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Thursday, May 19, 2022

Massive Newhall Ranch Project Wins Approvals

Half of the massive Newhall Ranch development project sailed through approvals Tuesday at a public hearing by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

All but one of the supervisors supported the Mission Village and the Landmark Village, two subdivisions that are part of Newhall Ranch, one of the largest projects proposed in L.A. County. The development would bring 21,500 residential units and 11.5 million square feet of commercial and industrial space to the Santa Clarita Valley.

Entitlements of each project were approved individually. In total, the two subdivisions approved Tuesday will bring about 5,500 housing units and 2.5 million square feet of commercial space to the northern part of L.A. County, and would be developed by Five Point Holdings in Aliso Viejo.

The Newhall Ranch project was approved 10-plus years ago by the county. But last year, the state’s Supreme Court determined that an environmental impact report prepared for the project by the Army Corps of Engineers and the California Department of Fish and Wildlife didn’t sufficiently analyze potential greenhouse gas emissions and protection measures for an endangered fish species.

In response to the emissions issue, Five Point proposed to build Newhall Ranch as a zero-net greenhouse gas emissions community. Through measures within and outside the community, the plan was approved by the Department of Fish and Wildlife and L.A. County’s Department of Regional Planning. Newhall’s plan to protect the endangered fish during construction was also approved.

Chief Executive of Five Point, Emile Haddad, said in an interview with the Business Journal after the hearing that he felt proud of the approvals

“This goes beyond getting another project approval,” Haddad said. “This will be the standard in how you build communities and create housing without creating additional emissions.”

Numerous businesses, business groups and others, including partners with Five Point on the net zero aspect of the project, spoke in support of the project at the hearing, largely commending the company on the net zero elements, which took center stage.

However, those opposing the project also spoke at the hearing, and questioned the sustainability of the net zero greenhouse gas emissions. The other concerns included whether the area had sufficient water to support the massive project.

“If we had had this project, I don’t know how we would have made it through this last drought,” said Lynne Plambeck, president of the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning the Environment.

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