Overview of the Santa Clarita East Side Annexation
The City of Santa Clarita announced on Thursday its plan to annex approximately 2,694 acres of surrounding land in an effort to expand the city. According to the city’s website, the purpose of this annexation is to include previously purchased land and expand the City of Santa Clarita in a logical and organized manner.
This annexation is a part of the city’s overall General Plan, which complies with state laws stating that each city and town should have a long-term development plan in place. The General Plan for the City of Santa Clarita was created with the intention of maintaining high infrastructure standards and preserving the area’s natural resources.
The City Planning Department commented, “this process is literally drawing new lines around the city.” In other words, the annexed areas will be incorporated into the city, and the City of Santa Clarita will have complete jurisdiction over this land.
The previously purchased land that is set to be incorporated with the annexation includes the 412-acre Wagoner Property (purchased by the city on October 14th, 2003), the 493-acre CEMEX Property (purchased on February 6th, 2004), the 243-acre Rodda/Agua Dulces Partners Property (purchased on February 23rd, 2010), and the 13.36-acre Alfieri Property (purchased on June 14th, 2016).
The land to be annexed includes the 548-acre Spring Canyon land area, the 500-acre Tick Canyon land area, and the 210-acre Bee Canyon land area. Los Angeles County recently approved various development projects on these lots, and the annexation will give the City of Santa Clarita complete jurisdiction over these projects.
Tick Canyon, owned by Monterey Homes, LLC, will be home to Park Place—a residential development featuring 492 single-family homes, 37 open-space lots, and three parking lots. The project has been postponed multiple times and construction is currently set to begin on June 4th, 2019. Spring Canyon, owned by Pardee Homes, will also be designated as a residential area, with the construction of 542 single-family residential lots, a fire station, a Sheriff’s sub-station, and a school set to begin on August 8th, 2018.
Sand Canyon Plaza is replacing the mobile home park located on the corner of Soledad Canyon Road and Sand Canyon Road. It will include 580 units of residential living space, 60,000 square feet of retail space, and a 130-bed assisted living facility. The developers have stated their intention of maintaining the quaint and quiet character of the Sand Canyon community with the development of the new plaza.
A deal was made with the city in which the city approved the development of Sand Canyon Plaza with the condition that they are able to purchase 132 acres of land from Bee Canyon, LLC, which will likely be used for the city’s Open Space Program. Although the deal has been approved, the purchase amount has yet to be determined, as the appraisal and purchase of the land will take place independently from the annexation.
How will the annexation affect me?
Residents of the Spring Canyon, Bee Canyon, and Tick Canyon land area will be incorporated into the City of Santa Clarita—receiving access to the city’s schools, utilities, public protection services, and more.
The annexation will help the city expand in a logical and organized way, possibly preventing organizational issues in the future.
Naturally, the population of the City of Santa Clarita will also increase—raising concern about traffic conditions, the quality of public and safety services, and the potential spread of Valley Fever.
How will the annexation affect traffic in the area?
Traffic will increase with the annexation and developments, but developers are discussing solutions to the problem.
Some roads, such as Shadow Pines Boulevard, will also be extended in order to better incorporate the city’s new territory.
How will the annexation affect public safety services?
Public safety services should not be affected by the annexation. City officials plan to increase the number of public safety personnel and stations, including the addition of a fire station and a Sheriff’s sub-station in Spring Canyon.
Residents that are incorporated into the City of Santa Clarita will also be able to benefit from the city’s award-winning anti-drug and anti-gang programs.
How will the annexation affect public utilities?
The quality of public utility services, including waste collection, storm drainage, and drinkable water, is a major concern among residents. The Spring Canyon development has been delayed multiple times due to concerns regarding potable water.
According to the City of Santa Clarita’s Resident Service Center website, residents who are incorporated into the City of Santa Clarita with the annexation will be responsible for paying extra utility fees which will be added on to their yearly property tax bill. These fees include a $56 streetlight maintenance fee which is used for upkeep costs, a $57 citywide landscape maintenance fee, an approximately $24 stormwater fee used for stormwater cleanup, and a $26 fee that the city uses for its Open Space Program. (Source: http://user.govoutreach.com/santaclarita/faq.php?cmd=shell&goparms=cid%3D15988)
The Open Space Program is an effort to maintain and preserve green areas both in and around the city. The program creates more parks for resident use and helps to maintain the environmental sustainability standards of the city.
The Resident Service Center website also states that the cost of additional fees will be offset by a reduction in utility taxes. Currently, residents outside of the city pay a 4.5% utility tax. Upon incorporation into the city, residents will no longer be responsible for paying this tax. (Source: http://user.govoutreach.com/santaclarita/faq.php?cmd=shell&goparms=cid%3D15988)
How will the annexation affect schools?
The annexation will not have any effect on current school districts, and students will continue to attend the same schools.
Another major concern with the upcoming construction projects is the spread of Valley Fever (Coccidioidomycosis)—a common fungal disease spread by the Coccidioides immitis spores carried in dust.
The disease is known to spread more quickly when the soil is disturbed, such as with gardening or construction, and has been spreading more rapidly with each year. In 2016, 714 non-threatening cases were reported in the area.
Many people infected with the disease show no symptoms or only mild respiratory illnesses. In severe cases, Valley Fever can lead to more severe illnesses like pneumonia, meningitis, and dissemination.
A public hearing regarding the annexation is scheduled tonight, in the evening on Tuesday, December 5th, 2017.