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Planning takes another look at city’s east side

Eastside Annexation on Soledad Canyon Rd. Eddy Martinez/The SIgnal.

Santa Clarita’s Planning Commission plans Tuesday to discuss an annexation that no longer includes land from Cemex.

Previously, the council tried to annex land to which Cemex had disputed mineral rights. In response, the mining operation sued the city in December 2017, claiming breach of contract, civil rights violations, breach of the implied covenant of good faith and fair dealing, seeking declaratory relief. The lawsuit stated the city tried to annex the site in order to manage the site and shut down the mining project.

Although the city would not comment on the lawsuit, the annexation has been changed to The Eastside Open Space Annexation. It now includes city owned public space and privately owned undeveloped property approved for residential development by Los Angeles County, said Jason Crawford, the city’s manager for planning, marketing and economic development.

It’s unclear how this affects the city’s short- and long-term strategy in the city’s decades-long fight with the international mining company. City officials have remained tight-lipped regarding the pending litigation; Cemex has referred The Signal to its lawsuit regarding past requests for comment on the matter. The city owned the Cemex land, but any mineral rights deemed valid by the federal government would supercede property ownership with respect to mining rights, according to officials.

The Planning Commission is now looking to annex a total area of 2,405 acres, including north of Soledad Canyon Road and west of unincorporated parts of Agua Dulce Canyon Road owned by Los Angeles County, according to city documents.

Target purchases would be the Wagoner Property with 412 acres, the Rodda/Agua Dulces Partners Property with 243 acres and the Alfieri Property with 13.3 acres. 

The first area is 3.5 square miles, which is 2,235 acres of undeveloped land. There is 703.5 acres of city-owned open space. There are approved plans to develop approximately 1,040 single family homes on the property if its acquired from the county. This area is located east of the jurisdictional boundary of the city of Santa Clarita and west of Agua Dulce Canyon Road into unincorporated country.

A second, already developed unincorporated area of the Crystal Springs Neighborhood wants to be annexed into the city, and would be approximately 169.65 acres along Crystal Springs Road.

The original proposed annexation, which included the Cemex property, was 2,694 acres of land. The current annexation eliminates 459 acres of open space area as a result of opposition from residents, and adds the new 170 acres from the Crystal Springs neighborhood.

The next step in the annexation process includes a public hearing before the council where the Planning Commission recommendation would be considered. If approved, staff would then prepare an application to the Local Agency Formation Commission for approval.

Already approved are developments for Tick Canyon, which would be home to 492 single-family lots, three park lots and 37 open space lots; and Spring Canyon, with 542 single-family residential lots, one fire station lot, one sheriff substation lot, three open space lots, and two park lots. Both were approved in the fall of 2017.

There are no development projects planned for Bee Canyon at this time, although the City Council approved the Sand Canyon Plaza development in September on the condition that Bee Canyon sell 132 acres of land to the city.

The City Planning Division stated that the intention of the annexation is to incorporate the city’s Open Space territories into the city limits in order to avoid paying property taxes on the land.

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