The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is scheduled Tuesday to consider plans for the 19,000-home Tejon Ranch housing project, which has drawn the ire of environmentalists who claim it will damage sensitive habitats and present a fire danger for people who move there.
The long-planned Centennial project is being proposed on 12,500 acres of a 270,000-acre expanse of land owned by the Tejon Ranch Co. The land in the Antelope Valley is considered the largest contiguous piece of private property in California.
The project would include not only housing, but also 10 million square feet of commercial space, schools, fire stations, a police station and a library, all at what Tejon Ranch says will be no cost to county taxpayers.
During an August meeting of the county’s Regional Planning Commission, a procession of opponents spoke out about environmental concerns, with some calling the idea of a master-planned community of such magnitude a relic from the past — despite the housing shortage in the county.
The Center for Biological Diversity has argued the project would destroy grasslands and habitat for rare plants and animals, contribute to air pollution by generating more than 75,000 new vehicle trips a day as drivers commute into Los Angeles and present a safety risk to its residents because it is located in what the county considers a fire hazard zone.
The Tejon Ranch Co. has presented the project as an economic win the for the county, predicting it will create 19,000 permanent jobs, 25,000 construction jobs and a $31 million annual public revenue surplus for the county. The project has also been pitched as an environmentally friendly “sustainable” community that will conserve water and energy.
The project developers have committed 10 percent of the units to be affordable, although the exact mix of low- and moderate-income has not been finalized. The county’s Regional Planning Commission recommended that it be raised to 15 percent, along with consideration that a certain amount also be set aside for supportive housing for the homeless.
Responding to the concerns over air pollution, Tejon Ranch executives said the project has measures that will promote electric vehicles and complies with per-capita greenhouse gas emissions for the state’s 2030 and 2050 targets. Representatives of the company also said the reason the area is considered a fire hazard zone is because there are no fire stations there, but the creation of fire stations would change the designation and concern.
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