Los Angeles County supervisors approved a development agreement Thursday for a large housing project above Castaic Lake, which has been hailed by community members as well-planned and generous in its provisions of amenities such as schools and parks.
In approving the agreement for NorthLake, which essentially locks the county into the future approval of more than 3,600 dwellings, supervisors required enhancements to several of the promised amenities.
Approval of an agreement in advance of the filing of such specific details as tract maps and earth-grading plans is unusual. But because of tough controls on financing during the recession, developer representatives had asked at an earlier board meeting for advance approval so they could secure loans.
In addition to land for a library, developer Cook Ranch Associates was asked to pay $865,000 toward construction of the library. The county parks department required the option of increasing the total donated park acreage from 10 to 16 acres, in lieu of 10 acres and some park fees, to allow two larger parks to be created.
Supervisor Mike Antonovich lauded the developer for taking the county's advice to negotiate with neighbors.
"It would be nice if every project had this degree of support," he said in his motion to approve the agreement.
Antonovich also asked that the county reserve the right to reduce the size of the development if any hazards, such as earthquake faults, are discovered on the property.
NorthLake would be built in a 1,330-acre canyon sandwiched between the lake and the Golden State Freeway. In addition to the dwellings, it would include nearly 170,000 square feet of commercial development, more than 540,000 square feet of industrial development and more than 640 acres of open space.
It would not require removal of any oak trees or cut into any nearby county-designated Significant Ecological Areas.
An environmental impact report on the project determined that its greatest damage to the environment would be an increase in air pollution, but county planners concluded that the project's benefits outweigh that impact.