The Sand Canyon Country Club is once again looking for permission to transform the former site of Robinson Ranch into a “world-class resort” in the quiet equestrian enclave on the east side of the Santa Clarita Valley.
The property’s owner, Steve Kim, is hopeful the new plans, which he said reduced the overall footprint of the project by about 70%, will address the concerns that neighbors have brought in the five years since the proposal was first brought to the city.
“Things are going well,” Kim said over the phone Friday, adding that the new plans call for a much smaller project in response to the community feedback.
Kim first proposed the project in 2018, but ultimately a Planning Commission denial with prejudice was upheld by the City Council in July 2021. That resulted in Kim filing a lawsuit that October, which has since been dropped.
Because of the nature of the denial, Kim needed to wait a year before resubmitting, but he actually held off until May of this year.
Patrick Leclair, city of Santa Clarita planning manager, confirmed the review is in its “beginning stages” in an email Friday.
“The Sand Canyon Resort has filed an application, but it is not scheduled for any public hearings,” Leclair said. “We are in the beginning stages of reviewing the new proposal.”
A few of the highlighted changes in the overview of the plan shared by Kim on Friday included the following: The total number of guest rooms has been reduced from 383 to 295 — including a four-story main hotel with 283 rooms and 12 two-bedroom villas; the total development area has been reduced from 36 to 13.5 acres; the building area was reduced roughly from 400,000 square feet to 255,000 square feet; the proposed ballroom space was reduced by about 17,000 square feet; and all the proposed building structures are located away from the surrounding neighbors, according to information provided by Kim.
The project also includes plans for a Sand Canyon community park with a sculpture garden, an organic farm, walking trails and a dog park, according to information sent by Kim.
Mentioning a few of the residents’ concerns in plans shared with The Signal, Kim said a 20-foot-wide decomposed granite-based access road would connect Robinson Ranch Road to Oak Springs Canyon Road. One of the concerns from area residents the last time the project was reviewed, in addition to a potential loss of open space, was circulation in and out of the semi-rural suburb.
Kim first purchased the property in April 2016, and in July of that year, the Sand Fire burned more than 40,000 acres. Kim wrote that following an extensive $8 million course renovation, the renamed facility opened to the public the following year.
The plans for the Sand Canyon Resort and Spa were first submitted in February 2018, with a series of public discussions that followed, resulting in the previous denial.
Based on the city’s process, Jason Crawford, director of economic development for the city, said in December the plans would be treated as a completely new project in terms of this review.
A spokesman for the group of residents who have organized opposition to the project said they haven’t seen the plans yet but reiterated their perspective that a resort in that neighborhood “is not viable.”
“Traffic will increase exponentially, emergency evacuations like we have had over the last decade will place lives in danger as there is only one way in and one way out, and just because a wealthy developer wants to build a massive hotel on land set aside in perpetuity as open space for the benefit and enjoyment of Santa Clarita residents doesn’t mean he gets to,” wrote Alex Guerrero. “We have rights too and the community will fight this with all of our resources.”