Las Lomas development halted

  • Posted on 28 February 2005
  • By Delise Keim

The proposed Las Lomas 5,800-home housing development in northern Los Angeles County has been blocked by Los Angeles and Santa Clarita officials.

The Sierra Club took an official position to oppose Las Lomas in September 2004, and a grant was awarded to gear up a public relations campaign against the project. Thanks to the persistence of members of the Chapter's Transportation Committee and the Santa Clarita Group, city council members and Los Angeles Department of Water and Power commissioners were educated about the Chapter's position and its intent to publicly fight the project.

Las Lomas would have added tens of thousands of additional daily vehicle trips to an overly congested area, adding an additional hour of traffic delay in each direction through the corridor, according to the draft environmental impact report. It would also have bisected the Rim of the Valley greenbelt currently being assembled and significantly changed the landscape by removing nearly 3,000 oak trees and carving out 20 million cubic yards of earth.

Palmer Investments had been working on the plan since 1998 and applied in 2002 to annex the 555 acres to the city of Los Angeles, hoping to tap into the city's water supply. Santa Clarita officials had tried to stop the project, but their authority over the area was in question. A combined effort by the cities of Santa Clarita and Los Angeles as well as the Los Angeles County government was needed.

'There was a lot of signaling going on behind the scenes,' said Bart Reed, member of the Chapter's Transportation Committee. 'Neighborhood councils and local activists were lining up to join the Sierra Club in the fight. I think that caused the politicians in all three jurisdictions to take a close look at the project and make some decisions.'

The Los Angeles Daily News announced in December that officials from the three jurisdictions had reached an informal agreement to divide the land along the ridge line and impose strict zoning requirements that would prevent the Las Lomas project as proposed. Chapter activists intend to continue to monitor any future development plans for the area. 'We are hopeful that the tentative agreement opens the door to preserving the last open space between Santa Clarita and the city of Los Angeles,' said Reed.

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