The L.A. County Board of Supervisors is expected to deny an appeal and approve the Sterling Ranch Estates development Tuesday during its public hearings that begin at 9:30 a.m.
Hunt Williams, who represented the project when it was approved by the Department of Regional Planning in August, said the project, which is west of the Valencia Commerce Center and with open space below it that’s just north of Chiquita Canyon, fills a real need for the state right now in terms of the housing crisis.
The plans call for 222 homes on 114 acres. The project is the latest stage of a development that’s been 40 years in the making, Williams said Aug. 30, and part of the Sterling Gateway project that’s already created about 3,000 jobs for the area.
“I’m fulfilling the promise I made to my grandfather and this community,” he said during the previous hearing, in which he reviewed the history of his family’s acquisition and development of the land, which started with Williams’ grandfather, Theodore K. Sterling, whom Williams called a pioneer of the area in the 1940s. Sterling also discovered the Castaic Hills Oil Field, Williams said, which, according to SCVHistory.com, has produced more than 1 million barrels of oil and 1.3 billion cubic feet of gas since its first drilling.
A letter of support from a neighboring interest urging approval cited the promise of a 1 million-gallon water tank, as well as a community park and hiking trails that all will bring community benefits in addition to the much-needed housing.
Support letters also came from the Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians, SCV Trail Users and Bridge to Home, which was pledged a $888,000 gift — $4,000 for each home being built — as an offering by the developer.
While Planning Commissioner Elvin Moon asked about the potential for the developer including affordable housing for the project, the developer noted the donation was an offering to help, but the project was entitled prior to more recent state laws that may have required an affordable-housing component.
A pair of residents and Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and Environment, or SCOPE, filed an appeal of the project shortly after its approval, citing concerns about the plans’ proximity to Chiquita Canyon Landfill, which is currently under emergency abatement orders for a public nuisance due to odors, and the concern for the area’s status as being in a high severity fire hazard zone.
A response letter from counsel for the projects called the ongoing Chiquita situation a nuisance to be abated as opposed to a health hazard. However, county officials have yet to officially clear the landfill of health concerns.