[Sign Up Now] to Receive Our FREE Daily SCVTV-SCVNews Digest by E-Mail

Inside
Weather
Santa Clarita CA
Mostly clear
Mostly clear
50°F
 
Calendar
Today in
S.C.V. History
January 25
1915 - Death of pre-Mentry oilman & San Francisquito vintner Ramon Perea [story]
Perea grave marker


The Tucson-based Center for Biological Diversity announced Thursday it and four other environmental organizations including Santa Clarita Organzation for Planning and the Environment have filed a lawsuit in Los Angeles County Superior Court in an attempt to block the eventual 20,880-home Newhall Ranch “mini city” west of Interstate 5.

SCOPE and the Center and other litigants including Friends of the Santa Clara River have previously sued the county at various stages of approval for the project, which is being developed by The Newhall Land and Farming Co.

Triggering the latest lawsuit was the Board of Supervisors’ Feb. 22 approval of the 1,444-home first phase of Newhall Ranch, called Landmark Village. Passed on a 3-0 vote of the board – Supervisors Gloria Molina and Zev Yaroslavsky abstained for unstated reasons – Landmark Village would span 263 acres and include 70 single-family homes, 1,105 multi-family units and 69 mixed-use units between Highway 126 on the north and Six Flags Magic Mountain on the southeast.

The new lawsuit should come as no suprise to the county or to the developer. Newhall Land spokeswoman Marlee Lauffer said in February the first Landmark Village homes could be built in 18 to 24 months, but that the time frame would depend chiefly on the status of active and threatened environmental lawsuits.

 

Thursday’s full press release from the Center for Biological Diversity follows:

 

Lawsuit Filed Against L.A. County Approval of Massive Newhall Ranch Project

A coalition of five public-interest groups today sued Los Angeles County in Superior Court over its approval of permits for the first phase of the sprawling Newhall Ranch development — one of the largest single residential development projects ever contemplated in California — which is proposed for 12,000 acres along the Santa Clara River in northwest L.A. County. Newhall Ranch would create a city of more than 60,000 on a six-mile stretch of the river that is currently rugged open space and farmland by channeling the county’s last mostly free-flowing river.

The construction approved by the county on Feb. 23 would require filling of the Santa Clara River’s floodplain on a large scale; channelizing over three miles of river and converting many tributary streams to concrete-lined channels; unearth and desecrate American Indian burial sites, sacred places and cultural natural resources such as the California condor; and threaten the San Fernando Valley spineflower — a species found in only one other location on the planet.

“It’s appalling that L.A. County would be so reckless with the last free-flowing river in the region,” said Ron Bottorff with the Friends of the Santa Clara River. “This area has lost all but 3 percent of its historic river woodlands; the county’s approval would replace some of the finest riparian areas remaining anywhere in Southern California with ugly strip malls and housing we don’t need.”

The Santa Clara River is one of two major Southern California rivers remaining in a relatively natural state. It flows for about 116 miles from its headwaters on the north slope of the San Gabriel Mountains near Acton to its confluence with the Pacific Ocean between Oxnard and Ventura; its watershed is home to a great diversity of very rare species, among them the unarmored threespine stickleback fish, California condor, least Bell’s vireo, southwestern willow flycatcher, California red-legged frog, arroyo toad, Southern California steelhead trout and San Fernando Valley spineflower. Wildlands of the Santa Clara River provides a full accounting of rare environmental resources of this precious landscape.

Said the Sierra Club’s Jennifer Robinson: “The Sierra Club has fought throughout the nation and internationally for floodplain and river protection. As part of this national focus, it is only fitting that the 50,000-member Angeles Chapter should continue its longstanding battle to protect Los Angeles County’s last free-flowing river, the Santa Clara River, with legal opposition to a project that will be built almost entirely in its floodplain.”

“Developing in a river floodplain is never a good idea,” said Ileene Anderson, biologist with the Center for Biological Diversity. “We should protect our precious water resources, not destroy them.”

The suit was filed in Los Angeles Superior Court under the California Environmental Quality Act, and will include additional “Map Act” and “Plan Consistency” issues. Brought by the Center for Biological Diversity, the Sierra Club, Friends of the Santa Clara River, Santa Clarita Organization for Planning the Environment (SCOPE), and Wishtoyo Foundation and its Ventura Coastkeeper program, the suit will ask the court to review the legality of the county’s approval process in order to protect this last remaining river resource area.

