When asked who opposed the proposed 77-acre Sand Canyon Resort and Spa, most of the estimated 200 people in attendance at a meeting Thursday hosted by the developer raised their hands.
“The majority of people in this canyon are against your resort,” resident Michael Hogan said to Steve Kim, owner of the Sand Canyon Country Club. Kim plans to turn the 200-acre property into what he has dubbed “the best destination in Los Angeles County.”
The project is currently in the planning stages, but if approved by the Santa Clarita City Council, the resort would offer multi-story hotels, ballrooms, villas and outdoor recreation in a “low-profile” manner, according to Kim.
The meeting welcomed supporters and opponents of the project with wine, appetizers and project renderings at the country club for an evening of “update(s) on the project but also a chance to let them (the pubic) talk,” said Kim.
Intended as a relaxed, open discussion, multiple attendees left in the middle of the gathering as several others began to shout and “boo” the developer and supporters.
“You say you’re coming in here to put it on the map and increase our property values and to make this a place everybody wants to come. Everybody that lives here is against it. May I ask, how many people in here are against this resort?” Hogan questioned, speaking in opposition Wednesday during a Stop Sand Canyon Resort task force meeting. More than 200 of the estimated 2,000-plus Sand Canyon residents attended Wednesday’s meeting, as well.
Several Sand Canyon residents who attended Wednesday’s meeting arrived at Kim’s gathering in search of answers to their top concerns, ranging from public safety to zone changes.
Worries over the possibility of losing the quiet and rural characteristics of their neighborhood, some questioned why Kim is deciding to change the property’s current zoning from open space to community commercial zone, which would allow for increases and variations in building types and uses.
“I don’t know about this open or zone changes and all,” said Kim. “That’s for, I guess, eventually, you know, the city will decide what’s good for the area for now and zone changes.”
Others asked about emergency evacuations, as residents have expressed concern that a 77-acre resort would only increase traffic if homeowners would have to escape a wildfire. In 2016, many found themselves at a standstill for about two hours during the Sand Fire.
Kim, who said he would offer the resort as a shelter should a similar incident occur, said Thursday, “In case of disasters, whether it be earthquakes, fires or floods, or whatever it is, I really don’t have clear answer for that,” and added he would look into solutions with experts.
Residents Greg and Angie Bilson, who live in the Robinson Ranch development, left before the meeting concluded.
“I think something would be a great idea. I don’t think Mr. Kim is the right person, and this project is much too large for this area,” said Greg, who has been a member of the country club for 10 years. “This (country club) has not been extremely successful, and he’s talking about something that’s 1,000 times the size of this. That concerns me. If this hasn’t been successful at this level, how on earth is it going to be successful at that next level?”
But not all agree with Greg’s opinion. Attendee Stu Miller said the club has improved since Kim purchased the property in April 2016.
The project remains in the planning stages. Several steps, including public input and recommendations from the city’s Planning Commission, would be required before the City Council could vote on whether to approve the development.
Kim said he hopes to have their vote by the end of the year and break ground in spring 2020.