Paintball USA owners shot down by County

A cadet, armed with a paintball gun, crouches in a field near Paintball USA in Santa Clarita during a military simulation operation on a Saturday. Samie Gebers/The Signal

The married couple who owns Paintball USA, already frustrated over “exorbitant” county demands required in renewing a zoning permit, ran up against more opposition Tuesday.

Mike and April Schwartz applied for a zoning permit last month and were turned down because they failed to comply with the requirements asked of them by regional planners.

The owners were asked to build a road and, essentially, a private municipal water company before allowing the recreational business to proceed.

Regional planners gave the couple until next month to meet the demands asked of them. On the agenda, the paintball company was recommended by planners to be denied “due to inactivity.”

Phone calls to regional planners Tuesday were not returned.

ROTC Cadet Erika Graham of UC Irvine pulls a wounded cadet to cover during a leadership development training exercise involving 120 ROTC cadets from four Southern California colleges which was held at Paintball USA in Santa Clarita April 15, 2016. Photo by Dan Watson

“Project No. R2006-02751 was not approved,” Mitch Glaser, spokesman for the planning department, told The Signal last month when the renewal was first denied.

“The (April) hearing was continued to June 6 so that the applicant could submit additional materials that were previously requested but not submitted.”

What planners want him to submit, Mike Schwartz said, is cost-prohibitive.

Despite the extension, the couple is so put off by the treatment they’ve received, they’re now selling their Acton property.

“It is absolutely true about putting our Acton property up for sale due to the extreme and ridiculous demands from regional planning,” April Schwartz told The Signal in an email.

“You know, it’s such a shame that we are being forced off of our own property after we have it all paid off for years,” she said.

“Our local Realtor helped us find this property back in 2005 which was ideal for our paintball park.

“We have had hosted events for local Synagogues on our Acton property through the years as fundraisers along with using the property as a nonprofit animal rescue dating back to the year of Hurricane Katrina when my husband Mike, was an active member of CERT and the American Red Cross,” April Schwartz said.

ROTC cadets plan for the next phase in a simulated military operation near Paintball USA April 9, 2017. Samie Gebers/The Signal

“My husband and I have owned and operated Paintball USA for over 20 years in the Santa Clarita Valley,” she said.

The couple has also been operating Paintball USA at the Sierra Highway location for more than a decade.

Paintball USA, which operates in Santa Clarita and Oxnard and opens every Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., hosts birthday parties and “corporate team building events” on land leased on Sierra Highway.

“We wanted to move our operation over to our Acton property immediately, however, regional planning will not allow us to,” April Schwartz said.

“We had started the conditional use process years ago for our Acton location, but with all the extremely expensive and ridiculous demands of regional planning, we couldn’t afford the required work.

“We hired many different engineers and consultants through the years spending a large amount of money and they couldn’t get the work done that the county is asking for either,” she said.

“We now hired a consulting firm that is helping us, but finding the county’s demands unreasonable and hard to try and decipher exactly what they are asking for is a stretch for him too.”

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