Politics Magazine

Local Town Councils Receive Vital Updates on Antelope Valley Projects

Posted on the 01 November 2013 by Jim Winburn @civicbeebuzz

LANCASTER – The Association of Rural Town Councils met Wednesday at the Fire Station 129 Training Center in Lancaster to hear presentations from local officials regarding the status of the Northwest 138 Corridor and the Countywide General Plan Update that concerns Antelope Valley residents in unincorporated areas.

Tony Harris, a managing partner at Point C (a transportation consulting firm), spoke on behalf of the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (Metro) and the California Department of Transportation (Caltrans) regarding the proposed State Route 138 Corridor project, which extends 36 miles from Interstate 5 (I-5) to State Route 14 (SR-14).

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“Our goal tonight is really to make you aware that this effort is going on,” Harris said, noting that Metro and Caltrans have identified approximately $25 million in Measure R funds “to look at doing an environmental document” for the Northwest 138 Corridor.

Harris said the environmental impact report will be a three-year effort, where the agencies plan to “reach out and meet with other town councils and stakeholders between now and early 2014.” He said it would be about that time that Metro and Caltrans will hold their formal scoping meeting – so stakeholders may come together to discuss and finalize the scope of study for the project.

Explaining that data is still being updated on the project, Teresa Wong, the Northwest 138 Project Manager for Metro, said potential improvements for the corridor include “capacity enhancement,” that is, expanding the highway’s lanes, and addressing issues relating to the ingress and egress of traffic.

According to Metro’s project web page, http://www.metro.net/projects/nw138, “Providing operational improvements such as improving site distances and bringing non-standard roadway features to standard will help accommodate future demand, emergency access and improve connections to residential and business property located along the corridor.”

Metro’s website also states that the Northwest 138 Corridor environmental studies are being funded by Measure R, which is the Los Angeles County half-cent sales tax approved by voters in 2008. Funding for construction has not been identified and no timetable has been set for project completion.

To view Metro’s map for the proposed Northwest 138 Corridor project, visit http://media.metro.net/docs/sr138_project_map.pdf. For more information on the corridor project, contact Teresa Wong, project manager for the 138 Corridor, at [email protected].

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Connie Chung, the supervising regional planner for the county’s Department of Regional Planning, informed members of the area town councils about the Countywide General Plan Update, which is intended to guide development in the unincorporated areas of Los Angeles County through the year 2035.

“I think a good way of viewing the Countywide General Plan in relation to some of the planning efforts underway, specifically related to the Antelope Valley, is that it’s really a foundational document for future planning efforts,” Chung told the town council representatives.

She explained that the Countywide General Plan is not making direct land use changes or zone changes to unincorporated areas with existing area community plans in the Antelope Valley.

“However, there are some programs that are of regional importance that do impact the Antelope Valley,” she said. “You have some policies related to agricultural resource areas that we have identified, and those primarily are prime farmland that’s identified through the state Department of Conservation.”

Chung said another General Plan program relating to the Antelope Valley is the Significant Ecological Areas program, which is also identified as a “program of regional significance.”

Overall, major policies of the General Plan Update include making more housing available near transit, supporting jobs by preserving industrial areas, and protecting ecological habits and agricultural resources.

Chung said the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the General Plan Update will be ready in 2014, while county staff are working to present the General Plan Update to the board of supervisors by September 2014. The county plans to hold public hearings beginning in February 2014, after a release of the final draft in January 2014. The deadline for public comments will be the end of November 2014, she said.

Speaking on the county’s Housing Element Update, which is a component of the General Plan, Chung explained that this element of the General Plan focuses on housing needs and housing resources, as well as existing and projected housing needs anticipated for the next eight years.

“This is an analysis of the housing we do for the entire unincorporated area,” she said. “The reason we have to do that is because, like other General Plan elements, there is a statutory deadline to getting housing elements in to be certified by the state. There is a hard deadline, which is in February.”

More information on the Countywide General Plan Update and Housing Element can be found at http://planning.lacounty.gov/generalplan. Public meetings for the Regional Planning Commission are listed online at http://planning.lacounty.gov/rpc.

Connie Chung, the county’s supervising regional planner, can be reached by email at [email protected] Questions and comments also may be submitted by phone at 213-974-6417.

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Among those who attended the public meeting were town council representatives from Lake Los Angeles, Juniper Hills, Three Points/ Liebre Mountain, Antelope Acres, Leona Valley, Quartz Hill, and Fairmont.

The next public meeting of the Association of Rural Town Councils is scheduled for Wednesday, Jan. 29, 2014. For more information, contact Vance Pomeroy at [email protected]


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