Regional planners: Housing project near Castaic High School needs work

File Photo. Construction continues at a feverish pace in preparation for the the opening of Castaic High School in one year. Cory Rubin/The Signal

Regional planners reviewing a plan to build 137 homes next to Castaic High School presented developers with a checklist of to-do items, seeking, among other things, a bigger recreation area and a reduction in the number of oak trees to be cut down.

On Thursday, members of the Subdivision Committee of the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning reviewed the sixth revised map of the project presented by the developers calling for a suburban community on the doorstep of the new high school.

While the housing project is in its early stages of development, Allen B. Russell — one of the owner/applicants for the project — sees a bright future for Castaic, the school and the families expected to move into his new homes.

“We’ve had the property for a while,” Russell said, calling his housing project “great for the community.”

Once complete, the school and the project will be neighbors on Canyon Hill Road. At the moment, Canyon Hill Road is called the Castaic High School East Access Road.

The high school, set to open next fall, is state of the art, Russell said, noting his housing project requires more time to address and satisfy the concerns expressed by members of the Subdivision Committee.

The housing project also calls for two open space lots, four recreation lots and 14 facility lots.

Russell and others listed as owner/applicants for the project still require the county’s permission to cut down some oak trees and encroach on other oak trees. They also need a conditional use permit to level some of the pronounced hilltops near the school.

They intend to grade 1.2 million cubic yards of earth.

Members of the Subdivision Committee who reviewed the project Thursday represent county agencies that have stakes in the project, including: Regional Planning, Public Works, Parks and Recreation, Public Health and the Los Angeles County Fire Department.

After receiving the to-do list of actions ordered by the committee, the developer is expected to address the required actions and then return to the committee for another review.

In looking at the project’s impact on the environment, the committee concluded: “Technical reports must be reviewed and approved in order to substantiate items in the draft initial (environmental) study.”

As per the applicant’s request to cut down oak trees in order to build the homes, the committee said: “Oak trees proposed to be removed must be preserved and the protected zones observed.”

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