Honorable Board of Supervisors
County of Los Angeles
383 Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration
500 West Temple Street
Los Angeles, California 90012
SUBJECT: NEWHALL RANCH SPECIFIC PLAN AND WATER RECLAMATION PLANT, PROJECT NO. 94-087: RECOMMENDED CONTINUANCE OF PUBLIC HEARING TO JANUARY 22, 2002.
1.Continue the public hearing on the Newhall Ranch Specific Plan and Water Reclamation Plant, currently scheduled for November 27, 2001, to January 22, 2002.
2. Instruct the Executive Officer/Clerk of the Board of Supervisors to notify the interested parties in advance of the November 27, 2001 hearing date; and,
3.Instruct the Executive Officer/Clerk of the Board of Supervisors to indicate the continuance on the November 27, 2001 agenda.
Pursuant to a Writ of Mandate by Honorable Rodger D. Randall of the Kern County Superior Court, the County voided its certification of the Final EIR for the Newhall Ranch Specific Plan and Water Reclamation Plant Specific Plan and related actions, as approved by the Board of Supervisors on March 23, 1999, and to conduct an additional analysis under CEQA addressing specific issues. The Court also ordered the County to conduct noticed public hearings of this material before both the Regional Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors. The public hearing process before the Regional Planning Commission has been completed. The public hearing before the Board of Supervisors has been publicly advertised for November 27, 2001.
The Additional Analysis prepared for the Newhall Ranch project is extensive and will likely result in lengthy public testimony. Another major public hearing has been scheduled for November 27, 2001, which is likely to consume much of the Board's meeting time. It is unlikely that there would be sufficient time during that meeting to consider Newhall Ranch. Therefore, rather than inconvenience the members of the public who may wish to testify or observe your hearing on this matter, it would be prudent to inform the public in advance that the matter will not be addressed on the originally scheduled date, but at a specific date in the future--January 22, 2002.
IMPLEMENATION OF COUNTYWIDE STRATEGIC PLAN AND
The public hearing process provides an opportunity for citizens to participate in County government. Providing timely information to the public about this opportunity will further the County's goal of "Service Excellence".
FACTS AND PROVISIONS/LEGAL REQUIREMENTS:
The County is required by State law and local ordinance to provide public notice of discretionary hearings before the Board of Supervisors. This action would provide one-week notice to interested parties that the Board intends to continue this hearing on November 27, 2001.
IMPACT ON CURRENT SERVICES (OR PROJECTS):
DEPARTMENT OF REGIONAL PLANNING
James E. Hartl, AICP
Director of Planning
C: Chief Administrative Officer
Executive Officer, Board of Supervisors
October 29, 2001
Honorable Board of
County of Los Angeles
Room 383, Kenneth Hahn Hall of Administration
Los Angeles, CA 90012
SUBJECT: NEWHALL RANCH SPECIFIC PLAN AND WATER RECLAMATION PLANT: RETURN ON WRIT OF MANDATE, ADDITIONAL ANALYSIS, AND REVISED PROJECT APPROVALS
General Plan and
Sub-Plan Amendments Nos. 94-087-(5)
Zone Change No. 94-087-(5)
Fifth Supervisorial District
Newhall Zoned District
Petitioner: Newhall Ranch Company
A Division of The Newhall Land and Farming Company
Valencia, CA 91355
At its October 24, 2001 meeting, the Regional Planning Commission adopted a resolution (attached) recommending that the Board of Supervisors hold a public hearing, certify the Additional Analysis for the Newhall Ranch Specific Plan and Water Reclamation Plant and approve the related project approvals. This case is being returned to you following the preparation of the Additional Analysis pursuant to a Writ of Mandate by Honorable Rodger D. Randall of the Kern County Superior Court. As discussed below, the attached Additional Analysis, Additional CEQA and SEA 23 CUP Findings, Conditions of Approval, and Revised Mitigation Monitoring Plan respond to the issues contained in the Court's order and are submitted for your consideration and action upon which the County Counsel will return the case to the Court.
