Planning Commission green lights Los Valles

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Castaic is getting a new subdivision with close to 500 homes which could see shovels go into the ground to build it within the month, a spokesman for the developer said.

The Los Valles project that’s been in the works for more than a decade – between Castaic Middle School to the north of it and Hasley Canyon Road to the south, near Del Valle Road – was approved Wednesday by the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission.

“We’re elated,” John Musella, spokesman for New York-based developer iStar Inc., told The Signal Thursday.

“Los Valles is a nice transition from the rural setting of Hasley Canyon and the density of the community in Hasley Hills,” he said.

Unless someone appeals to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in the next two weeks, iStar developers expect to start building, Musella said.

Commission members heard at least three minutes of opposition to the project voiced by attorney Lloyd Pilchen who represented Los Valles neighbors, Ron and Eugene Lombardi.

“They gave me three minutes to speak and they approved it (Los Valles) anyway,” Pilchen said in a message relayed to The Signal by his receptionist.

In a letter dated Wednesday Feb. 1, 2017, addressed to Commission chair Doug Smith, Pilchen argued five points alleging:

– Los Valles fails to “enhance connectivity” of Castaic roads, contrary to county policy.

– Road access is further diminished by a disputed easement agreement drawn up between the Lombardi’s and the developer.

– The developer’s reference to added “road construction” made in the 11th hour of talks is “vague and ambiguous”

– The public should be given a fresh chance to weigh in on developer’s environmental impact report in light of a hydrology report introduced without public input.

– A public hearing held last month about Barcelona Road not being used to connect it to Los Valles was “confusing.”

 Commissioners decided, based on concerns over fire safety and access to Castaic communities by Los Angeles County Firefighters, that Barcelona Road is to be connected to the Los Valles community, said Edel Vizcarra, planning deputy to Los Angeles County Supervisor Kathryn Barger.

Vizcarra said anyone opposed to the Commission’s decision to green light the project has 14 days to object to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

Los Valles calls for the construction of 497 homes, one public park, 15 private recreation lots, 16 open space lots and a water tank lot.

Seven years ago, the Los Valles property was eyed for the construction of 200 luxury homes next to a golf course designed by legendary golfer Arnold Palmer.

“New developers came in with a new plan,” said developer spokesman Musella, noting each of the single-family residential lots is set on a spacious 7,000 square-foot lot which complies with Castaic Area Town Council expectations.

For years, the Los Valles property sat untouched after having undergone extensive grading.

The Commission approved the developer’s request for a conditional use permit to grade an area exceeding 100,000 cubic yards of dirt and level the area for an 850,000 water tank.

It also gave permission for the developer to remove one protected, non-heritage oak tree on the property.

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