Photo via Pixabay
Photo via Pixabay

A plan to establish a new city for 58,000 people on 12,000 acres along the Santa Clara River in the Santa Clarita Valley has been dealt a setback by California’s Supreme Court.

Los Angeles County’s supervisors 12 years ago approved the project, which is being championed by the Newhall Land & Farming Co. A year ago, a 5,828- page environmental impact report won court approval.

But plans for the new community hit a major roadblock Monday when the California Supreme Court rejected the environmental report, a decision expected to further delay the project, the Los Angeles Times reported.

The court said the environmental report failed to buttress its conclusion that the development would not significantly affect greenhouse gas emissions, which cause climate change. The court also said the plan illegally allowed for the capture and relocation of the unarmored threespine stickleback, an endangered freshwater fish.

Newhall Land & Farming said in a statement that it will continue to pursue the project.

“We remain committed to realizing the vision of Newhall Ranch and the significant benefits it promises for the economy and future of Los Angeles County,” the statement said.

But opponents were buoyed by the high court ruling.

“This ruling presents a real problem for the development because it can’t roll forward with the same plans,” said John Buse, an attorney for the Center for Biological Diversity, which sued the state and the developer, in remarks reported by The Times. “It will take additional environmental analyses and meaningful changes in the project to get around some of the concerns that the court has raised.”

—City News Service

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