Community: Hart district convenes with residents to discuss potential issues with 55-acre plot

By Tammy Marashlian
Signal Assistant City Editor
661-259-1234 x525
March 9, 2011

Whether it’s the likelihood of flooding or a need for bigger roads, about 20 local residents Tuesday night laid out their concerns and hopes for the Hart district’s plan to build Castaic high school at a rural and undeveloped part of Castaic.

This week’s scoping meeting is just the latest step the William S. Hart Union High School District has taken as the 23,000-student district moves forward to build a 55-acre school on the Romero Canyon property owned by local developer Larry Rasmussen. The district hopes to open the campus to incoming ninth-graders only by fall 2014, putting an end to the 10-year battle to build the school.

Tuesday’s meeting was a way for the Hart district to gather public input about the environmental impact review, a lengthy analysis that the district is putting together about Romero Canyon.

Among the concerns brought up during the meeting were the future of the unpaved roads surrounding Romero Canyon and whether two- or four-lane roads would be enough to serve the school and the growing Castaic community. At build out, Castaic high school is expected to have a capacity of 2,600 students.

“I am of personal belief that we should build a four-lane road to begin with,” Castaic Area Town Council member Flo Lawrence said. “I don’t see how we won’t need a four-lane road.”

The meeting also brought out members of Citizens for Castaic, a coalition of Castaic residents who have criticized the Romero Canyon property as a school site.

Group leaders are concerned that the school will cost far more than the Hart district thinks because of the complexity of the Romero Canyon property, and its deep slopes and canyons. Another issue brought up at Tuesday’s scoping meeting was whether the Hart district will be able to secure easements from surrounding homeowners for roads to Castaic high school.

Officials said the first copy of the environmental impact review for Castaic high school is expected to be ready for the public by early June, and will cover a spread of topics, including traffic, air quality and noise.

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