In a three-hour van tour, the commissioners first stopped at Bridgeport, just north of the Santa Clara River, where Newhall Land officials touted the technology, called “buried bank stabilization,” used to shore up the river’s edge for development. The technique involves trenching some 100 feet from the river’s edge, then backfilling with a mixture of cement and soil. The new riverbank is landscaped with plants and foot and bike trails. “(It’s) definitely much more attractive and environmentally friendly than the channeling that’s been done elsewhere in the Santa Clara River,” Modugno said. Though development opponents have dismissed it as another form of concreting a free-flowing river, the technique will be used for the Landmark tract, which the Santa Clara bisects. As the caravan left the suburbs and moved west, tract homes gave way to farmland tapped for Landmark Village. On the south are the river and an untouched ridge, with Highway 126 to the north. “For those who’ve seen it before, it was a good refresher,” Lauffer said Monday. “For new commissioners or staff, it’s good to have particular recollection of the property as we discuss it before them with maps and boards and plans.” Developers propose a 6.5 million-gallons-per-day wastewater treatment plant near the county line to serve Newhall Ranch. The water would be treated for landscape or industrial use, officials said. “I think that what we’re able to do by showing developed areas of Valencia and showcasing the Newhall Ranch property is to show very clearly how we can bring needed jobs and needed houses and preserve open space in development,” Lauffer said. “We have something very tangible to point to as we move forward into Newhall Ranch.” The final stop took commissioners deep into Pico Canyon, where oil pumps continue to work near the historic town of Mentryville – home to California’s first commercially successful oil well. The 8,000-home Potrero tract is planned there. “It’s a beautiful area,” said Commissioner Esther Valadez, representing the 1st District. “Our role is to interpret the level of compliance (to the county development rules) of the principal applicant.” 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 “Obviously, traffic is going to be a major concern to the extent to which … people in this community will be using the I-5 corridor through the Newhall Pass,” said Commissioner Pat Modugno, who represents the 5th Supervisorial District, which includes the Santa Clarita Valley. The project faces scrutiny from environmental groups concerned about impacts on the Santa Clarita River and threatened species including the San Fernando Valley spineflower – a plant thought to be extinct before it was rediscovered in the area in 2000. “Clearly, we will be looking at the species that are there, and also the plants and the fauna, and also the protection of the hillside,” Modugno said. “That will be a critical portion of our decision making.” Newhall Land has submitted maps to county regulators for the 1,444-home Landmark Village – the project’s first phase – as well as for the 6,000-home Mission Village and the 5,000-home Homestead Village, said Marlee Lauffer, the builder’s spokeswoman. She said plans are still being drafted – and are several years away from being submitted – for the 8,000-home Potrero Village in Pico Canyon. The entire 21,000-home project will take at least two decades to develop, she said. SANTA CLARITA – The Regional Planning Commission took a weekend tour of the fertile farmland and canyons that will be the site of the 21,000-home Newhall Ranch development as builders prepare for another round of county review. The five-member advisory panel, charged with scrutinizing development in unincorporated Los Angeles County, will likely begin hearings for the project’s first phase in early 2006. In anticipation, The Newhall Land and Farming Company recently took the commission on its first visit to the area in about four years. “This project has been a very strong interest for the commission,” said Commissioner Harold Helsley, who represents the 3rd Supervisorial District. “It’s important to learn what is being proposed – keeping up to date.” Planned for 12,000 acres of crop and cattle-grazing land south of Highway 126, between Interstate 5 and the Los Angeles-Ventura county line, the development will be Newhall Land’s last major planned community in the Santa Clarita Valley – complete with schools, industrial buildings, parks and open space.