QUARTZ HILL — Members of the Association of Rural Town Councils hope the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors will delay the public hearing for the proposed Centennial master-planned community to allow time for a more complete traffic study.
The L.A. County Regional Planning Commission voted Aug. 29 to recommend the project for approval to the board of supervisors. The board is expected to consider the project in December, although a date has not yet been set.
Proposed on about 12,300 acres along Highway 138 west of 300th Street West, Centennial calls for 19,333 homes on the 150-year-old Tejon Ranch at the far reaches of the northwestern Antelope Valley.
The population will be an estimated 57,000 at full build-out, which is expected to take more than 20 years. Plans also call for 10 million square feet of business park, retail, commercial, light industrial, civic and medical buildings. That would also be brought on in proportion to the construction of homes. More than 5,100 acres of the 12,300 acres will remain as natural grassland or oak woodlands, with hundreds more acres in parks and other open space, according to an environmental impact report prepared for Los Angeles County.
The project is expected to create 23,000 permanent jobs and 25,000 jobs during construction. Centennial would generate $31.3 million in taxes and fees annually for Los Angeles County.
Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority and Caltrans officials are studying widening the two-lane Highway 138 into a six-lane freeway for about eight miles east of Interstate 5 to 300th Street West, then a four-lane expressway the remaining 28 miles from 300th Street West to the Antelope Valley Freeway.
“The expansion of the 138 is directly tied to the Centennial project, but the county says we don’t need to evaluate the impacts of Caltrans’ expansion, they’ve done that. But nobody has adequately analyzed traffic impacts to the Lakes and Valleys and Antelope Acres, as well as the Antelope Valley Area Plan,” ARTC Director Susan Zahnter said.
Zahnter said up to 10% of the project can be accommodated by the existing conditions on Highway 138, according to the draft environmental report. From 10% to 75% depends on the expansion of Highway 138 to six lanes to 300th Street West. Beyond that, the project depends on an additional lane on each side that was not anticipated by Caltrans or the Three Points Town Council.
“The six-lane freeway wouldn’t end at 300th Street, it would end at Three Points Road,” Zahnter said.
Zahnter said she would like to meet with Supervisor Kathryn Barger’s Field Deputy Donna Termeer to arrange a meeting with Caltrans, Public Works and Regional Planning, if necessary, to figure it out before the board of supervisors considers it.
“I would like to request that the hearing be pushed out to the end of January,” Zahnter said, adding there may not be enough time to accomplish what she wants with the holiday season upcoming.
Acton Town Council member Jacki Ayer suggested they recommend the proposed Centennial project be limited to 20% until after the Highway 138 expansion project is complete.
In response to Zahtner’s request the ARTC agreed to write a letter requesting a meeting with county officials and an extension for the public hearing before the board of supervisors.
“These people are going to find alternate routes through the Valleys, especially if there’s a quick off-ramp in our community,” Zahnter said.
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