Los Angeles County approved an overall plan for the Newhall Ranch development in 2003. After promising groundbreaking for the project in 2000, approval of this first phase some 12 years later is the first authorization permitting construction. Plans have been slowed by the bankruptcy of LandSource Communities Development, the predecessor of Newhall Ranch’s current developer. CalPERS, California’s public pension fund, lost $970 million of state employees’ investment in Newhall Ranch with the LandSource bankruptcy. Now, with the infusion of cash and majority ownership by several out-of-state hedge funds, investors are again looking to move forward on this destructive and  questionable proposal.

“Before a single house has been built, Newhall Ranch has already cost California’s taxpayers and workforce, including the county’s own staff, nearly a billion dollars of lost pension funds,” said Lynne Plambeck, president of the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning the Environment. “Although the state will never recover any of the largest single loss ever suffered by CalPERS, and will spend millions more in public monies to build roads, bridges and other infrastructure to serve this project, the county has once again endorsed this same development that will threaten the region’s water supply, worsen air pollution and cause further gridlock on our highways.”

“The project will impart irreversible impacts to the ecological integrity and water quality of the Santa Clara River watershed and Ventura’s coastal waters, harming the wellbeing of watershed residents and visitors for years to come,” said Jason Weiner, associate director and staff attorney for the Wishtoyo Foundation’s Ventura Coastkeeper Program.

“The impacts to hundreds upon hundreds of our burial sites, and natural cultural resources such as the California condor that are such a vital component of our culture and religious practices, will be devastating and irreversible,” said Mati Waiya, a Chumash ceremonial elder and executive director of the Wishtoyo Foundation.

“The project information was substantially changed at the last minute just prior to the final hearing before the county supervisors,” said attorney Dean Wallraff. “The public and the decision-makers should have a document they can read through in a straightforward way to understand the environmental impacts of the project, and this isn’t it.”

Comment On This Story
COMMENT POLICY: We welcome comments from individuals and businesses. All comments are moderated. Comments are subject to rejection if they are vulgar, combative, or in poor taste.
REAL NAMES ONLY: All posters must use their real individual or business name. This applies equally to Twitter account holders who use a nickname.

No Comments

    Leave a Comment


    LOS ANGELES COUNTY HEADLINES
    Friday, Jan 24, 2020
    The next North Los Angeles County Transportation Coalition meeting is set for Monday, January 27, at 1 p.m. in Lancaster.
    Friday, Jan 24, 2020
    The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved funding for 10 affordable multi-family rental housing development projects selected through the No Place Like Home Program Notice of Funding Availability Round 2019-1.
    Thursday, Jan 23, 2020
    In an effort to increase the number of property owners participating in the County’s rental assistance programs, the Los Angeles County Development Authority (LACDA) has launched a new business model which provides an enhanced customer service experience for property owners.
    Thursday, Jan 23, 2020
    The Los Angeles County Development Authority is opening its wait list for senior public housing site applications at seven locations in L.A. County.
    Thursday, Jan 23, 2020
    On Friday, Jan. 17, Ray Leyva began his tenure as Interim Chief Probation Officer of the Los Angeles County Probation Department after being appointed to the position by the L.A. County Board of Supervisors on Jan. 7.