Following is a brief history of the case and a summary of the Additional Analysis and significant issues raised during the Regional Planning Commission's hearing process.
In 1994, the applicant began processing a request for the approval of the Newhall Ranch Specific Plan and Water Reclamation Plant as well as a large lot parcel map. Following review by county staff and the preparation of a Draft Environmental Impact Report, the Regional Planning Commission conducted numerous public hearings regarding the Newhall Ranch EIR and related project approvals in 1996 and 1997. By December 1997, the Commission had completed its review and consideration of the prior Newhall Ranch Final EIR and proposed project approvals. On December 17, 1997, the Commission unanimously: (a) certified the Newhall Ranch EIR; (b) recommended approval of the proposed General Plan and Sub-Plan Amendments, the Newhall Ranch Specific Plan and the Zone Change; and (c) approved the Newhall Ranch Conditional Use Permit and Vesting Tentative Parcel Map.
Thereafter, in 1998 and 1999, the Board of Supervisors conducted additional hearings regarding the prior Newhall Ranch Final EIR and project approvals. On March 23, 1999, the Board of Supervisors unanimously: (a) certified the prior Newhall Ranch Final EIR; (b) adopted CEQA Findings and a Statement of Overriding Considerations; (c) approved the Mitigation Monitoring Plans; and (d) approved the various project approvals for the Newhall Ranch Specific Plan and Water Reclamation Plant.
The County's Specific Plan approvals were challenged in court by Ventura County, environmental groups and others in four separate lawsuits, which raised numerous environmental and planning law claims. The Newhall Ranch litigation challenged both the County's adoption of the Newhall Ranch project approvals and its certification of the Newhall Ranch Final EIR. The litigation was transferred to a neutral County and heard by the Honorable Roger D. Randall of the Kern County Superior Court [United Water Conservation District v. County of Los Angeles, et al., Case No. 239324 RDR ("the Newhall Ranch litigation")]. The California Attorney General also joined in the Newhall Ranch litigation in favor of Ventura County and the environmental groups.
On August 1, 2000, the Court upheld approval of the Specific Plan and WRP and the Final EIR certification with respect to many of the issues raised in the Newhall Ranch litigation. However, the Court ordered the County to void its certification of the Final EIR with respect to the specific issues listed below and to conduct an additional analysis under CEQA in order to:
(1) Extend the traffic impact analysis that was used in the EIR to evaluate
the project's impacts on Ventura County arterial roadways exiting State Routes
23 and 126 until the 1 percent impact standard is reached;
(2) Determine the effect on the Ventura County portion of the Salt Creek wildlife corridor caused by the shifting of wildlife into the Salt Creek corridor;
(3) Address the Specific Plan's impacts on biological resources in the Santa Clara River corridor associated with channelization and bank hardening;
(4) Demonstrate that adequate water sources will be available for build-out of the Specific Plan, which may be achieved by securing other water sources consistent with CEQA and/or by developing a factual basis providing substantial evidence from which the County can adequately assess environmental impacts of the ASR alternative and its ability to meet water needs; and
(5) Address the alternative of siting the Newhall Ranch WRP off-river, including an analysis of the biological impacts of that siting.
The Court also ordered the County to set aside the project approvals, but only as those approvals relate to SEA 23 and the County's Development Monitoring System ("DMS") as it applies to water supplies, and to take action to:
(6) Ensure consistency of the Specific Plan with the County General Plan
policies requiring protection of natural resources in SEAs as those standards
apply to SEA 23; and
(7) Ensure consistency of the Specific Plan with the County's General Plan DMS policies as they relate to water supplies.
Consequently, the Court set aside approval of the Newhall Ranch Specific Plan and WRP, and Final EIR certification, but only with respect to the issues identified above.
