Net Zero Newhall reflects a unique commitment to make Newhall Ranch one of the most environmentally sustainable master-planned communities in the nation. It is located in the Santa Clarita Valley, where you find LA’s third-largest city, Santa Clarita. Vast areas of open space will be protected for public use and net greenhouse gas emissions will be reduced to zero.
A Slice of History
This massive, master-planned community was originally proposed in 1994, and has been working its way through the entitlement process ever since. At that time, developers sought to break ground in 1998, according to the Los Angeles Times, but like most development plans in Southern California it has a much longer history than that. We actually have to travel back to the late 1800s, since this land was first owned and bequeathed by Henry Mayo to his five sons, who formed Newhall Land, a land management company, incorporated on July 1, 1883. They were also the creators of nearby Valencia during the 1960s. McBean Parkway is named for a man who married into the Newhall family, saving the company from financial ruin, who envisioned the master planned community concept, and the family-owned company’s first master-planned community set the stage for the building of Valencia. In the 60s, the Newhall family hired a Viennese urban architect, Victor Gruen, who designed a master plan for the building of a community. This was thought to be in response to California building the I-5 freeway through the Newhall Pass, encroaching on their urban life. Newhall Land was subsequently acquired in 2004 by homebuilder Lennar, which subsequently filed Chapter 11 in 2008. When Lennar emerged from bankruptcy in 2009, Newhall Land became a privately owned company once again, with Lennar retained a 15-percent stake in the company.
Now back to Net Zero Newhall. So it was proposed in 1994, and just approved in 2017. What was going on? Well, during the decades that the project was in planning it faced numerous legal challenges from environmental groups worried about the impact of such a large project on the local wildlife, ecosystem and air quality. There were also numerous changes in the investors, and the path to Newhall Ranch coming to fruition over the many years was also delayed by the economic downturn and changes in California regulations. But the project bolted ahead following the county’s certification of the latest environment analysis, claiming it meets the required re-approval by authorities at the State and County levels regarding the safety of the unarmored threespine stickleback fish and the project’s greenhouse gases. In its revised plan, the developer proposed building bridges and taking other steps to keep construction out of the river, eliminating the need to relocate any fish. It also proposed “net-zero” measures to offset greenhouse gas emissions.
A National Model for Sustainability
This 21st century suburban development, the largest in Los Angeles County, it is predicted to be the largest and most energy efficient, master planned development ever created. Poised to become the future home for 60,000 people, there is nothing like it of its kind, anywhere in the world. Currently referred to as “Net Zero Newhall” as in “zero net greenhouse gas emissions”, the world will be watching as it works its way through the final stages of planning and approval, to become the largest net zero GHG emissions project in the nation. Los Angeles County and the State of California are leading on the issue of climate change on a global stage, and this will be the standard in how you build communities and create housing without creating additional emissions, resulting in net zero emissions of greenhouse gases in both the construction of the community, as well as the operation of it. The mission is to create a community that produces as much energy as it uses in a year, thereby becoming the new hub of clean air.
Newhall Ranch will set the new standard for sustainability through a variety of green innovations onsite and within L.A. County, as well as by funding direct emissions reduction activities locally, in California, and around the world. From green construction that encourages energy efficiency to a well defined transportation management program, Newhall Ranch aspires to be the model for living and working sustainably in California. Five Point, the developer, seeks to reduce the community’s carbon footprint to zero by offsetting the pollution generated from construction and residential traffic. To achieve this end, they propose a 5-measure approach.
First, through green building and design, relying on innovations in energy efficiency and renewable energy in the construction of homes, public facilities and commercial buildings, including solar panels, solar water heating, cleaner cookstoves in Africa. All net greenhouse gas emissions from the project and its construction will be reduced or mitigated to zero.
Second, by encouraging sustainable commuting through carshare and bikeshare programs, subsidies for neighborhood electric vehicle purchases, electrifying buses, and creating thousands of jobs close to housing and shared workspaces. Predictions forecast 60,000 permanent jobs, designed to be within walking distance of nearly 60 percent of these homes, with construction itself, adding an estimated 135,000 direct jobs, plus other jobs indirectly.