    Keep Up With Our Facebook
    Latest Additions to SCVNews.com
    1915 - Death of pre-Mentry oilman & San Francisquito vintner Ramon Perea [story]
    Perea grave marker
    Sporting Saugus Strong and Los Angeles Dodgers gear, it was a sea of blue and white at the Saugus High School gym as the student body received a special visit from the Major League baseball team on Friday morning.
    Los Angeles Dodgers Add Pep to Saugus High Rally
    Six Saugus High School students have been selected for the 2020 Honor Band at California State University, Los Angeles.
    6 Saugus High Students Tapped for 2020 Cal State LA Honor Band
    Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department’s Missing Persons Unit detectives are seeking the public’s assistance in locating at-risk missing person Kristina Anne De Mora, nickname "Kiki," a 22-year-old white woman.
    Missing: Kristina Anne De Mora of Canyon Country
    Oscar winners Mahershala Ali, Olivia Colman, Regina King and Rami Malek will present at the 92nd Oscars, show producers Lynette Howell Taylor and Stephanie Allain announced.
    92nd Oscars Update: Presenters, Performers, Street Closures
    The next North Los Angeles County Transportation Coalition meeting is set for Monday, January 27, at 1 p.m. in Lancaster.
    Jan. 27: North LA County Transportation Coalition Meeting
    The Santa Clarita City Council has posted the meeting agenda for its next regular meeting at City Hall on Tuesday, January 28, starting at 6 p.m.
    January 28 Meeting Agenda: Santa Clarita City Council
    Award-winning lighting and grip company Illumination Dynamics has relocated its Los Angeles headquarters from San Fernando to a new location in Santa Clarita.
    Illumination Dynamics Moves HQ to Needham Ranch in SCV
    Senator Scott Wilk (R-Santa Clarita) is co-authoring two bills to help newspapers and freelance journalists continue to operate in California by exempting them from the state's new anti-independent contracting law, Assembly Bill 5 (Gonzalez, 2019).
    Wilk Co-authors Bills to Aid Newspapers, Freelance Journalists
    According to a recent city survey, residents believe mental health and homeless services, housing for seniors and affordable housing are among the most needed in Santa Clarita.
    City Survey: Mental Health, Seniors Housing Among Top Needs
    The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors has approved funding for 10 affordable multi-family rental housing development projects selected through the No Place Like Home Program Notice of Funding Availability Round 2019-1.
    LA County Supes Fund Affordable Rental Housing Projects
    "Flight," the newest group art exhibit presented by the city of Santa Clarita, is set to take off at City Hall's First Floor Gallery on February 3 and stay airborne through March 10.
    Feb. 3: ‘Flight’ Art Exhibit to Take Off at Santa Clarita City Hall
    Multiple lawsuits have been filed by victims of Jeremy Haggerty, a former basketball coach in the William S. Hart Union High School District who was convicted of sexual abuse charges.
    Hart District, Jeremy Haggerty Hit with Lawsuits Over Sexual Abuse
    The Bed, Bath & Beyond store at 25540 The Old Road is not on the list of 2020 store closures the company released Tuesday.
    Bed, Bath & Beyond Store on The Old Road to Remain Open
    A Trump administration move to stop California from requiring health insurers to cover abortions has drawn a sharp riposte from California’s political leadership.
    White House, California Spar Over Abortions Coverage Mandate
    The federal government Friday sued California over the state's private prisons ban, claiming the new law is unconstitutional, discriminates against the federal government and obstructs its ability to carry out operations.
    Feds Sue California Over Private Prisons Ban
    1888 - Acton post office established; Richard E. Nickel, postmaster [story]
    postal cover
    In an effort to increase the number of property owners participating in the County’s rental assistance programs, the Los Angeles County Development Authority (LACDA) has launched a new business model which provides an enhanced customer service experience for property owners.
    County Launches New Business Model to Benefit Property Owners
    An Agua Dulce man accused of kidnapping a toddler at knifepoint was found not mentally fit to assist in his own legal defense by a judge Wednesday and committed to an institution.
    Court: Agua Dulce Man Who Kidnapped Toddler Was Legally Insane
    The Los Angeles County Development Authority is opening its wait list for senior public housing site applications at seven locations in L.A. County.
    County to Open Waitlist for SCV’s Orchard Arms Senior Housing
    California State University, Northridge psychology professor Que-Lam Huynh has been named an “emerging scholar” by leading education magazine Diverse: Issues in Higher Education.
    CSUN Professor Recognized as Emerging Scholar
    College of the College dropped a 73-58 conference result to visiting Glendale College on Saturday night in the Cougar Cage.
    Lady Cougars Drop Conference Game to Glendale 73-58
    College of the Canyons notched its first conference win by way of a 79-69 final result at the Cougar Cage on Saturday.
    Cougars Best Glendale in First Conference Win 79-69
    The recent eruption of Taal Volcano in the Philippines last January 12 has forced many Filipino to flee their homes and move to evacuation centers. Those most affected are villagers in the hard-hit province of Batangas.
    West Ranch Students Seeking Donations for Taal Volcano Victims
    %d bloggers like this: