City Council approves Tesoro pre-annexation

Santa Clarita City Hall, as pictured on February, 26, 2020, is located on the 23900 block of Valencia Blvd. Dan Watson/The Signal

The Santa Clarita City Council approved a pre-annexation agreement with the Tesoro Highlands community on Tuesday.  

The possible Tesoro Highlands annexation, which has had tentative L.A. County approval since 2018, includes 820 residential units and falls entirely within the Tesoro Del Valle annexation area, and runs along the city’s northern boundary north of Copper Hill Drive, west of San Francisquito Canyon Road, south of the Angeles National Forest, and east of the community of West Hills.  

Included in the pre-annexation agreement between the city and the community’s developer, BLC Tesoro LLC, would be the agreement to transfer approximately 770 acres of open space to the city. Should the pre-annexation agreement be finally adopted by the City Council, the maintenance of the land will be paid through an ongoing funding source by the Tesoro developer, with the initial year costing $59,000.  

“This project started back probably in 2010, or before, and it was approved by the county in 2018,” said City Manager Ken Striplin. “The developer wants to annex to the city. However, (they) want to make sure that the process that they’ve gone through with the county stays whole. So, in other words, they don’t want to go through the whole 10 years or 15 years of the county process, and annex to the city and have to start all over again.  

“The pre-annexation agreement basically puts in place the county entitlements that were approved by the Board of Supervisors,” Striplin added.  

The passage of the pre-annexation agreement, which was approved in a 4-0 vote with Councilwoman Marsha McLean being absent from the meeting, means the next steps for annexing the Tesoro Del Valle community would involve staff coordinating with L.A. County and the Local Agency Formation Commission to have the annexation of the Tesoro del Valle community to the city completed by November. The LAFCO is a state-mandated body that regulates municipal boundaries within L.A. County. 

A handful of those who spoke during the meeting objected to the annexation of the land, citing that the homes would not be affordable to the average resident and that this should not be a current priority for the city.  

Others stood in support of the motion, with Dennis Koontz, who sat on the first Santa Clarita City Council and is considered one of Santa Clarita’s founders, speaking in favor of annexing the community.  

“We look forward to seeing that open space annexed into the city and we look forward to the trailhead open space being made part of our trail network in the city, that’s rich and getting richer by the day,” said Anthony Arnold, a longtime Santa Clarita resident and local mountain bike coach. 

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