Castaic considers annexation

first_imgCASTAIC – The local town council, which once resisted Santa Clarita’s efforts to annex an area business park, now wants to hear the city’s ideas on annexing the entire 93-square-mile community. In a letter to the city earlier this month, the council requested information about joining the city of 170,000 to the southwest. Officials said it’s just one of the three forms of organized government being explored – remain unincorporated, form a city or join Santa Clarita. “There is no change of heart,” said Lloyd Carder, president of the advisory panel created by county Supervisor Michael D. Antonovich as a sounding board on local policy. But options for the town of 23,000 could diminish as time passes, leaving it with little say over who would best provide such basic services as law enforcement, parks and local planning, Carder said. AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORE11 theater productions to see in Southern California this week, Dec. 27-Jan. 2“My personal opinion is there are only two avenues,” he said, referring to incorporation or annexation by Santa Clarita. “We can’t stay county very long. As hard as (Antonovich) worked for us, it’s not that it’s not working, but we have to look at this long-term. “What happens when Mike goes away? What happens with a new (supervisor)? Would they support town councils?” The council has stood between attempts by the city to annex the Valencia Commerce Center at the behest of businesses there. It accused the city of going after economic cash cows while ignoring the greater community. There also is a petition circulating in three Castaic neighborhoods – about 1,400 homes – requesting annexation. The effort has stalled as organizers fell short of the 60 percent signatures from property owners required by Santa Clarita to begin proceedings. “Would they be able to accept all 93 square miles and not (annex) piecemeal?” Carder wondered. “We need an answer to that question. Then we can sit down and negotiate. And it’s up to the people. There has to be an election.” City of Santa Clarita spokeswoman Gail Ortiz said there are no hard feelings harbored for the town council. “We’ve never said no to an annexation,” she said. “We would welcome the entire Castaic community. The ball is now in the court of the residents of Castaic.” The other option, cityhood, is dead on arrival after the state Legislature in 2004 eliminated a provision granting new cities a “bump” in their share of vehicle license fees. The seven-year financial boost helps nascent municipalities survive until they’re fiscally self-sufficient. A committee formed by the Castaic and West Ranch town councils also crossed out a joint incorporation that could create a city out of some 30,000 people west of Interstate 5. “Based on the present circumstances, we’ve declined to join with them in cityhood,” said Dave Bossert, vice president of the West Ranch town council, which represents the Stevenson Ranch and Westridge subdivisions. The neighborhoods include the Valencia Marketplace shopping center along The Old and Pico Canyon roads, which are among the county’s top sales-tax generators. A city likely won’t work without them. Still, laws can change. Carder cited Assembly Bill 1602, introduced by Assemblyman John Laird, D-Santa Cruz, to restore the extra funding for new cities, which has gained momentum in Sacramento. Meantime, Antonovich has stayed on the sidelines, opposing the city annexing properties west of Interstate 5 while maintaining that it’s up to residents to decide. “Our office supports their freedom to choose their own destiny,” said Tony Bell, an Antonovich spokesman. “We encourage the debate. We encourage the exchange of information and dialogue. We want to make sure our residents have the best possible situation.” [email protected] (661)257-5253160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

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