BOARD ACTION IN
RESPONSE TO COURT DECISION
In response to the Court's decision, the Board of Supervisors adopted a resolution partially setting aside the Newhall Ranch land use approvals and Final EIR certification. In addition, the Board's Resolution required that specific action be taken to comply with the Court's decision and writ.
Specifically, the Board directed County staff to oversee preparation of additional environmental analysis under CEQA ("Additional Analysis"). The Additional Analysis was required to address each of the specific issues described in the Court's decision and writ.
The Board also directed County staff to publish a Notice of Availability of the Newhall Ranch Draft Additional Analysis, and to circulate the Draft Additional Analysis for at least a 45-day public review and comment period.
In addition, the Board directed that noticed public hearings be held before both the Regional Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors to review and consider the Newhall Ranch Draft Additional Analysis and the project approvals, as required by the Court's decision and writ.
In response to the Board's Resolution, County staff caused to be prepared the Draft Additional Analysis to the partially certified Final EIR for the Newhall Ranch Specific Plan and WRP. The purpose of the Draft Additional Analysis was to address the specific issues identified in the Court's decision and writ. The Draft Additional Analysis specifically included environmental impact analysis and proposed mitigation relating to, among other topics:
(1) Traffic on Ventura County arterials exiting SR-23 and SR-126 (Section 2.1);
(2) Salt Creek Corridor issues (Section 2.2);
(3) Floodplain modifications (Section 2.3);
(4) SEA 23 General Plan Consistency Analysis (Section 2.4);
(5) Newhall Ranch Water Resources (Section 2.5); and
(6) Water Reclamation Plant Alternatives (Section 3.0).
The Draft Additional Analysis also included two additional volumes containing technical studies and other important materials.
Pertinent portions of the Draft Additional Analysis were reviewed and considered by the County's Significant Ecological Area Technical Advisory Committee ("SEATAC"). County staff reviewed, considered and revised various portions of the Draft Additional Analysis prior to distribution. The Draft Additional Analysis-- along with a complete copy of the previously certified Newhall Ranch Final EIR-- was then made available for review at the County and several libraries for a 130-day public review and comment period.
REGIONAL PLANNING COMMISSION HEARINGS ON THE ADDITIONAL ANALYSIS
On April 18, 2001, the County published its Notice of Availability of the Draft Additional Analysis and filed a Notice of Completion with the Office of Planning and Research. The Notice of Availability stated that the County would accept public comments on the Draft Additional Analysis for a 60-day period; however, the Commission ultimately extended the public review and comment period for the Draft Additional Analysis to 130 days, nearly three times the 45 days required under CEQA. The Commission received, evaluated and responded to all comments on the Draft Additional Analysis. The Commission conducted a tour of the site on June 16, 2001 and held hearings on June 20, 2001, July 16, 2001, and August 27, 2001 before taking action to forward the case to the Board with their recommendation for approval on October 24, 2001.
At the time of the hearing, in the event that your Honorable Board approves the recommendations of the Commission and the suggested resolution, it would be appropriate to approve the preparation of an ordinance effecting the zone change and adopt a resolution amending the previous project approvals.
DEPARTMENT OF REGIONAL PLANNING
James E. Hartl, AICP
Director of Planning
Current Planning Division
Exhibit B Suggested Board Resolution
Exhibit C Additional CEQA Findings including a Revised Mitigation Monitoring Plan for the Specific Plan
Exhibit D Recommended Additional Findings and Order for CUP 94-087-(5) as it relates to SEA 23
Exhibit E Recommended Conditions of Approval for CUP 94-087-(5) as it relates to SEA 23
Exhibit F Additional conditions/mitigation recommended by Regional Planning Commission through public hearing process
Exhibit G Draft Additional Analysis, Vols I, II & III and Final Additional Analysis, Vols I & II (under separate cover)
Exhibit H Subsequent Written Testimony
c: Executive Officer, for distribution