Planners breathe new life into Castaic housing project



Plans 15 years in the making to build 70 homes on The Old Road, near Parker Road, in Castaic, were dusted off Tuesday and approved once again by Los Angeles County planners.

Planners with the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning met Tuesday to discuss an application filed by housing developer Bahram Safavi of Can Shelter Inc. to extend the Lake View Estates project for at least one more year.

Planners, in turn, gave them the green light to continue, Mitch Glaser, assistant administrator for the Department of Regional Planning’s  Current Planning Division, told The Signal after the meeting.

The housing project application was initially filed with the county in 2003.

Homes in Lake View Estates, if built, would be parallel to and southwest of The Old Road and Interstate 5, south of Parker and north of Villa Canyon Road.

The rugged terrain along that stretch of The Old Road is hilly and peppered with oak trees protected by the county.

In approving the project, planners also gave thumbs up to the oak tree permit granted to the developers, allowing 13 oak trees to be cut down and the encroaching on 20 other oak trees protected inside a “protected zone” which includes two heritage oaks.

A “heritage oak” is often defined as a living native oak tree, several hundred years old that is in good health.

The Lake View Estates subdivision calls for creating 79 lots which would accommodate 70 single-family residential lots, three commercial lots, four open space lots, a private park and a public facility.

The entire project is located within the Castaic Area Community Standards District.

About  20 percent of the property is flat or has 25 percent slopes.  The rest of it, however, is hilly with a quarter of the property having 25 to 50 percent slopes and rest of it having slopes greater the 50 percent.

Grading the land would require more than 100,000 cubic yards of earth be removed.

In 2008, three years after a Notice of Preparation was issued for the project to proceed, the recession hit and the housing market dried up.

Developers stayed committed to the project, however, and in 2010 issued a draft report on the impact it would have on the environment.

Subsequently, the Regional Planning Commission recommended approval of the project on Aug. 4, 2010.  Since the project involved a Zone Change, it also had to be considered by the Board of Supervisors.

But after the board held a public hearing, it approved the project on April 26, 2011 and reiterated its approval on Feb. 14, 2012.

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