Planning Commission to consider new zoning regulations to help increase jobs

A section of wall is lifted into place behind the white tent erected for the special event to announce progress on the The Center at Needham Ranch in Santa Clarita on Tuesday, November 2018. Dan Watson/The Signal

The Santa Clarita Planning Commission is scheduled to look into a proposed plan Tuesday that would allow for enhanced development opportunities with the goal, among others, to create more jobs locally.

Commissioners are set to open a public hearing and discuss the implementation of the Jobs Creation Overlay Zone, or JCOZ, before recommending an action to the City Council.

“The JCOZ would allow for streamlined development opportunities within specific, targeted areas of the city to achieve goals outlined in the General Plan,” reads the city staff report.

The Santa Clarita General Plan, which provides a long-range policy guideline for future development, has three main goals: to create two jobs for each new housing unit built within the city since the plan’s creation in 2011, to create 1.5 jobs for each new housing unit within Santa Clarita since the city’s incorporation and to reduce the volume of those who commute outside of the city for work.

To achieve those goals, the JCOZ would implement strategies such as streamlining the current permit process for qualifying projects and allow for increased building height without a conditional use permit.  

The new regulations will help increase and bring high-paying jobs, said Jason Crawford, manager of economic development with the city.

“We’re also now working with big industries including with film studios and their business buildings require certain heights,” he added. “Right now they have to go through the CUP (conditional use permit) process and that takes a long time. It’s costly and it’s not guaranteed. This (JCOZ) provides confidence, certainty and cuts red tape. It also brings jobs and keeps people off the freeways from commuting to jobs outside of Santa Clarita.”

The overlay zone would only apply to qualify office and industrial building projects in areas including the Valencia Town Center, Needham Ranch, Centre Pointe and Tourney Road.

Businesses have since expressed their support for the new zoning rules, saying the proposal will continue building Santa Clarita as a “business-friendly” city.

If approved by commissioners Tuesday, the City Council will consider approving the proposed JCOZ in June.

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