by Rob Werner
Before the City of Santa Clarita was created, residents knew that we were destined to become a big city. This knowledge allowed the city to have long range plans and take actions to ensure the city both had numerous amenities and did not become a concrete jungle.
It led to some limitations on development and the setting aside of land for community needs. This includes the green boundary, hiking trails, the network of bike trails, larger streets with green meridians and numerous parks.
Sometimes what we get is a mixed blessing. Like all political entities the city is subject to influence from major developers, especially Newhall land and Farming. The City’s desire to obtain a mall and the developer’s claim of excessive costs led to granting tax incentives to a company that owned land surrounding the mall. This resulted in massive increases in the value of the land. No tax incentive was needed. It has also been claimed that this developer used the city to stop the development of a proposed competing mall in Canyon Country.
Early residents knew that we would ultimately need an East to West freeway connecting the 14 to the 5. Despite the knowledge, constant demand and numerous studies, the City failed to achieve the construction of such a freeway. Instead, we were given the Cross-Valley Connector. When it was first completed it eased some traffic issues. However, the connectors primary purpose seems to have been opening new parcels for development.
As new developments are constructed adjacent to the connector, more traffic accumulates and there are more demands for additional stops to service all these developments. Owners of property adjacent to the connector were the primary beneficiary. They gained millions in increased property values. We would have been served better had we designated it as a highway and required developers of adjoining properties to pay for on ramps so that traffic flow was not impeded.
We still have enough, undeveloped land to build a stadium or coliseum. But as our city grows our options for where to place it diminish. We still face the fact that monies and power interests remain focused on the west side of our valley. These same interests face a conflict as more profit may be derived from building homes and commercial sites then from utilizing available lands for a stadium.
West side developers also might become an obstacle to development of a coliseum on the east side of the valley as such could result in an increase in values and interest in further developments to the east.
There is an undeveloped area on the east side of the valley which may be an ideal spot for a stadium. On the south side of the 14-freeway heading toward Palmdale, there are sand mining areas. This includes the area desired for the Cemex mine. After years of litigation the City finally prevailed in its efforts to stop the mine. However, the success was short lived as Cemex has filed new litigation.
If this land could be utilized for a stadium, the development might be able to compensate Cemex and end the litigation. Furthermore, the area has nearby rail lines and there is adequate surrounding undeveloped land so that the stadium could be connected by a network of rail lines providing easy access from anywhere in Los Angeles County. There are also vast amounts of undeveloped lands surrounding the site that could be used for hotels and commercial establishments.
Let’s start planning the development of a stadium now!