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County Now Expects Valley Population to Top Million by 2010

December 30, 1987|LYNN O'SHAUGHNESSY | Times Staff Writer

The population of the San Fernando Valley will reach more than 1 million by 2010, according to a report approved Tuesday by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors.

The county Planning Department report predicts much faster growth for the Valley than was estimated in 1980, the last time projections were revised. Those projections were for the year 2000.

In 1980, planners forecast that the Valley's population would reach 877,000 by 2000. The revised estimate is for 970,000 by 2000, an increase of 11%. An estimated 867,000 now live in the Valley.

County planners said the revisions were necessary because more growth than expected has occurred in the 1980s. Officials said the previous projections had assumed that the slow-growth trend evident in the early 1970s would persist. However, a flood of new residents through immigration and sustained increases in the birth rate made the figures obsolete.

Countywide, population will jump 20% by 2010, the report estimates, from about 8.2 million to 9.9 million.

Santa Clarita Valley Leads

The Santa Clarita Valley will have the biggest percentage increase among areas of the county, the study forecasts, with 125%. About 150,000 new residents are expected, bringing its population to 270,000.

During a public hearing on the issue last week, Santa Clarita City Council members asked supervisors to postpone a final vote on the revised population figures until the city had a chance to review them. Council members and some residents have said they fear that revising the population figures will prompt the county to approve more housing developments just outside the city limits.

City officials are concerned that schools, roads, water, parks and other services may be inadequate to handle that large a population.

But supervisors approved the projections Tuesday after Supervisor Mike Antonovich suggested that county regional planners meet with the new city's representatives on the matter. Antonovich left open the possibility that the Santa Clarita figures may be modified.

Santa Clarita Councilman Dennis Koontz, who represented the city at the board meeting, said he was pleased by the supervisors' vote.

"The county is opening the door to cooperation," he said.

168,000 More People

The addition of 168,000 people will swell the population of the San Fernando Valley to 1 million by 2010, according to the revision.

Only two areas of the county are expected to surpass that increase--the east San Gabriel Valley, which expects 250,000 new residents, and Central Los Angeles, where 217,000 more are predicted.

Meanwhile, the Burbank-Glendale area is expected to absorb 89,000 newcomers, bringing its population to 705,000 by 2010.

The report also projects that, by 2010, 55,900 more housing units will be built in the Santa Clarita Valley, 74,600 more in the San Fernando Valley, and 42,200 in the Burbank-Glendale area.

Since 1980, when population figures were last revised, the county population has grown by 725,000, a figure equaling two cities the size of Miami.

The study, which also includes projections on employment, will be incorporated into the county's general plan, which is used to guide growth in the county. The figures needed to be updated to provide a planning tool for many county departments, including those dealing with health, law enforcement and public works, said Norman Murdoch, the county's planning director.

In 1980, the county projected that the Santa Clarita Valley would have 165,000 residents by the year 2000. The new projection predicts 210,000 people by then.

The 1980 projection for Burbank-Glendale was for a population of 578,000 in the year 2000. The new projection is for 675,000.

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