By a 4-to-1 vote, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors voted Tuesday morning to approve the massive Centennial master-planned community project at Tejon Ranch and bring 19,000 new dwellings to the Southern California region.

According to the Los Angeles Times, at the meeting, Supervisor Kathryn Barger described the project as a forward-looking development that will help address California’s housing problem, while Supervisor Sheila Kuehl cast the dissenting vote, voicing concerns about fire in the area, especially in light of the recent blazes in Paradise and Malibu.

The development, located in a wilderness area on the border between Los Angeles and Kern counties, has been hotly debated among locals and ecologists. Some environmental groups, urban planners and land-use experts have argued that the 270,000-acre Centennial, located nearly 70 miles northwest of downtown Los Angeles, will destroy important natural habitats and exacerbate greenhouse gas emissions as its residents commute to other cities. The site is owned by Tejon Ranch Co.

Overwhelmingly, the Board of Supervisors championed the 19,000-home project as a step in the right direction to solving L.A. County’s housing problem.

In August, the Regional Planning Commission voted 4 to 1 to recommend that the Board of Supervisors certify the project’s environmental impact report and grant the developers land-use plans and permits, based on a set of conditions, including earmarking 15 percent of the units toward affordable housing and employing locals to fill 30 percent of the project’s construction personnel.

Shares of Tejon Ranch Co. closed Tuesday down 42 cents, or 2.5 percent, to $16.60 on the New York Stock Exchange.

Michael Aushenker is a reporter with sister publication San Fernando Valley Business Journal, where this story first appeared.

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