After decades of battles, a $25 million settlement has been reached between developers and environmental groups that will allow the massive Newhall Ranch development in the Santa Clarita Valley development to move forward without any further legal entanglements, it was announced Monday.
The deal means the $13 billion, 21,500-home Newhall Ranch project, which will be built north of the Santa Clara River and west of Interstate 5 Freeway near Magic Mountain, moves closer to construction. It would be considered the largest subdivision of its kind in the nation.
Orange County-based FivePoint Holdings reached the deal with the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians, the Wishtoyo Foundation, the Center for Biological Diversity, and the California Native Plant Society. The settlement includes protection of the endangered unarmored three- spined stickleback, a scaleless, freshwater fish.
Other terms include expanding and enhancing spineflower conservation areas, creating the Santa Clara River Conservation Fund to promote conservation, and preservation of Native American culture, including the Santa Ynez Band of Chumash Indians and the Wishtoyo Foundation.
“This is a tremendous settlement that provides for added protections for Native American resources and the environment and allows one of the nation’s most innovative new communities to take an important step forward — addressing California’s housing crisis and fueling the region’s economy,” said Emile Haddad, President and CEO of FivePoint in a statement. “This settlement enables Newhall Ranch to achieve even higher standards of greenhouse gas emissions, habitat creation and preservation, and protection of important cultural resources.”
The settlement marks a key turning point in the decades-long fight between activists and developers in the Santa Clarita Valley, over Newhall Ranch. Activists in the Santa Clarita Valley have tried for more than 20 years to fight off the 21,500 homes proposed for the Newhall Ranch development. Multiple lawsuits were filed claiming that the master planned community would threaten everything from native plants to endangered fish, pollute the air, destroy the Santa Clara River, encroach on traffic, and tap into the area’s fragile water sources. But while lawsuits and even the Great Recession succeeded in delaying the project, developers persisted and modified the plans along the way.