Water officials poised to lay pipe for Needham Ranch project

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Newhall water officials poised to lay pipes for one of the largest commercial projects under development in Los Angeles County – the Needham Ranch project at Sierra Highway – were scheduled to be updated Thursday night as to what exactly the developer requires of them.

Members of the Newhall County Water District board were expected to approve their amended agreement for construction of the project’s “water system improvements.”

In weighing the recommendation, board members were given a report prepared by the Needham Ranch Land Company LLC.

The Needham Ranch project is made up of about 106 lots totaling at least 508 acres, of which 68 lots on at least 170 acres are earmarked for industrial development.

NCWD entered into an agreement of construction of “water system improvements” with the initial developer, Gate  King  Properties in April 2010.  The agreement called for making water improvements that would serve the project.

The project is to be completed in two phases.

Site water needs

It runs west of Highway 14, bound by Sierra Highway to the east and San Fernando Road to the north. Pine Street – where the NCWD has its offices – and the Metropolitan Transit Authority right-of-way are located along the site’s western boundary.

Gate King developers and water officials at the NCWD want to amend and restate the existing 2010 Agreement to reflect the current developer  – Needham  Ranch  Land Company  LLC.

Changes to the water service for the project were outlined in a 92-page report made available to District board members.

According to a letter sent to the District board by the Needham  Ranch  people, the water  system  analysis prepared for the District includes  certain  “on-site  and  off-site  water  infrastructure  improvements  that  are  necessary  to  serve  Phase  1  and  subsequent  phases  of  the  Project.”

Needham Ranch is described as a 145-acre development with 4.2 million square feet of office, industrial and retail space.

According to a 2003 report on the project’s anticipated impact on the environment, Needham Ranch was planned to encompass 584 acres.

“About 77 percent of the site (452.4 acres) is undeveloped, while the remaining 23 percent (131.6 acres) is developed with a variety of uses,” according to its 2003 EIR.

Developed areas of the site consist of about 15 acres of cemetery facilities, 22 acres of oil well production facilities, three acres of residential uses, the 8-acre Arklin Storage Facility, an 18-acre recycling facility, a three-acre City disposal site, and over 50 acres of oil and gas rights-of-way, easements, and associated access roads.”

4.2 million square feet

According to the 2017 Economic Outlook prepared by the California Economic Forecast, Needham Ranch is “the most significant industrial project in Los Angeles County.”

The project’s industrial plots would accommodate up to 4.2 million square feet of space.

It is under a 15-year development agreement that was approved on July 15, 2009.

In that time, local environmentalists have voiced their opposition to the project.

Both SCOPE – the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment – and the Sierra Club have long opposed the Gate-King – Needham Ranch – industrial project because of what the group’s members believe are devastating impacts on the natural area that links the San Gabriel and Santa Susanna mountains.

According to SCOPE founder Lynne Plambeck, the oak woodlands in the area represent an important wildlife corridor that not only important to animals but is absolutely necessary to our own human health and quality of life.


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on Twitter @jamesarthurholt

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