The Northlake Specific Plan Project is proposed on 1,330 acres of undeveloped land east of Interstate (I) 5, west of Castaic Lake, and north of the community of Castaic in Los Angeles County – a remote and undeveloped area of the County. The project proposes to completely obliterate Grasshopper Creek, a tributary to the Santa Clara River that reaches the River via Castaic Lake. Filling in yet another of our local waterways in the Santa Clara River. While Grasshopper Creek does not always flow above ground, it is also a key wildlife movement corridor that helps to keep wildlife moving safely from north and south in the area. The Northlake Specific Plan proposed 3,150 housing units and ancillary facilities (commercial and industrial space), remote from services and in a “very high” fire severity zone. In fact, the southern portion of the site burned in 2013. Moving thousands of people into a very high fire hazard severity zone is irresponsible planning and will no doubt endanger its future residents.
Designed as a “bedroom community”, the project will add more traffic to the already highly congested I-5 as future residents are forced to drive to their jobs in the city. It will further degrade air quality in Santa Clarita’s already compromised air basin; in particular will put future residents in greater harm’s way with the development located in such close proximity to I-5. It will greatly reduce or eliminate habitat for some of southern California’s most iconic species including western spadefoot toads, California Gnatcatchers, Southwestern Willow Flycatchers, Least Bell’s Vireos and Burrowing Owls. The project as proposed does nothing to try to reduce or offset the increased greenhouse gases that will be produced by the project – completely antiquated thinking in these times of increasing climate change effects being documented throughout the planet.
In light of all the problems with the project, the FSCR in conjunction with the Center for Biological Diversity submitted extensive comments on the Environmental Impact Report for this ill-conceived project. While the decision is now with Los Angeles County, we will continue to watch this project and oppose it if it moves forward without significant changes.