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New Open Space Acquisition Will Connect to the Angeles National Forest
East Walker Ranch | Photo via city of Santa Clarita
In Los Angeles, new taxes, assessments and fee increases tend to fund a basic municipal services, such as growing a police force or renewing an aging power infrastructure. In smaller and younger cities, however, voters sometimes allow such monies to be directed elsewhere.
Case in point, an assessment passed by Santa Clarita property owners in 2007 (a similar measure failed in 2005) created the Open Space Preservation District, which gives the city money to purchase land, within and outside city limits, in an effort to preserve wildlife connectivity and a greenbelt buffer. The spacious city, the fourth largest by population in L.A. County, and its surroundings are always a target for major development projects.
Although the city has acquired over 3,000 acres of open space prior to the new funding source, today the first purchase with money from the annual assessment will be unveiled. 140 acres of Walker Ranch is now public property that will connect to the Angeles National Forest via Golden Valley, another piece of city land dedicated to open space.
Property owners currently pay $26 a year per parcel into the fund. In general, 90 percent goes to open space and up to 10 percent can go for parkland. Still, the Walker Ranch property was only partially bought with assessment money--about $250,000 came from Los Angeles County and close to $1 million came from, interestingly enough, Pardee Homes, a development company.