Sand Canyon Resort project to return before commissioners with revisions

Visual simulation of the Sand Canyon resort project as proposed on the northeast corner of Sand Canyon Road and Robinson Ranch Road. Courtesy of the city of Santa Clarita, MGS Architecture and MVE + Partners, Inc.

The Sand Canyon Resort project is scheduled to return before Santa Clarita Planning Commission Tuesday with a series of revisions, following multiple concerns raised by both commissioners and residents. 

Sand Canyon Country Club owner Steve Kim wants to add a resort and spa across 77 acres of his 300-acre country club on the northeast corner of Sand Canyon Road and Robinson Ranch Road. 

The proposal consists of four three-story hotels with a combined 322 rooms; 14 two-story villas; nine one-story villas, multiple dining options and outdoor recreation for trails, swimming, tennis and pickleball, and an existing 27-hole golf course. The plans also call for the removal of 21 non-heritage oak trees. A zone change from “open space” to “community commercial” for two of the four site lots is also proposed. 

After receiving feedback from commissioners and opposition from some Sand Canyon residents during a Jan. 19 hearing, when the Planning Commission granted an extended comment period on the project’s draft environmental impact report, Kim made changes he is expected to propose Tuesday. 

Among them is the removal of the nine one-story villas located on the western portion of the project site, or Lot 2, which would shrink the lot from 31.17 to 24 acres and remove 12 non-heritage oak trees instead of 21. This move falls under an alternative project that would be environmentally superior to the proposed project, according to the draft EIR. 

Commissioners are expecting to hear back from the developer regarding questions raised over fire evacuations, open space, traffic and a 2019 market demand study they thought needed updating due to the hospitality industry being impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“In light of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) global pandemic, we believe that the economic and hotel landscapes have changed significantly and considerably in the nearly two years since the issuance of CBRE’s report,” read a Feb. 18 memo to the city from real estate company CBRE, which conducted the March 2019 analysis on the project. The company said it would prefer to wait before completing a new study “until we have a better understanding of how quickly vaccines can be rolled out” and “corporate and social group travel patterns (are) likely to impact the viability of the subject resort in approximately three to six months’ time.”

Kim has said the resort would bring about 500 jobs to the area and an economic impact of $57 million per year to the city.

The project is scheduled to return once again before commissioners on May 18, when city staff is expected to issue a recommendation.

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