Third, they plan to preserve the natural resources, designating 10,000 acres for open space, including a High Country area larger than Griffith Park and New York’s Central Park combined. There will be 50 miles of trails with a $13 million endowment to protect and enhance natural open space, wildlife and habitats in perpetuity. Also proposing state-of-the art water conservation measures, they plan to have a water reclamation plant capable of recycling millions of gallons per day, for use in irrigation, along with drought-tolerant landscaping.
Fourth, they will promote the use of electric vehicles by offering electric vehicle charging stations in every home as well as 2,000 electric vehicle charging stations in Newhall Ranch commercial and community areas, with 2,000 additional offsite charging stations in strategic L.A. County locations. Within Newhall Ranch, there will be subsidies for converting public transit buses to electric buses, an electric school bus program, rideshare and transit subsidies for affordable housing residents and local employees.
Fifth, they will invest in climate action. Net Zero Newhall advances the objectives of newly enacted SB 32, and supports Governor Jerry Brown’s leadership in addressing global climate change. In addition to these comprehensive sustainability measures within the Newhall Ranch community, the developers, FivePoint, will invest in programs that directly reduce greenhouse gas emissions elsewhere in L.A. County, California and around the world.
Just Where will Net Zero Newhall be Found?
Net Zero Newhall will be situated in an unincorporated portion of Los Angeles County along the Santa Clara River on the westside of the idyllic Santa Clarita Valley. The boundary with Ventura County forms a portion of the westerly line, while the Six Flags Magic Mountain theme park and Stevenson Ranch are its borders on the east, along with the City of Santa Clarita, which was formed in 1987 from four unincorporated communities (Valencia along with Saugus, Newhall, and Canyon Country). The proposed development will break ground in the Santa Clarita Valley by next year, and stretch over 12,000 acres, building 21,500 units — a mix of houses, condos and apartments — over a span of 15 to 20 years. Ten percent of the housing will be priced below-market for low-income families. It will also feature a commercial district, water reclamation plant, seven public schools, three fire stations, a regional park, three community parks, a golf course, and a 15-acre lake. 6,000 acres of permanent open space will be designated, and 50 miles of trails, along with a plan to create wetlands, transforming about 20 miles of tributaries and riverbank into storm drains and levees, using 20,000,000 cubic yards of excavated soil.
What We Know So Far
The Newhall Ranch megadevelopment, will be built in sections called “Villages”. Final approval of the first two, Landmark Village and Mission Village, was reached by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on July 18, 2017. Landmark Village will be the first neighborhood to be built, with 5,500 homes. Though some describe it as a quaint small-town community with porch-front homes, condos and corner stores, it is in fact, slated to be a built on 293 acres, with up to 1,444 residential units, 270 single-family homes and 1,174 condominiums. There will also be approximately 1 million square feet of mixed-use commercial space, along with an elementary school, park and other uses. Next, Mission Village will be developed on 1,262 acres and contain up to 4,055 residential units, with 1.5 million square feet of mixed-use commercial space, an elementary school, fire station, public library and more. Approximately 8,000 acres are dedicated to open space, and a water-reclamation plant will also be built.
The combined 2.5 million square feet of commercial space will be constructed between the two Villages, and will have a “downtown style” mixed-use center. Five additional Villages, Entrada, Legacy, Homestead and Potrero, are in various stages of the approval process.
Though approved, this project continues to spark controversy, as local real estate experts and the developer itself, questions the project’s ability to improve the area’s housing crisis, due to the housing deficit being too severe. Those opposing the project also question the sustainability of the net zero greenhouse gas emissions, while others question whether the area had sufficient water to support the massive project. Are you surprised to hear there is talk of an appeal? Stay tuned here for all the latest in this ongoing story.
And remember, call or text Mark Bolender, REMAX, 310-857-4956 and 661-714-0510, for all of your real estate needs, or email us, MarkBolender@RE/MAX.net and visit our websites often www.MarkBolenderHomes.com and VibeHomes.com
This information is provided as a public courtesy and is deemed reliable based on media, reports and publications available on the internet.