Planning and Approval Documents

In the late 1980’s, Newhall Ranch was just a dream for the Newhall Land and Farming Company. First they dreamed what was possible and then put pen to paper to capture that dream.  Several years later, that dream became an 855 page document call the “Newhall Ranch Specific Plan”. 

They submitted that plan to the Los Angeles County Regional Planning Department in the early 1990’s… and then they waited… revised their dream… waited… revised it again,

Wait, Wait, Wait… Ohhh… Now??? Oh… no… Ok… well, I’ll get right on that…

waited and revised it again and again… etc, etc. etc.  I wasn’t sure that Newhall Ranch would even happen in my lifetime with all the hoops they had to jump through and hurdles they crossed that often seemed unsurmountable.

The good news is, the development just had its first huge success with Mission Village and Landmark Village getting a final tract map subdivision approval from Regional Planning on July 18, 2017. 

I was at the meeting with the Board of Supervisors, and to be honest, I was overcome with emotion and I wasn’t even involved with the process for all these years.  I followed it in the newspaper for God’s sake.  I can’t even imagine what all the men and women that had worked for DECADES felt at that moment.   It had to be nothing less than amazing… with a little side or maybe even a BIG side of “relief” I am sure!

The documents I have listed below, many of them several hundred pages long, are just an inkling of the processes Newhall Land, now FivePoint had to go through each step of the way!   I found a lot of very interesting information in the pages below.

As far as the Newhall Ranch Specific Plan goes, I have selected a few “bits and pieces” of the 855 page document, (yep, went through the whole thing), that I found to be of interest to me, that I thought you might enjoy reading about.   I have listed that information in the drop down tabs below. 



The original Newhall Ranch Specific Plan was adopted by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on May 27, 2003.  That was 14 years ago at the time I am writing this.  As you can imagine, what was originally planned has changed enormously over the years as it has continued through the process of planning and approval.  Keep in mind that anything you read in there may have changed as there were 100’s of changes through the years.

If you have a good case of insomnia or want a little more detail than I offered below, you can read the entire document if you wish, just click on the picture to the left.

Bits and Pieces of the Newhall Ranch Specific Plan 2003



The Newhall Ranch Specific Plan was adopted by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors on May 27, 2003. The Specific Plan guides the long-term development of the 11,999-acre Newhall Ranch community, comprising a broad range of residential, mixed-use, and non-residential land uses and associated amenities, including 20,885 residential units and 5.54 million square feet of mixed-use and commercial uses.

As approved by the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors, the Newhall Ranch Specific Plan allows up to 21,308 dwelling units (including 423 second units); 629 acres of mixed-use development; 67 acres of commercial uses; 249 acres of business park uses; 37 acres of visitor-serving uses; 1,014 acres of open space (including 181 acres of community parks and 833 acres in other open spaces); 5,157 acres in Special Management Areas; 55 acres in 10 neighborhood parks; a 15-acre lake; a public trail system; an 18-hole golf course; two fire stations; a public library; an electrical substation; reservation of five elementary school sites, one junior high school site, and one high school site; a 6.8-million-gallon-per-day (mgd) water reclamation plant; and other associated community facilities. Buildout of Newhall Ranch is projected to occur over approximately 25 to 30 years, depending upon economic and market conditions.

The Specific Plan also establishes the regulations and standards for the protection of Open Areas adjacent to development and the two large River Corridor and High Country Special Management Areas, totaling approximately 6,170 acres.

Resource Description

Resource Description

At 11,963 acres, the Newhall Ranch site is among the largest of the land holdings in the region having a single owner or small number of owners.  The size and single ownership of the site provide a unique opportunity to develop a comprehensive master-planned community in which land uses are judiciously sited, and infrastructure and service systems are planned and coordinated with regional systems.

The Newhall Ranch site has diverse topography and natural resources.

Significant landform features such as the Santa Susana Mountains, Santa Clara River and river bluffs, Sawtooth Ridge and Ayers Rock are constraints to development, but provide opportunities to integrate an urban community within a natural setting.  The Santa Clara River Valley, Potrero Valley, the Mesas along the river and, to a lesser extent, Long Canyon, provide large areas of more even topography which is suitable for development.  In general, these portions of the property have historically been used for agriculture, grazing, and oil and natural gas operations, and therefore have reduced biotic integrity.

A significant portion of the site is within County Significant Ecological Areas No. 20 (Santa Susana Mountains) and No. 23 (Santa Clara River).  These areas pose major constraints to development, but also provide biotic and scenic resources, the preservation of which add to the environmental, aesthetic, and recreational quality of the ultimate community.

