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A Love-Hate Relationship With Santa Clarita : Polls: Most cited satisfaction with living in the area, but 78% said they would ‘strongly’ or ‘somewhat’ back a slow-growth or no-growth initiative.

TIMES STAFF WRITER

The Santa Clarita Valley is a great place to live, but it’s a lousy place to drive.

That is the consensus of a public opinion poll, released Tuesday, of 414 valley residents who were asked about the pleasures and problems of living in one of the fastest-growing regions in Los Angeles County.

“There is a general sense of happiness with this city,” attorney and pollster Richard Wirthlin told the Santa Clarita City Council Tuesday night.

Eight out of 10 residents said they were satisfied with Santa Clarita as a place to live. Only 11% said they were dissatisfied.

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The survey was conducted over three nights in May and June by volunteers staffing a bank of telephones at City Hall. The poll has a margin of error of plus or minus 4 percentage points, Wirthlin said.

The City Council and city officials helped develop some of the questions in the poll.

The poll was conducted without pay as a public service by Wirthlin Hyde, a polling group that oversaw a similar effort two years ago--just six months after the city incorporated. The results mirror the 1988 poll, with residents singling out traffic and growth as the area’s major problems.

Half of those polled said traffic congestion was the area’s worst problem and 26% singled out growth as the greatest problem.

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Not surprisingly in an area periodically rocked by controversies over proposed housing developments, the poll indicated a pronounced dislike of developers. Fully 78% of those polled said they would “strongly” or “somewhat” support a slow-growth or no-growth initiative.

Moreover, 60% of those polled said developers should pay for new roads in the valley, which is chronically choked by traffic. About 60% also said taxpayers should not have to pay for new roads.

About half of those polled had moved to the Santa Clarita Valley within the past five years. The poll found that newcomers to the area quickly adopt the attitudes of their neighbors, Wirthlin said.

The poll touched on issues facing the entire Santa Clarita Valley but focused largely on the city of Santa Clarita.

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