On Dec. 11, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voiced its intent to approve the Centennial Specific Plan. The project would place more than 19,000 new homes in the far northwestern portion of the county on the state’s most precious remaining native grassland and wildflower habitat. Future homes would be built in an area with high fire danger and the development would require extremely long one-way commutes averaging 45-60 miles.
Ample, recent information has come to light that necessitates a reconsideration of Centennial’s impending approval.
First, the realization that residents of Santa Clarita endure the sixth longest commute in the U.S. should call into question the approval of a project that will add more than 600 million commuter miles to area roadways each year. The increased traffic from Centennial will be stacked upon future traffic from other approved projects including Newhall Ranch.
Second, a letter submitted to the county last month by the California Air Resources Board questions Centennial’s greenhouse gas emission analysis and the legality of its proposed mitigation. Now is not the time to permit a project that will exacerbate local traffic while spewing millions of tons of greenhouse gases and pollutants into the atmosphere each year.
Lastly, on Dec. 19, the Board of Supervisors recognized the “new normal” of wildfires in Southern California and called for a study to analyze how the county can learn from and respond better to future conflagrations like the Woolsey Fire. At a minimum, the building of homes for more than 60,000 people in an area with high fire danger should be stalled until this study is completed and its findings are incorporated into Centennial’s plans.
The trifecta of traffic, greenhouse gases and fire should call into serious question the approval of Centennial. I encourage you to tell the Board of Supervisors to send Centennial back to the drawing board until it can address and mitigate for these critical issues.
Analyst, California Native Plant Society