SCOPE - Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment


Legal Issues/Quality of Life


Vista Canyon


Located in an outlying rural area of the Santa Clarita Valley, the proposed 1050 unit high density Vista Ranch project does not fit the zoning of the adjacent Sand Canyon neighborhoods. Nor does it fit the City's Climate Action concept of promoting denser projects in the City center. It is located on the south side of the Santa Clara River at approximately Lost Canyon, and was annexed into the City of Santa Clarita after the City approved the project in May of 2011.

Like the first phases of the Newhall Ranch project, Vista Canyon is almost entirely in the floodplain and will require some 500,000 cubic yards of dirt to fill the floodplain area in order to meet Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) standards. It also calls for 7500' linear feet of banking for the Santa Clara River in the project area.

The project was also approved with disregard to the fact that this area is designated a "Significant Ecological Area" by both the City of Santa Clarita and the County of Los Angeles.

While this project is touted as transportation oriented, to be built around a MetroLink Station, that station already exists at a more centralized location on Via Princessa. The Via Princessa station is currently servicing many commuters that would lose this existing easy access point if the station is moved. Who will pay to have this station closed and moved - the developer or the taxpayers?

Another concern involves failure to mitigate for increased chloride (salt) levels in the river. This hotly debated issue already has local residents and taxpayers up in arms due to increased sewer fees. Why should this obligation be placed on existing residents while fees for new development remain inadequate to address the problem?

The Regional Water Quality Control Board recently (Sept. 14th, 2012) required Newhall Land/Lennar Corporation to fully fund chloride reduction for the first phases of the Newhall Ranch project, ensuring that this expensive burden would not be placed on current residents. We believe that such a requirement should in all fairness also be placed on the Vista Canyon project.

July 8, 2013: Writ, Judgement, Minute Order
Superior Court Decision April 29, 2013
SCOPE Comment Letter 11-6-10
Complaint filed 6-10-11