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14,000-Home Project Planned : Self-Contained Town on Ranchland Near Lake Piru

Times Staff Writer

A developer plans to build up to 14,000 residences--a self-contained community the size of Monrovia--on nearly 6,900 acres of agricultural land in the northern Santa Clarita Valley.

The development, still in the embryonic stage, would rise on a tract about six miles northwest of the city of Santa Clarita, stretching about five miles from the Ventura County line near Lake Piru to Interstate 5.

About half of the land would remain open space, said Jean Marie Gath, principal planner with the SWA Group, an international design firm drafting plans for the project’s developer, the Hathaway Ranch Partnership.

Gath said the company will set aside 2,821 acres for 12,000 to 14,000 homes, ranging from equestrian estates to townhouses. Some apartments also might be included.

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If the development is indeed built as planned, it would equal the size of Monrovia, which had 13,627 housing units in 1988. According to county figures, Monrovia had 33,640 residents that year.

Population Boom Foreseen

The city of Santa Clarita is already home to 147,000 people. By 2010, county planners predict, the entire Santa Clarita Valley’s population will swell to 270,000--a forecast that does not include the Hathaway Ranch project.

Gath said planning began in May after the partnership purchased the historic Hathaway cattle ranch, dating back to the 1800s, which offers a scenic combination of rolling hills and canyons.

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Santa Clarita Valley developers often bulldoze hillsides to build homes, but Gath said the partnership plans to blend its designs into the terrain.

Gath said the company also plans to set aside 196 acres for businesses, probably research and development firms, to create a self-contained community.

Preliminary design plans also call for a golf course, fire station, library, four schools and 54 acres of commercial space. Gath said the company hopes to submit initial development plans to the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning in about six months.

Mike Kotch, a member of the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and Environment, said the group plans to meet with company representatives to discuss the proposal. SCOPE monitors development proposals throughout the Santa Clarita Valley and sometimes has persuaded builders to scale back their projects or to contribute money for roads and schools.

Kotch, a Castaic resident, said the organization “didn’t have a clue” about the huge project until last week. The Hathaway Ranch is one of the last large agricultural parcels left in the Santa Clarita Valley, he said.

It is too soon to say whether SCOPE will endorse or oppose the Hathaway Ranch project, Kotch said. “We just don’t know enough to form an intelligent opinion,” he said.


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