Stop Sand Canyon Resort task force welcomes 200-plus in attendance

More than 200 Sand Canyon residents attended a 'Stop the Sand Canyon Resort' task force meeting Tuesday, Sept. 11 to voice their concerns at the Church of the Canyons. Tammy Murga/ The Signal
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More than 200 of the 2,000-plus Sand Canyon residents gathered Wednesday to discuss how their quiet, rural community could change with the addition of a proposed 77-acre resort.

“Tonight is not about any one individual or any kind of protest. It’s about what is it that’s being proposed at the golf course,” said Alex Guerrero, chairman of the Stop Sand Canyon Resort Task Force, which hosted the meeting and was recently formed to stop the plans.

The golf course, known as the Sand Canyon Country Club, is a 200-acre property owned by Los Angeles resident Steve Kim. If approved with the necessary zone changes by Santa Clarita City Council, it would transform the facility into the Sand Canyon Resort and Spa, with amenities such as hotels, villas, ballrooms, gym and spa facilities and outdoor recreation. The project site is located on the northeast corner of Sand Canyon Road and Robinson Ranch Road. 

Kim, who gave officials a tour of the project site, has scheduled a meeting of his own to offer the public an update on the project, which is currently in the planning stages, Thursday at 6 p.m. at the country club, which is located at 27734 Sand Canyon Road. 

“This will be the best destination in Los Angeles County,” Kim said in a previous interview with The Signal. “Everybody will say, ‘Wow!’”

The two-hour meeting broke down the top concerns by those in opposition: emergency evacuations, infrastructure, special standards district and zone changes. 

Emergency evacuations

Safety is among the main concerns Sand Canyon residents have reiterated since hearing about the proposed resort. 

In 2016, homeowners found themselves stuck in their neighborhood as they attempted to escape the Sand Fire, which burned for nearly two weeks and burned through more than 41,000 acres. Should a resort of this size be built, some residents feel traffic would increase and severely clog streets during an emergency. 

Kim stated the resort would serve as a shelter should a similar situation occur, in a previous interview, but Mark Whaling, a retired Los Angeles County Fire Department captain, said the idea “looks good on paper, but works terrible in reality,” due to smoke from potential fires and the possibility of not having electricity to power any necessities. 

A special standards district

Sand Canyon was officially established as a special standards district by the city of Santa Clarita in 1992, meaning the area must maintain a rural and equestrian character. 

But project opponents feel the proposal could threaten their lifestyle with the construction of multistory buildings, additional streetlights and noise from any future events. Resident Susan Carey questioned the city’s enforcement in preserving the area’s special standards district. 

“Why aren’t the special standards district being cited by the city to stop or discourage this project? That’s a good question,” she said. “Instead of that happening … we’re being told by project supporters that we, Sand Canyon residents, we will just have to adjust our lives to accommodate this commercial facility and get used to more traffic, constant noise and thousands of visitors coming in and out of the canyon every day.” 

The surrounding area is already growing with upcoming developments, such as Vista Canyon, with an estimated 1,000 housing units, and the Sand Canyon Plaza, with about 580 residential units. Attendees said there is enough activity going on already, and the addition of a resort would obliterate what remains of a rural lifestyle. 

“There’s really not much left out here that’s rural and, God forbid, you should have one spot. Why not just keep this rural?” said longtime resident Dan Boyle. 

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