City Moving Ahead with West Creek, West Hills Annexation -- WEDNESDAY, APR 13, 2016

Despite protests by a developer, Santa Clarita City Council members unanimously agreed to move forward with annexation of West Creek and West Hills.

City Council members conducted a public hearing Tuesday evening during the meeting on the proposed annexation. The attorney that was in opposition of the move was with one of the commercial developers. He said they are planning to build a 120-residence assisted living senior complex, three drive through restaurants, a retail store and a gas station.

The attorney also said that his clients are “concerned that we would get annexed basically at the five-yard line” with the county approval and are weary of going through an approval process with the city.

“We have two suggestions one would be to amend the resolution to contemplate a rolling annexation where our specific property(…) would not be annexed until the county issued certificates of occupancy or within five years,” the attorney said. “If council is not comfortable with that at this time, we’d suggest a brief continuance to allow my client to keep working with staff to figure something else out.”

He also stated that his client felt the city had not contacted his client with enough time to prepare for the Planning Commision meeting that reviewed the annexation or Tuesday’s City council meeting, but city staff said they took the necessary steps and even went beyond.

The Negative Declaration for the project was prepared and circulated for public review and comment beginning on February 9, 2016, and lasting through March 1, 2016, according to the agenda. They also published notices in the local newspaper in March.

“In addition to the required legal advertisement, all property owners within the project area were mailed a Notice of Public Hearing, and signage was posted around the project area on March 15, 2016, for the community’s convenience,” according to the agenda.

“In regards to the annexation, particularly in totality, time is of the essence from a city standpoint,” said City Manager Ken Striplin. “We are on a very tight timeline with (Local Agency Formation Commission) in order to go through the procedural steps in order to have a property tax transfer agreement with the County of Los Angeles.”

The annexation of the West Creek, West Hills, Tesoro del Valle and Copperstone community was originally proposed in May 2010 but only the Copperstone community was actually annexed.

Last year, Newhall Land said they “were not opposed to an annexation of” West Hills, Tesoro del Valle and West Creek but the city of Santa Clarita removed Tesoro from the proposed annexation “because the County is reviewing an entitlement application for Phase 2 of the project. The applicant for Phase 2 projects having approvals from the County in place by early 2018,” according to the agenda.

In February of this year, the city of Santa Clarita surveyed the West Creek and West Hills communities. The surveys found that 68 percent favored the annexation, 16 percent were against it and 16 percent wanted more information.

West Creek is expected to reach 2,444 homes — 1,717 currently built homes, an existing 74,000 square-foot commercial center, one elementary school, one junior high school and West Creek Park. The county is currently reviewing two undeveloped commercial centers — West Creek Village and Copper Hill Partners, LLC. The remaining 727 homes have been approved but not yet built.

The next steps for the project include submitting an application to the Local Agency Formation Commission Wednesday, preparing a Property Tax Transfer Resolution before City Council break with a potential of LAFCO approval in October or November.

Read the full agenda item [here].