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CITY COUNCIL BEGINS PROCESS TO ANNEX LAND FROM VALENCIA.

Byline: Sherry Joe Crosby Daily News Staff Writer

Despite questions about the city's ability to handle burgeoning development, the City Council has begun annexing a 1,600-acre boot-shaped parcel in Valencia that could bring 5,000 people into Santa Clarita.

On Tuesday, the Council took the first of many steps to annex the Northbridge subdivision and portions of the Valencia Industrial Center.

The Local Agency Formation Commission, which oversees all municipal boundary changes in Los Angeles County, has final say on the annexation area, bordered by Decoro Drive, McBean Parkway, Bouquet Canyon Road and Magic Mountain Parkway.

If approved, the area annexed would include a 955-acre parcel where 1,800 homes are planned around a man-made lake. The property also is the site of a failed condominium proposal, which fizzled after the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning the Environment won a lawsuit last year contending the project would overburden public services.

Now critics fear developer Newhall Land and Farming Co. will try to revive the project in the city, which unlike the county has no development monitoring system and possibly no way of ensuring that its public services will be protected from population growth.

``The biggest issue is not having a (development monitoring system),'' said SCOPE first Vice President Lynne Plambeck, one of several annexation opponents. ``They could bring back the exact same project.''

A development monitoring plan would require developers to offset the effects of population growth on roads, libraries, schools and other public services. Los Angeles County adopted its development monitoring system in the late 1980s.

But Newhall Land officials said they would comply with city development standards and make any necessary changes to the project.

``It's a project we would start over with,'' said Rich Knowland, a Newhall Land project manager. ``The destiny for this area is the city, and this is the beginning of a very lengthy process.''

Opponents also worry the city lacks the tools to protect the Santa Clara River, which runs through the site and has been declared a significant ecological area by the county.
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Copyright 1996, Gale Group. All rights reserved. Gale Group is a Thomson Corporation Company.

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Publication:Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)
Date:Mar 28, 1996
Words:342
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