Castaic Union School District Gains Support from EH&A for Mitigation of Mammoth Developments

As the economy has improved over the past few years, so have new housing developments. EH&A has been working with school districts on how the district can accommodate the students generated from new residential and commercial development. In the Castaic Union School District (CUSD) two mammoth development projects have the potential to forever change this small school district.

When combined and totally built, the Newhall Ranch project and the Northlake Development project will add over 3200 new dwelling units to the district schools forecasting to nearly double the size of the district’s current enrollment. When CUSD was approached by the Northlake and Newhall Ranch developers to bargain mitigation factors for the thousands of proposed homes, Castaic knew they needed assistance. Steve Doyle, Superintendent, knowing that EH&A have significant experience in developer negotiations, called for assistance in reviewing the potential impacts from both developments.

With the recent approvals of the Newhall Ranch project, EH&A will be assist the district in a lengthy process reviewing the timeline of construction, negating impacts that the development will impose on CUSD and continued discussions with all developers to establish appropriate fees that favor the district. Associate Tina Cullors leads the team for EH&A.

Newhall Development has been working since 1980 to obtain various approvals from Los Angeles County and was finally approved in September, giving rise to a new city of over 58,000. Landmark Village is the only Newhall Ranch development within the CUSD boundaries. Landmark Village will consist of 1,444 dwelling units (single family detached, single family attached as well as affordable housing. Newhall Ranch is a part of NetZero Newhall and owned by FivePoint the largest owner and developer of mixed-use master planned communities in coastal California.

A second development project, Homestead North consists of 1,818 dwelling units including single family detached, single family detached custom, single family attached, apartments, and affordable housing. Homestead North is a part of the Northlake Development project that was approved by Regional Planners in April.

A lack of housing developments and growth in the Castaic area are negatively impacting enrollment numbers in all four schools in the CUSD. Over the next three years, the total enrollment (TK-8) for the District is expected to decline by 261 students (a net loss of 11.7%), according to a Davis Demographic report.

Although there has been very little if any new residential development in the Castaic area for the past five years, things will change with the pending Newhall Ranch Project (Landmark Village) with occupants in 2020 and the Northlake housing project with occupants in 2021. The report also states that the modified Los Valles project might begin by 2019 and the Tapia Ranch project might start up again with occupants by fall 2020.

The Newhall Ranch project comes amid a severe housing crunch across California that has caused rents to rise dramatically and pushed cities such as Los Angeles to approve denser developments. It is estimated that L.A. County needs to build roughly 180,000 housing units between 2014 and 2021 to keep up with the population growth. In the last five years only 1,200 residential units were developed in unincorporated Los Angeles County.

EH&A has assisted CUSD in making certain that CUSD will be prepared for the students generated from these projects and making sure that school sites will be available in these projects and that sufficient resources through developer fees and Community Facility Districts are available to build facilities consistent with need.
For more information on how EH&A can assist you in identifying impacts of new projects on your district or in strategizing and negotiating the impacts to make sure you get your share of public facilities in the CEQA review process please contact Tina Cullors at tina@ehanda.com or at 760.602.9352.