“When we try to pick out anything by itself, we find it hitched to everything else in the Universe.”
John Muir, “My First Summer in the Sierra,” 1911
Nature has played an incredibly important role in the city of Santa Clarita throughout its history, starting with the city’s first piece of legislation in 1987, which called for oak tree preservation.
Santa Clarita city founders included a coalition of nature lovers, and city leaders early on made decisions that have helped preserve that respect and admiration. The best example is that while the 5 Freeway no longer sits alongside cow pastures (perhaps for the better, all things considered), the city has worked to ensure a greenbelt surrounds residents at nearly every turn.
In fact, a few of the accomplishments the city mentioned in its recent 30th birthday celebration includes 34 parks, 85 miles of off-street trails, more than 9,000 acres of preserved open space — all of which is a pretty impressive list for a city our size just a few miles north of one of the biggest cities in the country.
And just as important to remember is that these facets didn’t happen by accident, but were the result of years of deliberate planning. Perhaps the most significant milestone in this planning is the region’s “One Valley One Vision” plan, which was approved for the area in 2011, and looks at development for the Santa Clarita Valley through 2050, with the impacts set to last well after we’re all gone.
Additionally, Tuesday’s City Council meeting offered an excellent example of how Santa Clarita’s residents help guide our local officials on their decision-making process, and why residents also receive some of the credit for the list of accomplishments above. We applaud the folks who took the time to speak Tuesday at the Santa Clarita City Council meeting — and of course, to the city officials, who, at Tuesday’s meeting, listened to residents and held off on making any decisions after hearing out the concerns.
The discussion at Tuesday’s meeting was around an environmental report that explained the city’s efforts to look at the potential impacts for a Dockweiler Drive extension. The city looked at three options and recommended the Dockweiler Drive to 13th Street route, citing the report that named it as the option with the least environmental impact.
More than a dozen residents spoke up, taking time to express their concerns to the community, and a handful more wrote in comments, as well — so much so that the City Council members moved the hearing back until the April 12 council meeting to allow more time to learn about residents’ concerns and address them.
“You bring up a lot of great points, when this many people come up and all say the same thing,” said Councilman Bob Kellar, from the dais, speaking to the audience during Tuesday’s discussion regarding the opposition to the recommended option. “This is very troubling to me.”
But, also, as City Council members demonstrated, that’s how things are supposed to work.
We’re looking forward to a robust discussion in April, from residents of the Placerita Canyon community and from city officials, on what’s the best option and why.
It’s only through this type of discussion of community concerns that the city and its residents will continue to take care of priorities as they always have, with passion and deliberation.