Sand Canyon Resort to go before City Council

Site plan 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

An appeal for the Sand Canyon Resort project proposed by Sand Canyon Country Club owner Steve Kim is set to go before the Santa Clarita City Council Tuesday.

The discussion follows the Santa Clarita Planning Commission’s 5-0 vote to deny the project last month. Kim is asking the council to overturn the decision.

The proposed hotel, inn and related amenities would be built to enhance the current Sand Canyon Country Club and golf course, sitting on approximately 50 acres of land north of Robinson Ranch Road and east of Sand Canyon Road.

The Planning Commission’s denial of the project was based on several “major issues,” including a 1996 decision by the council to preserve into perpetuity approximately 300 acres in Sand Canyon as recreational open space, as well as the Sand Canyon Special Standards District, which is meant to preserve the equestrian character of the neighborhood, according to Hai Nguyen, a city associate planner.

However, Kim said the project’s environmental impact report did not find any non-mitigatable impacts and that its proposed benefits to the community should have been considered in the Planning Commission’s decision.

“They talked about zone changes and special districts, but they didn’t talk about any of the benefits to the community at all,” Kim said.

Of those benefits, Kim said the five-star resort is not only expected to bring additional tourism to the area, but will also increase housing values, create several hundred new jobs and lead to an increase in the annual local economy by $57 million, per a Santa Clarita Valley Economic Development Corp. report.

The project also requires a zone change that the Planning Commission is not authorized to make, which the City Council is set to vote on.

Local residents have been among those in opposition of the project, including Alex Guerrero, Sand Canyon resident and chairman of the Stop Sand Canyon Resort Task Force, who said he hopes the City Council will continue to hear their voices.

“The process has shown that average citizens have the right to assert their rights and stand up against billionaire developers, so we’re really excited about that,” Guerrero said. “The Planning Commission voted unanimously to deny the zoning change — citing many reasons to oppose, and not one to approve — so as we go into City Council, what we’re hoping is that once they review the Planning Commission’s recommendation, the 1996 resolution … and the overwhelming opposition by its constituents, that they’ll come to the right conclusion (Tuesday) night. It’s been a long road, but we’re here.”

The regular meeting of the City Council is scheduled 6 p.m. Tuesday in the council chambers on the first floor of City Hall, located at 23920 Valencia Blvd.

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