The California Supreme Court has agreed to review Mission Village, a 4,055-home phase of Newhall Land’s planned 21,000-home Newhall Ranch community west of Interstate 5.
The decision comes on the heels of the high court ruling last month that sent the entire Newhall Ranch project back to the drawing board for new greenhouse gas estimates and river encroachment permits.
A separate, ancillary lawsuit challenging the Mission Village phase was already in the pipeline and had been going in the developer’s favor when the high court went the other direction in the main case.
Located south of State Route 126, the Mission Village phase would include a mix of residential, commercial, and non-residential uses, including 4,055 residential homes, 1.56 million square feet of mixed-use commercial space, an elementary school, a fire station, a public library, a bus transfer station, parks with a variety of sports fields and playgrounds, open space, natural habitat preserves and trails.
The county Board of Supervisors approved Mission Village in October 2011; it was subsequently litigated by several environmental groups including Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment. The groups lost at the lower court level, and the appeals court upheld the lower court ruling in September.
Now the state Supreme Court has agreed to look at Mission Village primarily for water availability and conformity with the county’s Development Monitoring System.
A Newhall Land spokeswoman said the company had no comment at this time.
In its Nov. 30 ruling, the Supreme Court held that the entire Newhall Ranch project lacked sufficient evidence on greenhouse gas emissions and did not adequately protect the endangered unarmored threespine stickleback. It also ruled that the plaintiffs weren’t given ample time to review the project.
The addition of 21,000 housing units and other buildings through the Newhall Ranch project would add 269,053 tons per year of greenhouse gases to the atmosphere, according to the court.
“These decisions will help bring statewide attention to the fact that land use patterns as well as building and transportation efficiency must change if we are ever to get greenhouse gases under control,” SCOPE President Lynne Plambeck said of the November ruling. “Non-point source and point source pollution generated by inefficient urban sprawl are major sources of greenhouse gases. As the carbon dioxide levels continue to rise, projects like these should at least require substantial mitigation to reduce such impacts or no longer be an option.”
The ruling took into account not only the various Newhall Ranch phases but also all past approvals, current development projects and probable future projects to determine the full impact the Newhall Ranch development could have on the environment.