City of Santa Clarita

City Council Agenda Item

TESORO DEL VALLE ANNEXATION AREA - MASTER CASE 19-115: GENERAL PLAN AMENDMENT AND PREZONE FOR THE TESORO DEL VALLE ANNEXATION AREA

Information

Department:Community DevelopmentSponsors:
Category:AdoptSub-Categories:Resolution

Fiscal Impact

Annexation of the Tesoro del Valle area would generate a neutral/no-net fiscal impact to the City of Santa Clarita.

Recommended Action

City Council:

 

1.      Conduct the Public Hearing;

 

2.      Adopt a resolution to adopt the Negative Declaration prepared for the project and approve Master Case No. 19-115, consisting of Annexation 19-001, General Plan Amendment 19-002, and Prezone 19-001 (adopted by separate ordinance), to amend the General Plan land use map encompassing approximately 1,786 acres of land generally located along the northern boundary of the City of Santa Clarita, California, north of Copper Hill Drive, west of San Francisquito Road, south of the Angeles National Forest, and east of the community of West Hills, in unincorporated Los Angeles County, as shown in Exhibit A;

 

3.      Introduce and pass to second reading an ordinance entitled “AN ORDINANCE OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SANTA CLARITA, CALIFORNIA, APPROVING PREZONE 19-001 (MASTER CASE NO. 19-115) FOR THE ANNEXATION OF THE TESORO DEL VALLE ANNEXATION AREA, AS SHOWN ON EXHIBIT A;” and

 

4.      Adopt a resolution authorizing the City Manager, or designee, to submit an application requesting the Local Agency Formation Commission of Los Angeles County initiate proceedings to annex certain inhabited territory known as the Tesoro del Valle Annexation Area to the City of Santa Clarita (Master Case No. 19-115).

Background/Alt Actions

BACKGROUND

 

Residents in the Tesoro del Valle area have expressed an interest in annexing to the City of Santa Clarita (City) since the development was completed in 2006. In 2010, the City Council considered an annexation area that included the Copperstone, Tesoro del Valle, West Creek, and West Hills communities. That project was processed under Master Case No. 10-048. After considering concerns raised by area residents and community developers, the City Council reduced the project area and directed staff to move forward only with the annexation of the Copperstone neighborhood. That annexation was completed on June 14, 2012.

 

In 2016, the developer and residents of West Creek and West Hills expressed a renewed interest in annexation. Based on the results of a residential survey showing a majority of property owners supported annexation, the City proposed a Prezone under Master Case No. 16-012 in preparation to submitting an annexation application to the Local Agency Formation Commission (LAFCO). The Tesoro del Valle community was not included in the annexation area because Phase 2 of the development (Tesoro Highlands) was going through the entitlement process in Los Angeles County. The West Creek and West Hills annexation was completed on November 15, 2016.

 

Tesoro del Valle residents continued to express interest in annexation. In response to community requests, the City surveyed property owners in May 2019 to determine the level of support for annexation. Of the 1,133 property owners who were surveyed, approximately 17 percent responded (185 individuals). Of those, 86 percent indicated they would support annexation, 8 percent would not support annexation, and 6 percent indicated a need for additional information. Staff followed-up with those residents who requested more information and who provided a means of contact. Based on the community’s strong support for annexation, the City initiated Master Case No.19-115, which consists of a General Plan Amendment and Prezone that are required before an annexation application can be submitted to LAFCO.

 

The proposed annexation area consists of approximately 1,786 acres, which are currently developed with 1,077 units, an elementary school, and the 2.25-acre Tesoro Adobe Historic Park which is operated by Los Angeles County and is listed as a state and national historic site. The developed area also includes private recreational amenities, such as a community swimming pool, club house, a private park, and trails. The proposed annexation area also includes undeveloped land that was entitled by Los Angeles County under Vesting Tentative Tract Map (VTTM) 51644-1 (also known as Tesoro del Valle Phase 2 or Tesoro Highlands). The Los Angeles County-approved project includes an additional 820 units that have not yet been built. The annexation would not affect the buildout of those units or of two other units slated for Lots 702 and 703 that were approved under the original VTTM 51644, but are not yet constructed.

 

PLANNING COMMISSION ACTION

 

On October 1, 2019, the Planning Commission conducted a Public Hearing on Master Case No. 19-115. By a unanimous 5-0 vote, the Planning Commission adopted a resolution and recommended the City Council adopt a resolution to adopt the Negative Declaration prepared for the project, and approve Master Case No. 19-115, which consists of General Plan Amendment 19-002 and Prezone 19-001 in support of the Tesoro del Valle annexation (Annexation 19-001).

