Attorney who withdrew Patios Connections appeal declines to offer details

Renderings show the Costco entrance, with a glimpse of the luxury cinema and fitness center on the top level. Courtesy of Westfield Valencia Town Center
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While confirming an appeal to halt the expansion of the Westfield Valencia Town Center was rescinded, the attorney behind the appeal declined to provide details into why he withdrew it. 

Tal Finney, who sent a letter to the city of Santa Clarita on Jan. 31 appealing the Patios Connection project, said Wednesday via email the “appeal was withdrawn, and I am stuck in Thailand due to the coronavirus quarantines here.” 

The appeal was recently rescinded, which means the City Council will no longer discuss the matter as it had planned to at a future meeting. Instead, the project will continue as the Santa Clarita Planning Commission unanimously approved the project on Jan. 21, according to Jason Crawford, a city planning manager. 

When asked if the withdrawal was due to COVID-19 complications, he said, “it’s not because I am here. All the courts are also responding to the concerns raised by the coronavirus.” 

Finney filed the appeal with the city on behalf of the Santa Clarita Safe and Strong group, which he said is made up of residents who reside near the mall and believe they “may be adversely affected by the potential traffic, air quality, soil quality, groundwater quality, noise, public health and safety hazards imposed by the project,” according to the five-page letter. 

Mall and city officials, as well as nearby residents, previously said they were unaware of any members of the Santa Clarita Safe and Strong group. 

Westfield officials only provided comment regarding the withdrawal of the appeal, saying that, “We are grateful for the broad-based community support that the project has received and excited to begin work on this dynamic plan for Valencia Town Center,” according to Chris Kitchen, vice president of development with Unibail-Rodamco-Westfield, in a prepared statement. 

The Patios Connection proposal consists of removing the former Sears building and constructing a Costco with rooftop parking, as well as a gas station, health and fitness center, retail and restaurant space, a luxury cinema and the expansion of the existing Canyon music venue. 

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