This is a press release from Center for Biological Diversity, one of the losing appellants.
LOS ANGELES — The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors gave the green light Tuesday to a sprawling housing development set to ruin 1,000 acres of critically important habitat for imperiled animals in a wildfire-prone area of Santa Clarita Valley.
By denying the Center for Biological Diversity’s administrative appeal, the county opened the door to litigation to challenge the “Northlake” development that will bring 10,000 new residents to an isolated area far from existing communities and jobs.
“The supervisors ignored their responsibility to protect communities and wildlife and support smart planning in Los Angeles County,” said Ross Middlemiss, a legal fellow at the Center. “Bulldozing creeks, evicting animals and creating more traffic congestion just aren’t the answer to California’s housing challenges.”
The Northlake development would fill in more than three miles of Grasshopper Creek, destroying crucial riparian habitat for imperiled species including burrowing owls, western spadefoot toads, southwestern willow flycatchers and least Bell’s vireos. Adjacent to the Castaic Lake Recreation Area, the development includes 3,000 new homes but provides few employment opportunities, meaning it will cause long commutes and worsen air pollution.
The encroachment on the county’s limited open space also threatens corridors for bears, mountain lions and other wildlife between the Angeles and Los Padres national forests.
“The county rubber-stamped this destructive project, refusing to genuinely consider a less harmful alternative,” Middlemiss said. “L.A. County has no business allowing new communities in isolated, undeveloped open space that would expose new residents to a high risk of wildfire.”
The Center has raised concerns and submitted comments throughout the Northlake environmental-review process. The administrative hearing Tuesday was a result of appeal filed by the Center challenging an April 2018 Planning Commission decision approving the development.
The Santa Monica Mountains Conservancy also filed an administrative appeal against the development.
The Center for Biological Diversity is a national, nonprofit conservation organization with more than 1.6 million members and online activists dedicated to the protection of endangered species and wild places.