Water district merger and Old Town Newhall on council agenda

City of Santa Clarita City Hall

The potential new Santa Clarita Valley Water agency, which would be a product of Senator Scott Wilk’s Senate Bill 634, is on the agenda for discussion for city council on Tuesday.

Castaic Lake Water Agency and Newhall County Water District would be reorganized to establish the new district to provide, sell, manage and deliver the Santa Clarita Valley’s water.

Under the bill, all three of Santa Clarita Valley’s main water retailers – NCWD, Santa Clarita Water Division and Valencia Water company – would be overseen by one new water agency.

Councilmembers may choose to take a position on the bill, if they want, to relay to Wilk’s office.

When the legislative committee, comprised of Mayor Cameron Smyth and Councilman Bob Kellar, met on March 10 to discuss the bill, they did not take a stance on the bill but chose to discuss it with the rest of the council.

Intergovernmental Relations Manager Mike Murphy, who will be presenting to council on the bill Tuesday, said the conversation will focus on the bill itself, not the merger as a whole.

“It helps to inform the larger discussion in Sacramento how the city council feels about the issue,” Murphy said. “Quite often when state legislatures are looking at issues in a particular area, they want to ask the city government.”

After the council discusses the matter, they will choose if they want to provide comments, concerns or positions to the state legislature to give localized insight into the bill’s impact.

Also on the agenda, councilmembers will address the Old Town Newhall plan, this time with two changes from their last discussion.

At the March 14 meeting, Mayor Cameron Smyth and Councilmembers Kellar and Miranda expressed concern with the new language concerning what qualified as a “specialty retail store.” All three agreed the term was too broad and allowed for exceptions to be made that would deviate Old Town Newhall from being an arts and entertainment district as planned.

Instead, the councilmembers will now strike this added wording in favor of the original language prior to Feb. 28.

Under the original language, a “specialty retail store” is identified as a smaller store or retail space that is less than 2,500 square feet which focuses on a particular product or family of products, such as a camera store or high-end novelty hardware store.

A specialty retail store’s products are more expensive and better quality than a general retail store, according to the original plan. A specialty retailer is usually an expert in their field, is knowledgeable about their product and provides premium service, the plan said.

Additionally, citizen Jim Coffey requested that the south parking structure currently designated on the plan be removed. After discussion, the council agreed with Coffey’s concern and plan to remove the designation from the zoning map.

Among other topics, councilmembers will also vote to offer a $5,000 reward for information on the disappearance of William Cierzan. The Santa Clarita local was last seen on January 26 in his home and went missing within an hour of talking to his wife on the phone and cooking dinner.


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