City releases updates to Sand Canyon Resort project; comment period now open

Courtesy image This rendering depicts a planned two-story, 100-room resort hotel with a wellness center, spa and fitness center on the first floor, and yoga and meditation deck upstairs.
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Following up on the October scoping meeting for the proposed Sand Canyon Resort, city officials have provided updates to plans for the project and a new opportunity for public input.

On Tuesday, the city of Santa Clarita released a revised notice of preparation (NOP) for the project’s environmental impact report (EIR), which was originally circulated between October and November.
The revised notice includes changes to the project description and a new project area, which details a larger water quality basin located south of Robinson Ranch Road, according to Hai Nguyen, associate planner for the city.

“Since the first circulation of the NOP, we’ve been plugging away at the EIR, just processing the document, writing drafts and evaluating studies,” he said. “We realized that the project has changed since October and wanted to recirculate the NOP to accurately cover the project area and provide some details on some of the updates since October.”

The comment period will last until May 2.

Sand Canyon Resort, previously at 75 acres, is now a proposed 77-acre resort and spa project located at 27734 Sand Canyon Road, at the northeast corner of Sand Canyon Road and Robinson Ranch Road. The existing water-quality detention basin is proposed to increase by nearly 1 acre, enlarged to 1.9 acres and connected to the new resort project via a new storm drain pipe, according to the revised NOP.

Nguyen said the change in size for the basin is “necessary for all big projects. The engineers have to calculate runoff in order to capture water runoff.”

Some changes in the project description include both the addition and subtraction of square footage to several features listed in the concept plan, including three, three-story buildings with 81 rooms totaling approximately 50,000 square feet of space, instead of two, three-story structures with 72 rooms at 50,620 square feet.

Plans that have changed also include a more than 9,000-square-foot increase to the main hotel, larger ballrooms and reduced space for outdoor recreation and spa, gym and salon facilities.

In October, approximately 60 residents submitted comments regarding the proposed project’s EIR. A bulk of concerns by attendees revolved around the size of the resort and the potential effects it would have in changing Sand Canyon’s “rural and equestrian” lifestyle.

John Paladin, one of the respondents, said at the meeting that “as the city grows, open space is important to the people that live there. This development will create too many car trips, and that’s not consistent with the neighborhood.”

These views have not changed since finding out that the project has grown in size, according to Ruthann Levison, Sand Canyon Homeowners Association president.

“Everyone’s concerned that it’s gotten even bigger,” she said. “The primary thing that concerns me is that we are a special standards district and it seems like it’s an inappropriate place to put this project there.”

Others in support have said the project will bring a variety in terms of entertainment to that end of the Santa Clarita Valley.

Some of the environmental factors noted as potentially affected by the resort project include aesthetics, noise, agricultural and forestry resources, air quality and transportation and traffic, the NOP said.

Nguyen said he expects the city will receive additional responses during the new comment period. The next step will be to continue to draft the EIR as further information is collected to potentially schedule a hearing with the Planning Commission.

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