Our View | New City Zone Will Boost Jobs/Housing Balance

By The Signal Editorial Board

There’s no denying the Santa Clarita Valley has grown by leaps and bounds over the past several decades. Some see that as a good thing, while others believe their home should be the last one built here.

Regardless, the growth will continue. With that growth, there’s an opportunity to create a more self-sustaining community, a place where people’s homes and jobs can be in close proximity, eliminating the hassle and expense of commuting south.

The Santa Clarita City Council on Tuesday took an important step toward accomplishing that. 

The council voted 4-1 to create the Jobs Creation Overlay Zone, a modification to the city’s commercial and industrial zoning rules to make it easier for property owners to create new office and industrial spaces in eight key areas, with an eye toward attracting industries like aerospace, biomedical, technology and entertainment.

Don’t let the dissenting vote fool you: Councilman Bill Miranda, who voted no, only did so because he was hoping the JCOZ would go a little further than it did. The council is united on the general principles. In short, the JCOZ will streamline permitting and create design incentives to maximize additional square footage, building height and job creation.

One key provision is it will allow such projects to be built up to five stories tall without the time-consuming and expensive conditional use permit process. Miranda, in dissenting, wanted the council to accept the suggestions of business leaders, including the SCV Economic Development Corp., to allow for six stories instead of five.

The goal is to create two new jobs for each housing unit built, which would dramatically improve the jobs-housing balance and enable many residents to drastically shorten their commutes. 

It amounts to a recognition that this is no longer a sleepy suburb. That may not suit everyone’s tastes, but it will create a more balanced community and greater quality of life.

Yes, it means some taller office and industrial buildings. But it also means  more jobs and shorter commutes.

We’ll gladly take that trade. 

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