Independent voice urged for Val Verde

first_imgVAL VERDE – The head of the local civic association is urging the community to look inward in tackling land-use issues facing this semi-rural canyon community, rather than work through the Castaic Area Town Council. Jim Stephens, president of the Val Verde Civic Association, said the town council, a 10-member elected panel that advises Los Angeles County Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich on local issues, has failed to look out for Val Verde. “The Castaic Area Town Council does not and has not represented the strategic key issues affecting Val Verde,” Stephens said. Val Verde, a town of about 1,500 in the canyons west of Interstate 5 and Castaic, is assigned two seats – currently filled by Patti Gustafsson and Bruce Van Wetter – on the council. But Stephens was upset by last month’s town council Land Use Committee decision to push forward Park City, Utah,-based Sterling Gateway’s Green Valley Ranch project. Developer Hunt Williams has proposed 254 homes on 109 acres north and east of Val Verde. The plan is up for consideration by the full town council. Opponents insist the project is too big and would cut down the community’s surrounding ridges. They prefer a smaller development of 50 to 125 homes. Current zoning regulations allow 217 houses on the property. “You can’t really take away (Williams’) right to do what he wants,” Kunak said. “He seems to be listening to the views of the majority of the people to try to do things to satisfy them. “Until it comes before the entire the council for our review, we need to continue to get information to make the decision the community wants.” Stephens said the local civic association has just as much clout to take on this, and other issues, as the town council. He cited other local forums, including churches and the various community districts formed to monitor the landfill. Chiquita Canyon’s owners have proposed increasing the 257-acre working area 355 acres. “We could do anything we want,” Stephens said. “(The town council has) nothing over us; they have no influence. They are not related to any political authority. “I’m not claiming any more power for VVCA or more power for them. I am only claiming this community has the ability and certain venues in which to articulate its interest, and it does not center on the CACC.” Kunak said Val Verde’s representatives are held with regard within the council. “I feel that the full council gives some degree of deference to the two representatives from each region,” Kunak said. “If they have an issue, the council will listen to their views. We look to them to provide the information.” Neither the town council nor civic association have actual legislative powers. Final decisions on land use rests with the county Board of Supervisors. Antonovich spokesman Tony Bell said the supervisor is open to community input, regardless of the forum. “Supervisor Antonovich ensures that Val Verde has a voice on the issues of concern, regardless of which town council and committee they associate with,” he said. “We’re there to assist them in whatever way, but it’s their decision.” Eugene Tong, (661) 257-5253 [email protected] 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set! AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake Facing the community is the proposed expansion of nearby Chiquita Canyon Landfill, plus a proposed 254-home subdivision. These issues weigh heavily on this bucolic retreat, which has few sidewalks and no sewer service. Castaic Town Council President John Kunak said the council remains effective in representing the region’s interests to Antonovich, whose 5th district includes Castaic and Val Verde. The panel, under pressure from angry residents, helped convince Antonovich to retract a county proposal to stage a temporary homeless shelter at the Pitchess Detention Center this winter. The shelter instead is scheduled to open Dec. 23 in a county-owned equipment yard in the city of Santa Clarita. “I think (the supervisor) listens very, very closely and give our opinions a great weight,” Kunak said. “We’re there to represent our region. If a region doesn’t want representation, I don’t know how they’re going to get it.” last_img

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