Planners look at mixed-use project in Saugus  


Santa Clarita city planners are considering a new mixed-use project just north of Cinema Drive on Bouquet Canyon Road that would add a 50-foot, four-story building with a fifth-floor deck in a lot next to an International House of Pancakes in Saugus. 

“The building would be constructed in the parking lot behind the existing IHOP building, and would include approximately 7,230 square feet of ground-floor commercial space, with 26 one-bedroom apartments and four live-work one-bedroom apartments on the floors above,” according to an email from Patrick Leclair, planning manager for the city of Santa Clarita.  

The project is not subject to a Planning Commission review, but will have a public-notice period, according to city planners. The plans are still in the application phase, according to officials.

The plans for the rooftop deck include a private outdoor space with barbecues, tables and restrooms for residents of the building.  

The applicant, Harvard 826 Property LLC, has the same listed principle, Robert Neman, and registered address as Madison Group, a Beverly Hills-based developer that didn’t necessarily have a long history of developing in Santa Clarita, according to planners. A website listed for the company lists projects built from Melrose to the San Fernando Valley. 

There was no answer to messages left for numbers listed online for both Neman and Madison Group as of this story’s publication. 

The building would go in an area of the city that’s zoned as a mixed-use corridor, according to planners, with listed addresses for the project as 26111 to 26135 Bouquet Canyon Road. 

The minor use permit being sought is the result of the project not taking up the minimum amount of commercial space allowable for the project, which can be for a number of reasons, according to Jason Crawford, director of community development for the city of Santa Clarita. 

The applicant might have wanted slightly more residential space, or it might have been a consideration regarding the parking for the project, as each unit, whether business or residential, has certain requirements. As long as the applicant can explain why it makes sense for the project, it could be granted by the commission. 

“Mixed-use zoning plans for that balance,” Crawford said, referring to a project that creates a live-work space. “With mixed-use projects like this one, we’re actively trying to balance development so that we’re getting places for people to live and places for people to work or shop or eat.”  

The project adequately meets the parking requirements as far as the city’s codes are concerned, but the permit request “requires a public noticing period prior to any decision being made on the project.” 

“This project is currently going through the Planning Division’s review process to ensure compliance with the city’s regulations,” Leclair wrote. “Once the review process is complete, there will be a public notice set out to allow for an opportunity for the public or interested parties to provide input on the project.” 

The developer is planning the construction of 41 new parking stalls on the southwest portion of the site, which meet the city’s code requirements, but already the project has drawn some concern.  

Reena Newhall, the manager for the adjacent Cinema Drive business park just north of the proposed site, expressed concern at last week’s City Council meeting about what she considers an already scarce parking situation for her and her neighbors. The current shortage already results in the neighboring Las Flores apartments tenants and visitors using their lot.  

“I definitely want (the community) to know about it,” Newhall said Monday, adding she was speaking to the council to make sure all of her affected neighbors are notified. “And there’s no way that what they put in will have enough parking. That’s my main concern: Where are they going to put the people?” 

Daniel Lavalle, proprietor of the Numero Uno in Santa Clarita Plaza, echoed a similar concern as Newhall did, shortly after lunchtime Monday.  

“There’s just not enough parking,” he said. 

The project is considered market-rate housing, according to city officials.

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