Update: Scientists fear an L.A. County gated community's environmental impact Article from LA Times on November 20, 2013
L.A. Planning Commission Advances Hidden Creeks Estates Project Article from Patch on November 21, 2013
Changes to the proposed Hidden Creeks Estates and Preserve project were the focus of the Porter Ranch Neighborhood Council meeting September 2013. The project has been presented to the Council several times, starting in 2008. It is planned to include 188 homes, an updated equestrian village, 114 acres of open space and 19 acres of public youth sports fields west of Browns Canyon and the Renaissance community.
The developer plans to donate the sports fields to the City of Los Angeles and has agreed to pay for the grading and underground improvements for the park. The City was concerned about taking on additional maintenance costs for the park in their budget, so the developer has agreed that any deficit to the expected $146,000 annual park maintenance costs would be paid for by the developer.
The park is now planned to include a helicopter landing spot and lot 193 south of the park will be used for public safety and fire fighting.
The current proposal calls for a one million gallon oversized water tank on the east end of the property. This water tank will be gravity based and serve as a back up in case of pump failure at the other water tanks in Porter Ranch.
As the only entrance to Hidden Creeks would bring traffic up Mason to an access road at its north end, PRNC Board Member Sean O’Rourke inquired whether the traffic study included all the current traffic in the vicinity of the Porter Ranch Community School. He was informed that the traffic study took into consideration expected traffic at the complete buildout of Porter Ranch.
Various attendees expressed concern about the condition of the Brown’s Canyon Road, which it would serve as access for the equestrian center and as an emergency exit. The developer noted that they are working on getting a permit to rebuild the bridge in Brown’s Canyon and would like to put a coat of asphalt on the road. At inception, property owners on Brown’s Canyon were given the right to use the road, but no obligation to maintain it.
“Would there be a school in the development?” was the question asked by a stakeholder, who was told that there would not; the Environmental Impact Report addressed the availability of schools. The EIR, completed in 2008, indicates that the project would have 549 residents generating “approximately 75 students in grades K-6; 66 students in grades K-5; 38 students in grades 7-9 and 6-8; 39 students in grades 10-12; and 51 students in grades 9-12 for a total of approximately 268 students.” The numbers are based on LAUSD’s student generation factors, provided in the report.
The report further documents that Hidden Creeks is in the district of Germain Elementary, Lawrence Middle and Chatsworth High. At the time of the report, the overcrowding of Germain Elementary was expected to be relieved by the buildout of new elementary and middle schools in Porter Ranch. The report concludes that builder payments of school impact fees (in 2008 the fee was $3.96 per square foot) would be used towards the construction of new schools in the Porter Ranch area (the schools have already been built) and no new schools would need to be built. If the houses are from 3,000 to 4,000 square feet in size, the fees generated would total $2.2 to 3 million.
Note: Subsequent to the original publication of this article, we discovered at the October 1, 2013 PRNC meeting that the average house size will be 5,000 square feet, generating $3.7 million.
The operation of the 114 acres of open space was clarified to explain that the City of Los Angeles does not want any liability associated with owning the property. The homeowner’s association will own it and maintain it. The private trails will be open to the public through a permanent public easement and maintained to the City’s standards.
The project is currently pending annexation by the City of Los Angeles, which is determined by a Boundary Adjustment Review Board that includes the Chief Administrative Officer, Councilmember Mitchell Englander, a legal analyst, and the Department of Planning. The project is expected to be considered by the Planning Commission in late November. In the meantime, there will be a public meeting where you may bring your questions, on Thursday, October 10, 6:30pm at the Porter Valley Country Club.
Hidden Creeks Website