Tesoro Del Valle homeowners discuss homeless shelter

Tesoro project site.
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More than 80 homeowners in the Tesoro Del Valle community gathered Tuesday to voice their concerns to the county and the homeowners association about a potential homeless shelter, proposed by county planning commissioners, that would be included in a new development also coming to the community.

“We were discussing how it isn’t beneficial to the homeless community or ours,” said resident Steve Crestol, who attended the meeting, which was not open to the public or the media. “The majority of the homeowners oppose the homeless shelter.”

The new housing project, “The Highlands,” is proposed by Bristol Land Co. to add 820 homes adjacent to Tesoro del Valle.

County regional planning commissioners in August asked the developer to make room for affordable housing and an emergency homeless housing facility.

Some residents at the meeting said the location of the proposed homeless shelter would not be ideal for the homeless population because of topography and proximity to services, Crestol said.

“It’s about two to three miles uphill, there’s not a lot of public transportation around, and in the summer, people could suffer heat stroke and freeze in the winter,” Crestol said. “That was the majority consensus, that it’s not beneficial.”

Rosalind Wayman, SCV field deputy for 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger, and Stephanie English, Barger’s justice deputy, were the only county staff members present at the meeting, Wayman confirmed Wednesday.

She said Wednesday that she told the gathered residents at the meeting that Barger did not approve of another homeless shelter, as efforts were already underway to provide additional homeless services in Santa Clarita.

At a county Regional Planning Commission meeting Aug. 1, Commissioner Doug Smith said he believed affordable housing and an emergency homeless housing facility was needed as part of the project.

Commissioner David Louie agreed: “We’ve seen many, many situations where homeless emergency housing has been resisted in that particular community because some residents felt it wasn’t appropriate … all communities need to take on their fair share of emergency home housing. So, I’m going to ask you to reconsider that — that of the 800-plus acres that you have, that you find a location within your development that could accommodate an emergency homeless facility.”

Hunt Braly, a consultant for the developer and a member of the executive committee overseeing the nonprofit homeless services provider, Bridge to Home, said he didn’t see a need for another shelter in the SCV, as a year-round homeless shelter was already in the process of being built.

“We have a site in Santa Clarita that works in the central part of the city, close to public transportation,” he said. “We are working with the county to build that. I do not think there’s a need for two sites for those services.”

The city of Santa Clarita has donated $1 million in land to Bridge to Home, which has also received $700,000 in capital project funding to go toward development of a permanent shelter near Drayton Street and Railroad Avenue.

There had been community meetings earlier this year in which residents complained about traffic concerns if a shelter is to be built, Crestol said. Homeowners also want to make sure the value of their homes won’t go down and the safety of the neighborhood doesn’t change, if a homeless shelter were to be built in the area, he said.

The homeowners made formal plans at the meeting to attend the county public hearing on the development on Nov. 7 in downtown Los Angeles at the Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration.

“(The gathered homeowners) decided at the meeting we’re going to show up and protest against the shelter,” Crestol said.

Crestol said the residents had more mixed feelings about the development, but were primarily focused on making sure the shelter didn’t get approved.

In addition to the housing, the developers also propose nine multi-family lots, 12 water quality basin lots, three water tank lots, one helipad lot, six senior recreation area lots, six linear park lots and nine private park lots, a senior recreation center, 29 lots reserved for open space and 24 private driveways.

Richard Galway, president of the Tesoro Del Valle Master Homeowners Association, could not be reached for comment Wednesday.



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