 

PROJECT DESCRIPTION

 

The City of Santa Clarita proposes a General Plan Amendment and Prezone of approximately 1,786 acres of land, associated with the Tesoro del Valle Annexation. The annexation area is located along the northern boundary of the City, north of Copper Hill Drive, west of San Francisquito Canyon Road, south of the Angeles National Forest, and east of the West Hills community. Upon buildout, the population of the annexation area is estimated to be 5,151 residents. No development is proposed or will be approved as part of the General Plan Amendment and Prezone, nor are the City’s proposed land use and prezone designations intended to change the development potential of the annexation area beyond what has already been approved by Los Angeles County.

 

ANALYSIS

 

Los Angeles County-Approved Entitlements

 

The proposed Tesoro Highlands development is located in the project area and was approved by Los Angeles County in 2018. The approval included 820 units: 455 conventional single-family units and 365 age-qualified units. The impacts of the proposed development were analyzed under the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) prepared for the project (State Clearing House #2016101032). The Tesoro Highlands project is located in the annexation area but is not a part of the entitlements in Master Case No. 19-115 because the project is already approved. As with other proposed annexation areas that included unbuilt Los Angeles County-approved projects, all mitigation measures required under the previous Los Angeles County-certified EIR would be accepted by the City upon annexation, without change. The Mitigation Monitoring and Reporting Program (MMRP) for the Tesoro del Valle project is included in the EIR and would likewise remain valid.

 

General Plan Amendment and Prezone

 

A General Plan Amendment is required because the development densities approved by Los Angeles County under VTTM 51644-1 are different from the City’s current General Plan land use map. The proposed General Plan Amendment will assign land use designations to the project area that are consistent with both the existing neighborhoods and Los Angeles County-approved development in the vicinity of the Tesoro del Valle community. This action must occur before an annexation application can be submitted to LAFCO.

 

Pursuant to the State of California Cortese-Knox-Hertzberg Local Government Reorganization Act of 2000, cities must prezone land before an annexation application can be submitted to LAFCO. The proposed Prezone would assign appropriate zoning designations to the annexation area that would be consistent with the City’s Zoning Ordinance and proposed General Plan Amendment. The prezoning and land use designations would reflect the existing conditions of the established neighborhoods in the project area, as well as the Los Angeles County-approved entitlements for the undeveloped area.

 

The project site is located in the City’s Sphere of Influence and carries General Plan land use designations. The City’s current General Plan land use map includes the following designations for the annexation area: CN (Neighborhood Commercial); NU2 (Non-Urban 2); NU3 (Non-Urban 3); NU4 (Non-Urban 4); OS (Open Space); PI (Public/Institutional); UR2 (Urban Residential 2); UR3 (Urban Residential 3); UR4 (Urban Residential 4); and UR5 (Urban Residential 5). A map showing the existing General Plan land use designations is attached.

 

Current City land use designations are generally consistent with the developed portions of the annexation area but are inconsistent with the undeveloped areas where the Los Angeles County has approved units in excess of the density contemplated by the City’s adopted General Plan. Other minor inconsistencies exist that will be remedied by the General Plan Amendment, such as low density residential parcels that are more appropriately designated as Open Space. Portions of the annexation area are located in a Significant Ecological Area (SEA) along San Francisquito Creek; the SEA designation would not be affected by the annexation. Portions of the project area are also overlain by two Los Angeles County Community Standards Districts (CSDs): Castaic Canyons and San Francisquito Canyon. Upon annexation, Los Angeles County CSD standards would no longer apply. Regardless, no change in land use standards is anticipated, given the City will honor existing Los Angeles County entitlements and development patterns.

 

The proposed land use and/or zoning designations consist of the following: NU3 (Non-Urban Residential 3), OS (Open Space), Open Space-Agriculture (OS-A), PI (Public/Institutional), UR2 (Urban Residential 2), UR3 (Urban Residential 3), UR4 (Urban Residential 4), and UR5 (Urban Residential 5). Table 1 lists the proposed designations and their estimated acreages:

 

Table 1: Proposed City General Plan and Prezone Land Use Designations

Proposed General Plan and  Prezone Land Use Designation

General Plan Amendment Acreage*

 

Prezone Acreage*

 

Density

Non-Urban Residential 3 (NU3)

              1.016

          1.016

  .2 units per acre

Open Space (OS)

        1,062.374

   1,054.452

  .025 units per acre

Open Space-Agriculture (OS-A)

              0.000

          7.922

  .2 units per acre

Public/Institutional (PI)

            11.441

        11.441

Floor Area Ratio: .5

Urban Residential 2 (UR2)

          615.573

      615.573

  5 units per acre

Urban Residential 3 (UR3)

            20.642

        20.642

11 units per acre

Urban Residential 4 (UR4)

            57.671

        57.671

18 units per acre

Urban Residential 5 (UR5)

            16.827

        16.827

30 units per acre

Total:

1,785.544

(1,786 rounded)

1,785.544

(1,786 rounded)

--

*The General Plan and Prezone acreage includes streets, public rights-of-way, and easements. These numbers are based on the City’s mapping data. There may be slight differences in the numbers when the legal description/boundary map is formally defined by a licensed surveyor as part of the annexation application to the Local Agency Formation Commission. Any differences would be minor and insignificant.

