Santa Clarita to add four square miles of open space to city limits

A car drives past the Cemex mining site as scene from Soledad Canyon Road near Agua Dulce Canyon Road in Canyon Country. Dan Watson/The Signal
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Santa Clarita’s planning commissioners are expected to take the next step toward officially putting the Cemex property within city limits Tuesday, as well as a few hundred other acres.

The city has owned the property for about 10 years, and has fought a sand-and-gravel mining company that at one point had mineral rights from moving there for longer than that.

However, the city is now looking to formally annex about four square miles of property, more than 2,600 acres, on Tuesday, which includes the Cemex property.

Because Santa Clarita’s strategy in the fight against Cemex is a closely guarded secret, it’s unclear what, if any, impact the move could potentially have on the outcome.

But, Planning Commission Chair Tim Burkhart said the annexation itself is “noncontroversial.”

“Once an area is designated as open space, it limits the activities that can happen there,” Burkhart said. “The fact is that open space limits a lot of things that can go on.”

On Monday, Mike Murphy, who’s been the person coordinating the city’s strategy from a legislative perspective for years, noted the Planning Commission’s action by itself Tuesday “would do nothing.”

“The jurisdiction (the land) is in makes no difference,” Murphy said. “It makes no difference if it’s incorporated or not and it makes no difference where the property is. It means nothing to the process that’s currently underway.”

However, as far as down the road, “conceivably, it could,” Murphy acknowledged.

The space is located on the eastern boundary of the city north of Soledad Canyon Road and west of Agua Dulce Canyon Road.

“The city has a very robust plan to acquire open space,” Burkhart said. “It is part of the goal to acquire a green belt around the valley.”

If the planning commissioners approve the motion, the issue will go onto the City Council for consideration next year.

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