Planners to consider extending plan for senior condo complex near Towsley

Oak trees on a currently undeveloped piece of land off of the Old Road and Sagecrest Circle will be removed to make way for a development. Katharine Lotze/The Signal

For each of the past six years, developers planning to build a senior condo complex near Towsley Canyon on The Old Road have asked regional planners for more time to keep the project alive, and on Tuesday they’ll ask again.

Officials representing the developer DR Horton are scheduled to have their request for a one-year time extension heard by the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning.

DR Horton representatives could not be reached Thursday for comment.

Planners, who have approved time extensions for the project every year since at least 2013, are expected to grant the time extension, keeping the project alive until at least Aug. 25, 2020.

The public meeting takes place in the Hall of Records, 320 W. Temple Street, Los Angeles, beginning at 9 a.m.

The Lyons Canyon Project calls for 185 proposed dwelling units — made up of 92 single-family homes and 93 condos for seniors. It was initially approved to have 162 oak trees cut down and permitted encroachment on 54 others. The revised plan calls for 147 oak trees cut down and 53 trees encroached upon.

For opponents of the project, a lot has happened since the project was initially approved in 2003, changes they say should give planners pause before making their decision.

Lynne Plambeck, president of the local environmental group Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment (SCOPE) said Thursday her objections remain unchanged and, if anything, have deepened in light of climate change considerations expected of developers and of purposeful power outages, which she said could leave seniors stranded during a wildfire evacuation.

“We would oppose it for the same reasons we did last time,” Plambeck said Thursday. “It is really a bad project, for all the reasons cited since 2006, only they are even worse now because of the increased fire danger.”

“We were always concerned about how to get seniors out of there in the event of a fire,” she said.

“Now that they’re carrying out power outages, how will that affect them?” she said, referring to the practice by Southern California Edison called the Public Safety Power Shut Off.

This past fire season, the utility cut power to certain areas when the risk of wildfires was elevated.

At a regional planning meeting in January, one member of the county planning department’s subdivision committee — representing the Fire Prevention Division of the Los Angeles County Fire Department — described the housing project site as a “very high fire hazard severity zone.”

The representative asked that a fuel modification plan be put together and submitted before any building permit is issued.

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