 

A map of the proposed General Plan land use designations is attached as Exhibit A to the General Plan Amendment Resolution (Attachment b). The proposed Prezone map is attached as Exhibit A to the Prezone Ordinance (Attachment c). A vicinity map showing the proposed annexation area is attached as Exhibit A to the LAFCO Resolution (Attachment d). A General Plan Amendment exhibit (Attachment f) and a current Los Angeles County zoning map (Attachment g) are also attached to the report.

 

General Plan Consistency

 

The proposed project is consistent with the following objectives and policies of the Land Use Element of the General Plan:

 

Objective LU 1.1:              Maintain an urban form for the Santa Clarita Valley that preserves an open space greenbelt around the developed portions of the Valley, protects significant resources from development, and directs growth to urbanized areas served with infrastructure.

 

Policy LU 1.1.3:              Discourage urban sprawl into rural areas by limiting non-contiguous, “leap frog” development outside of areas designated for urban use.

 

The project supports this objective and policy because it would prezone approximately 1,054 acres as Open Space, including natural areas that would not be available for future development. The project would also assign appropriate prezone designations to the project area that are consistent with existing development, as well as future entitlements.

 

Upon approval of the project, the land use and prezone designations for the annexation area would be consistent with the General Plan and Zoning Ordinance.

 

ENVIRONMENTAL

 

An Initial Study was prepared for the project. The Initial Study determined the proposed General Plan Amendment and Prezone could not have a significant effect on the environment. Therefore, a Negative Declaration was prepared and circulated for public review and comment from September 10 to October 1, 2019.

 

The Fernandeño Tataviam Band of Mission Indians was contacted for consultation in accordance with Assembly Bill (AB) 52. AB 52 consultation concluded on September 4, 2019. Consultation under Senate Bill (SB) 18 is also required because of the proposed General Plan Amendment. Applicable tribes were contacted on September 5, 2019, and given an opportunity to consult and comment. The comment period closed on October 24, 2019, and the City received no comments or requests for consultation.

 

NOTICING

 

All noticing requirements required by law have been completed. Required noticing consisted of a one-eighth page legal advertisement in The Signal newspaper on October 22, 2019. In addition to the required legal notice, two signs were posted at the entrance to the Tesoro del Valle community off Copper Hill Drive. Staff has received two letters in support of the annexation: one from the Tesoro del Valle Homeowners’ Association and another from Newport Pacific Land Company. Those letters are attached.

 

SUMMARY

 

The General Plan Amendment and Prezone proposed as part of the Tesoro del Valle Annexation would apply appropriate City land use prezone designations to the project area that reflect existing and approved development and that are consistent with the City’s General Plan and Zoning Ordinance. The project does not include any development and would not change the physical characteristics of the annexation area. Upon annexation, the City would provide services to the project area, and would assume ownership and maintenance of the trails within the annexation area.

 

ALTERNATIVE ACTION

 

Other actions as determined by the City Council.

Meeting History

Nov 12, 2019 6:00 PM Video City Council Regular Meeting

Mayor McLean opened the Public Hearing.

City Clerk Mary Cusick announced that all notices required by law have been provided.

Associate Planner Ben Jarvis provided the staff report.

Addressing the Council in support of this item was Linda Storli and Dennis Koontz.

Addressing the Council in a neutral position on this item was Steve Petzold.

Mayor McLean closed the public comments.

Councilmember Weste commented that 820 units have been approved by Los Angeles County and City Manager Ken Striplin confirmed that the City will not be able to modify the County approvals; commented that 1,062 acres of open space will be annexed by the City; commented that buildings will be built over Tapia Canyon and will look over the prison, there will be an emergency gate developed from Tapia Canyon to Tesoro del Valle, and there are no solutions other than to annex this area and the City would have planned the community differently.

Councilmember Kellar requested additional information on the heliport, and Mr. Jarvis responded that staff's understanding is that it is an emergency operated heliport.

Mayor McLean inquired if current Tesoro del Valle residents pay into an open space and trails fee and if the project is revenue neutral, and Mr. Jarvis responded that the project would be revenue neutral, and Mr. Striplin commented that residents would be subject to Open Space Preservation District fees.

Councilmember Weste commented that the historical Tesoro adobe on the project site is an incredible resource for the City and Community.

Adopted Resolution Nos. 19-56 and 19-57

RESULT:APPROVED [UNANIMOUS]
MOVER:Bob Kellar, Councilmember
SECONDER:Bill Miranda, Councilmember
AYES:Marsha McLean, Cameron Smyth, Bob Kellar, Bill Miranda, Laurene Weste