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22,330 Homes Being Planned for Newhall Ranch Development

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

The Newhall Land and Farming Co. on Monday unveiled plans for a 19-square-mile community west of Six Flags Magic Mountain, which would put 70,000 residents on what is now farmland.

As proposed, the new community of Newhall Ranch would include 22,330 homes to be constructed over a 25-year period. There would be five residential villages, each with a small shopping center.

Also in the plans are a 200-acre business park, a 215-acre golf course, 172 cumulative acres of parkland and sites for eight elementary schools, a high school and a junior high school. Space for a Metrolink commuter rail line, a network of trails and two sites for fire stations have also been set aside.

Newhall Ranch would be about the same size as the Newhall Land Co.'s existing community, Valencia.

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“Valencia is reaching the point where we can see build-out on the horizon,” said Gloria Glenn, a Newhall Land senior vice president. “If you look at demographic projections, by everyone who does demographic projections, L. A. County is going to continue to grow.”

But area environmental groups, which have clashed with Newhall Land in the past, did not warmly greet the announcement of the company’s new project.

“I think it’s leapfrog development,” said Lynne Plambeck, vice president of the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning the Environment. “They haven’t built out the Santa Clarita Valley yet and they’re starting in another area.”

Santa Clarita’s chapter of the Sierra Club is concerned Newhall Ranch encroaches upon two county-designated Significant Ecological Areas--the Santa Clara River and the edge of the Santa Susana Mountains.

“Their idea of being environmentally sensitive is not everyone else’s idea of being environmentally sensitive,” said Pat Saletore, chairwoman of Santa Clarita group.

Newhall Land officials say the project offers an array of housing and fits nicely with the nearby rural area, noting its plans to designate more than 5,400 acres of open space.

“We are committed to creating a social community that provides the human services and an environmental setting for an enjoyable place to raise a family, live and work,” said Jim Harter, senior vice president of community development. “The preservation of the river, high country, oak savannas, wildlife corridors, bluffs and canyons--representing over 45% of the property--truly make Newhall Ranch a community by nature.”

One point both the developer and environmentalists agree upon is that the project has a long way to go before it is adopted by Los Angeles County.

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“This is not a final plan by any means,” said Harter. “This is just the beginning.”

Newhall Land officials hope to submit environmental documents to Los Angeles County by the end of the year and have the project up for review by the Board of Supervisors in the fall of 1996.

The company wants to begin construction on Newhall Ranch by 1998.


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