City Council to discuss tobacco moratorium, power shutoffs, Via Princessa extension

Santa Clarita City Hall is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. File photo

The Santa Clarita City Council is expected to review a hefty agenda Tuesday, including on the controversial public safety power shutoffs, the ongoing flavored-tobacco ban and the long-time-coming Via Princessa extension project. 

One month after adopting an urgency ordinance prohibiting new sales of flavored-tobacco products citywide, councilmembers could extend the current 45-day moratorium on the establishment of new tobacco retailers who sell flavored tobacco products to an additional 10 months and 15 days, according to the city staff report. 

The public will have a chance to voice their thoughts before the City Council votes on whether or not to extend the moratorium through Oct. 7, 2020. A ban would allow the city to “protect the public health, safety, and welfare, and to prohibit land uses that may conflict with land-use regulations that a city’s legislative bodies are considering, studying, or intending to study within a reasonable time.”  

The initial moratorium comes in response to a vote by the Los Angeles County adopted on Oct. 1 to ban the sale of all flavored tobacco products in unincorporated areas like Stevenson Ranch and Castaic, following health concerns connected with consumption, especially among youth. 

Four of five councilmembers would need to approve to adopt the urgency ordinance with the extended time, according to the staff report. 

Public safety power shutoffs

Many Santa Clarita Valley residents have experienced public safety power shutoffs, where Southern California Edison and other investor-owned utility companies de-energize electric facilities during elevated weather conditions.

While companies say this is to reduce the risk of electrical infrastructure sparking a wildfire during strong wind and high-temperature conditions, many are voicing that the loss of power is causing dangerous living conditions, as well as affecting schools and businesses. 

Since Oct. 1, Santa Clarita has experienced seven days of shutoffs, and about 10,500 households were affected during a 24-hour shutoff on Oct. 30.

On Tuesday, State. Sen. Scott Wilk, R-Santa Clarita, requested to California Gov. Gavin Newsom and legislative leaders to authorize a special session to investigate the shutoffs, to which the Public Utility Commission of the State of California is expected to accept public comments related to a consideration of an investigation at a special meeting on Nov. 13.

The City Council is expected to discuss the matter on Tuesday. 

Via Princessa extension project

Council members will also look into the proposed Via Princessa East Roadway extension project, which would extend the road from Sheldon Avenue to Golden Valley Road and offer a vital east-west connection to improve traffic congestion for the SCV. 

The road would be about 1.2 miles in length and consist of a six-lane highway with a 14-foot raised landscaped median, a 10-foot sidewalk on both sides and a 12-foot, two-lane bike path along the south side, according to a city staff report. An adjacent residential and commercial development would also be part of the design and construction portion of the project. 

If approved, Tuesday’s vote would approve the purchase of a portion of 2.36-acre parcels to obtain road right-of-way and temporary grading and construction easements for the project at a total cost of $330,000, the staff report read. The land is currently owned by Jemstreet Via Princessa, LLC. 

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