After Sun Cal Companies officials proposed the building of more than three dozen homes along San Francisquito Canyon Road more than 10 years ago, Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors sent the project back to planning officials Tuesday.
Officials at Sun Cal Companies have been planning to turn about 185.8 acres of undeveloped land between Lowridge Place and Cherokee Canyon Lane into 47 lots, including 37 single-family homes, six open space lots and four public facility lots for several years.
“It got sent back to the Department of Regional Planning because of the Will Serve from the local water provider since it has been such a long time since (the project) was heard by the board,” said Edel Vizcarra, planning and public works deputy for Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael Antonovich. “They wanted to make sure they crossed their t’s and dotted their i’s.”
While Sun Cal officials do not have a set date, they are expected to meet with Castaic Lake Water Agency officials before they can continue any advancements with the project, Vizcarra said.
“This is a residential development that was approved a few years ago, and it is planned to consist of 45 single-family lots and open space,” said Sun Cal Media Relations Officer Joe Aguirre. “In actuality, the item on the LA County Supervisors agenda earlier this week was withdrawn, as there is an additional clearance to be obtained before continuing the process. Since the item was pulled, there was no consideration or discussion by the board, and of course no action was taken.”
Background of the San Francisquito Canyon Road Sun Cal Project
In June 2000, before the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission’s public hearing on the project, an initial study was prepared for the project in compliance with the California Environmental Quality Act, according to the Board of Supervisors’ agenda item. Based on the study, an environmental impact report was determined to be the appropriate environmental document for the project.
As of November 2005, Sun Cal Companies proposed to create 60 single-family lots, three open space lots, and three public facility lots on the site, according to the agenda item. The single-family lots ranged in size from approximately 8,200 to 37,336 square feet, with the three open space lots comprising approximately 80 percent, 148 acres, of the site.
A public hearing for the project was held on March 29, 2006 and was continued to May 10, 2006, according to the agenda item. Members of the community raised concerns that the project was not consistent with the equestrian and rural uses in the surrounding area. Los Angeles County Regional Planning staff then began to work with Sun Cal to redesign the project to better accommodate equestrian and rural uses in the community.
In May 2006, Sun Cal submitted revised maps to regional planning officials depicting a total of 63 lots, consisting of 56 single-family lots, three open space lots, and four public facility lots, according to the agenda item. The 56 single-family lots were larger than previously proposed, ranging in size from a minimum of 15,000 square feet to approximately two acres. In the revised plan, the three open space lots comprised approximately 72 percent, 134 acres of the site.
At the May 10 meeting, planning staff reported that while the proposed redesign was more consistent with an equestrian and rural community, some proposed changes, including expanding lot lines and locating three homes along San Francisquito Canyon Road, were more harmful to the habitat on the site, according to the agenda item.
In June 2006, Sun Cal again submitted revised maps to regional planning staff which included a total of 52 lots, consisting of 45 single-family lots, three open space lots, and four public facility lots, according to the agenda item. The 45 single-family lots ranged in size from a minimum of 15,060 square feet to approximately 1.37 acres.
On Aug. 16, 2006, Sun Cal official presented another redesigned project to which members of the public opposed, according to the agenda item. After the hearing, the commission closed indicated its intent to approve the Vesting Map, Conditional Use Permit and Highway Realignment Case. The revised project was cleared by Los Angeles County Subdivision Committee and County Significant Ecological Area Technical Advisory Committee officials.
On Dec. 13, 2006, commission officials considered the project and certified the Final Environmental Impact Report for the project including short-term air quality impacts from project construction, adopted environmental findings and approved the Vesting Map, CUP and Highway Realignment Case.
The project was then appealed to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
Another public hearing was held on March 27, 2007. regional planning staff, Sun Cal officials and members of the public, both in favor of and against the project, all spoke at the event, according to the agenda item. The officials came to an agreement of 75 percent of the site to remain permanent open space.
A neighbor of the area, Ray Vizcarra, testified that the project would cut off access to, and landlock, his property, according to the agenda. The meeting was continued to June 26, 2007, where officials were to report back with a redesigned map and new conditions.
Four meetings, June 26, 2007, Sept. 5, 2007, Nov. 27, 2007 and Jan. 22, 2008, were continued by the board of supervisors.
A revised map now depicted 51 total lots, consisting of 41 single-family residential lots, six open space lots,and four public facility lots, according to the agenda item. The six open space lots comprised approximately 70 percent the property.
Sun Cal and regional planning staff worked with Ray Vizcarra to “resolve issues of access to his property,” according to the agenda item.
On Feb. 22, 2008, new information about the water supply for the project, “including a federal court decision regarding State Water Project pumping and the federal Endangered Species Act” was included in a technical memo for the site.
A public hearing was held on Feb. 26, 2008 where Sun Cal representatives, regional planning staff and members of the community near San Francisquito Canyon Road met. Sun Cal officials reported they had received more than 50 letters in favor of the project, according to the agenda. Neighbors of the property again testified for and against the project.
The Board of Supervisors certified the Final EIR for the project indicated their intent to approve the project, with another revised map, according to the agenda.
During the global housing crisis in 2008, Sun Cal officials put the project on hold because “the residential projects are based in demand” and because of the little demand for homes during the Great Recession, housing developers across the nation put projects on hold, said Aguirre.
In October 2012, Sun Cal officials submitted revised maps for the project with 47 lots, including 37 homes, six open space lots, and four public facility lots, according to the agenda. The revised project combined seven of the north residential lots for open space.