January 30, 1998 - From the January, 1998 issue

Inside Planning: Education and Infrastructure Top Wilson’s 1998 Agenda and more!

Education and Infrastructure Top Wilson's 1998 Agenda 

Pete Wilson placed educational reform and repair of the State's aging infrastructure at the top of his 1998 legislative agenda in his recent State of the State address. The Gov. asked lawmakers to authorize a $2 billion bond for school construction. $1 billion for university renovation, $1.3 billion for water project, and $800 million for parks. In order to alleviate concerns about such new spending plans, Wilson also announced plans for a tighter cap on growth in the State budget.

Newhall Ranch Gets Nod From RPC 

Over the objections of two Ventura County Supervisors, the L.A. Regional Planning Commission unanimously endorsed the specific plan for the 12,000-acre, 24,351-unit Newhall Ranch project, which developer Newhall Land & Fanning plans to site near Santa Clarita in northern L.A. County. Hearings before the County Board of Supervisors are expected to begin early this year. Controversy remains over the 25-30 year project's impact the Santa Clara River, treatment of green space and impacts on nearby jurisdictions in and outside of L.A. County. These issues are certain to figure prominently in upcoming negotiations over the project's development agreement.

North Valencia Specific Plan OK’d 

The Santa Clarita City Council has unanimously endorsed the specific plan for Newhall Land & Farming's North Valencia project, where 2,000 residential units, 636,000 s.f. of retail space, and a 167,000 s.f. business park are slated to rise over the next five years. The site is in L.A. County, outside Santa Clarita's City limits, but a developer-supported annexation to the City was endorsed simultaneously at the December Council meeting. Part of the final deal, the City will use State environmental funds to purchase and preserve a portion of the Santa Clara River cutting through the project as well as preserving nearby river habitats. Land grading is slated to start this Spring, with construction possible by the end of the year. 

Navy Releases Draft Long Beach EIR 

In mid-December the Navy released a draft EIR addressing reuse of the former Long Beach Naval Shipyard and Naval Station sites. The document looked at three alternatives: (I) a Port of Long Beach-owned container terminal for the China Ocean Shipping Company (endorsed by the City last year), (2) an auto terminal, and (3) City office space. The first option is controversial, requiring the demolition of potentially historic buildings and the relocation of several wildlife habitats. The latter two have lesser impacts to endangered species and would preserve existing Navy structures. All three alternatives entail plans for a container terminal, though they differ as to scale. A public hearing is scheduled for January 14.

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Judge Finds El Toro EIR Inadequate 

In a move not likely to amount to much impact on the debate over reuse of the El Toro Naval Air Station, a Superior Court Judge ordered Orange County to redo portions of the EIR for commercial airport reuse of the site. Judge Judith McConnell asked for better treatment of traffic, pollution, and noise impacts on surrounding communities. An amended report will be circulated for 45-day public review. County officials are expected to unveil a master plan for base reuse in April. 

Long Beach-Queensway Bay Update 

The City of Long Beach's exclusive right to negotiate with developer OliverMcMillan on terms of the massive mixed-use Queensway Bay project is set to expire on Jan. 26. Differences over financial assumption may force an extension of talks into February, but are not likely to jeopardize the project, insiders say. 

Studio Drive-in Project Nears Approval 

The Lee Group and Braemar Urban Ventures are nearing the end of the approval prcess for their mixed-use, mostly residential project slated for the old Studio Drive-in site in Culver City. Likely approval by the City Planning Commission on January I 4 and City Council action in February would make ground breaking on the first phase of 57 homes and a special-needs school likely in Spring.

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