Planners finish response for Shadowbox’s draft EIR  

Erika Iverson, right, associate planner with the city of Santa Clarita goes over the plans for the 93-acre, Shadowbox Studios project site located near the corner of Railroad Avenue and 13th Street in Newhall in February. 022123. Dan Watson/The Signal
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The city of Santa Clarita released the final draft report on the environmental impacts for Shadowbox Studios, a proposed full-service film and TV production facility in Newhall and Placerita Canyon, at 5 p.m. Friday, according to an email from the city’s Planning Division. 

The document, known as a draft environmental impact review — a requirement when any initial study shows a project could have adverse impacts to its location — involves the years of study that’s gone into the nearly 93-acre, 1.3 million-square-foot development. 

It includes the potential impacts from the project and concerns that have been identified.  

The Planning Commission is expected to hold a fourth public discussion of the project at 6 p.m. July 19 in Council Chambers and its report, which includes six pages that explain the project, 162 pages that go through the details of the report and the initial comments, and another 1,010 pages that entail additional concerns as well as the mitigation efforts that have been identified to lessen the impacts where applicable. 

The questions surrounding the project from the public have largely focused on how traffic and circulation would be impacted, with residents discussing quality-of-life and safety concerns for the project that would put a 24-hour facility next to a relatively quiet enclave that was drawn up as an equestrian community with a special standards district. 

Many working in the industry live in Placerita Canyon, a situation that led to a wide range of feedback on the project. 

Paul Veluzat, a neighboring movie ranch owner who has fought with the homeowners association that governs his community over its gate access, likened Jeff Weber, Shadowbox’s principal, to Santa Clarita’s Santa Claus, because he’s bestowing the city with this beneficial project. 

But Keith Shaw, a 20-year Placerita Canyon resident, said while he wasn’t necessarily opposed to the project, he had concerns about the traffic-circulation report, and questioned whether the city should trust a consultant incentivized by the developer who hired him.  

Much of the previous hourlong June 20 discussion of the project focused on city staff addressing the traffic questions, as well as discussing circulation improvements the city has planned for the area, including the Dockweiler Drive extension. 

The main takeaways for the commission from city staff were that the studio would not be able to open until the completion of; the widening of the rail crossing at 13th Street and Railroad Avenue; the widening of 12th, 13th and Arch streets; the installation of a four-leg signalized intersection at the intersections of 12th and Arch streets, and Arch and 13th streets; and the installation of a three-leg half-signalized intersection of Dockweiler Drive and Placerita Canyon Road. 

Weber identified a 30-month construction timeline for the Shadowbox project, which includes 19 soundstages expected to be about 50 feet in height. 

The corresponding Dockweiler Drive extension, which is a joint project between the city and The Master’s University, which is a neighbor of the project, has identified a two-year timeline, according to city Traffic Engineer Ian Pari. Work is expected to get underway next summer, with the first notifications for the work expected to happen in the fall. 

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