Newhall Ranch Revised EIR is Underway
Los Angeles County and the Newhall Ranch Company have begun preparation of a Revised Environmental Impact Report for the Newhall Ranch Project as required by the legal Writ of Mandate issued by Superior Court Judge Roger D. Randall in August 2000. This Writ followed a lawsuit brought by Friends of the Santa Clara River, SCOPE, and the Sierra Club, in which they were represented by the Ventura Office of the Environmental Defense Center. Ventura County and the United Water Conservation District also were petioners in the lawsuit. The Revised EIR must present additional analysis of numerous issues identified by the Court as being inadequately covered in the original Newhall Ranch EIR approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.
The following list covers the issues requiring further analysis per the Writ of Mandate, including the adoption of mitigation measures, alternatives, or revised findings as may be required by the California Environmental Quality Act.
1. Impact of the project on the Ventura County portion of the Salt Creek wildlife corridor. Salt Creek is basically the only wildlife corridor which would remain after project buildout. It is vital that the portion of this corridor in Ventura County be properly protected.
2. Adverse impacts on the biological resources of the Santa Clara River associated with channelization and bank hardening. The specific Plan as proposed, involves fill of over 300 acres of river floodplain and hardening of 80 % of the north bank and 30% of the south bank of the river. This analysis needs to cover impacts to riparian species and aquatic species such as the unarmored threespine stickleback fish.
3. Impacts to Ventura County arterial roadways.
4. Demonstration that adequate water sources will be available for buildout of the project.
5. Address the alternative of siting the project Water Reclamation Plant off-river, including the biological impacts of such siting.
6. To ensure that the Newhall Ranch Specific Plan is consistent with Los Angeles County General Plan policies requiring the protection of Significant Environmental Areas (SEAs). The Santa Clara River is identified in the General Plan as SEA 23.
It is anticipated that the Revised EIR will be ready for public review in Spring 2001 and that hearings before the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Commission and Board of Supervisors will occur this coming summer.