Planning Commission made final approval for the project, said Jason Crawford, marketing and economic development manager at city of Santa Clarita. However, the project is now in an appeal period.