The Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment and Friends of the Santa Clara River filed a complaint in Los Angeles Superior Court Thursday regarding the approved plan to provide water to the Newhall Ranch development set to break ground in 2018.
The local environmental organizations released the following joint statement Friday:
While a majority of County Supervisors seemed convinced that putting electric car plugs in new housing and solar stoves in Africa will solve California’s greenhouse problems, we are not.
While the [Newhall Ranch] developer claims that making 10 percent of these units “affordable” in this remote urban sprawl area of Northern Los Angeles County will somehow solve the affordable housing problem in Los Angeles, we say housing with little or no viable public transportation in outlying areas will not solve the problem. More auto oriented sprawl only makes air pollution and traffic worse. Not to mention siting housing and school immediately adjacent to a recently expanded mega dump.
But that is not the only issue surrounding the approval of these two tracts that will build over prime farmland and straightjacket Los Angeles County’s last free-flowing river, the Santa Clara.
It’s not just the loss of groundwater recharge areas buried under seven million cubic yards of fill in the flood plain and wetlands, the loss of magnificent thriving natural habitat that serves as home to several threatened and endangered species.
It’s the water supply.
After six years of drought that caused the Santa Clara River alluvium to drop as much as 80 feet and caused several wells to go dry, the need to re-evaluate water supply was obvious. But the County refused to look at this new information.
But that’s not all. Recently disclosed documents seem to show that the water agency made sweetheart deals with Valencia Water Co.(formerly owned by the developer) and Newhall/Lennar/FivePoint, promising to always say that there will be an adequate supply for their properties in preference to other users in the region. These documents call into question the veracity of the water reporting for the Newhall projects.
It’s in our communities’ best interest that we ask the Court to take a closer look.