City Council weighs in on proposed homeless shelter in Tesoro Del Valle Project

TimBen Boydston, a former Santa Clarita councilman and current City Council candidate, among the speakers at the Oct. 23, 2018 City Council meeting. Tammy Murga/ The Signal
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The Santa Clarita City Council weighed in Tuesday on the L.A. County Regional Planning Commission’s consideration of adding a homeless shelter to the Tesoro Del Valle Project — a shelter that the office of county 5th District Supervisor Kathryn Barger said “is never going to happen.”

The project’s developer has also previously expressed opposition to the proposal, which was suggested by members of the county Planning Commission during the approval process this past summer.

The City Council voted unanimously to direct city staff to draft a letter to the county’s Planning Commission outlining what the city has done so far in tackling homelessness and highlighting the city’s position that “a secondary shelter is not necessary.”

“The county planners probably don’t know all the work that’s being done in Santa Clarita around this issue,” said Councilman Cameron Smyth. “By moving forward with this item, we can use it to outline all of the things that the city has done.”

“I know that the hope is that we’re able to go full-time…in having the (Bridge to Home) shelter,”  he added.

The Tesoro Del Valle project addition, if approved by the county, would be built north of Valencia, between West Creek and San Francisquito Canyon, in an unincorporated area of the county.

As last presented to the L.A. County Regional Planning Commission in August, the proposed development is about 1,200 acres and includes 820 homes, associated public facilities and dedicated open space.

Somewhere in that development, two Regional Planning Commission members said they not only wanted the developers to include affordable housing, but also a homeless shelter.

Since that last consideration in August, Barger aides have indicated the supervisor would not support such a requirement.

On Monday, Barger spokesman Tony Bell said, “Supervisor Barger has said the project doesn’t exist and the project is never going to happen. We have a great facility already, and that’s Bridge to Home.”

Peggy Edwards, president of Bridge to Home’s board of directors, the nonprofit organization that manages the homeless shelter in Santa Clarita, requested that the City Council oppose the incorporation of an onsite homeless shelter at the Tesoro Del Valle project. The city has transferred more than $1 million worth of property adjacent to the current Bridge to Home location to help the nonprofit qualify for Measure H funding, which would help it turn to a year-round facility.

If an onsite shelter does happen in Tesoro, efforts toward the expansion of Bridge to Home and funding would be “significantly diluted,” according to the city agenda report.

Members of the public said they opposed an additional shelter in Tesoro, but strongly urged that the City Council expedite the process of building the year-round facility.

“The county decided they’re going to put (a homeless shelter) as one of the conditions because you don’t seem to be building the shelter all these years,” said TimBen Boydston, a former Santa Clarita councilman and current City Council candidate. “Tesoro is the wrong location… but we need to build the shelter.”

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