The Specific Plan for Newhall Ranch was prepared in a series of iterations over approximately a five-year period.  Incorporated into the Specific Plan are extensive studies of the site and its environmental resources, as well as the constraints and opportunities briefly described above.  Market analysis was conducted to determine the range of home types, retail and office commercial, and employment generating land uses which would be warranted based on demographic and economic trends in Southern California.  Nationwide and local surveys were used to determine the community character and amenities that people would find desirable in a planned community.  In addition, public input to the plan was obtained through extensive Community Task Force meetings and other public outreach efforts.  Finally, the goals and policies of the Los Angeles County General Plan and Santa Clarita Valley Area Plan were fundamental in shaping the community.

The Newhall Ranch Specific Plan has been refined over the course of the planning process in order to avoid environmental impacts and to reduce impacts where avoidance is not feasible.  The refinement of the Specific Plan has been achieved through the incorporation of the project design features discussed below.  These project design features of the Specific Plan include the following:

(1) Approximately 5,159.4 acres of regionally significant open areas, or 43% of the site, are being retained as Special Management Areas, (see Exhibit 2.6-1).  This system preserves the resources of County Significant Ecological Areas No. 23 (Specific Plan River Corridor SMA) and No. 20 (Specific Plan High Country SMA) on the property.  These two SEAs are connected through Salt Creek Canyon, a major portion of which is preserved as part of the High Country SMA and which serves as a wildlife habitat and movement corridor.  The lower portion of Salt Creek Canyon continues off-site into Ventura County.  Both the River Corridor SMA and High Country SMA serve as important links in regional wildlife movement (see Exhibit 2.6-2).

(2) Open Area, the land use designation for those open areas apart from the SMAs, totals approximately 1,010 acres including significant landforms, major creeks and drainages, oak woodland and savannahs, Community Parks, and cultural sites.

(3) The total open areas within the Newhall Ranch site, including the SMAs and Open Area, is approximately 6,170 acres, or 51% of the site.  This total does not include further open areas which will be delineated in the future for uses such as Neighborhood Parks, trails, and recreation centers.

(4) Planning for the Santa Clara River Corridor has been designed to retain the River*s significant riparian vegetation and habitat, to allow the River to continue to function as a regional wildlife corridor, and to provide flood protection to Los Angeles County standards.  The planning criteria used are discussed in the Mitigation and Habitat Management Program of this RMP.

(5) Highway crossings over the Santa Clara River have been restricted to three locations, significantly less than the number of agricultural crossings which already exist and which are permitted to continue under federal law.  Elevated bridge crossings of the River also lessen biotic impacts.

(6) The visually dominant bluffs and steep, oak woodland filled canyons along the south side of the river are part of the significant lands being preserved in Open Area.

(7) The Specific Plan preserves oak woodlands and savannahs both within the Open Area, SMAs (SEAs) and in the development areas of the community.  While planning has emphasized conservation of oak habitat rather than individual trees, of the estimated 16,314 oak trees within the Specific Plan Area, fewer than 650, or less than 4%, would potentially be impacted by development.

(8) Major drainages throughout the property will be soft bottom.  The project will meet the requirements of the National Pollution Discharge Elimination System (NPDES) for ensuring the quality of water entering the Santa Clara River.

(9) Significant landform features such as Sawtooth Ridge and Ayers Rock are preserved within Open Area as landmarks for the community.

(10) Cultural sites, including the Asistencia (the annex to the San Fernando Mission), are being preserved or mitigated.

Design Guidelines

Design Guidelines

Consideration should be given to strengthening Village identity through the use of landscape palettes, landmark buildings, signage and other such elements.

Phasing Program

Phasing Program

The primary intention of the Newhall Ranch Phasing Program is to correlate appropriate infrastructure requirements to site development.  To allow for a flexible phasing program, the five (5) individual villages of Newhall Ranch have been planned so that each Village may be developed independently, in any order. Villages may also be developed concurrently to allow for maximum efficiency of infrastructure implementation and to meet market demand.  Each Village may also be phased so long as infrastructure, including roads, water, sewer, and drainage systems are in place as development occurs.

The sequence of development for Newhall Ranch will be influenced by the following factors:  1) the economy; 2) the rate of growth of other regional projects; and 3) changes in regional infrastructure/public facilities conditions and needs.

As these factors change during the course of the buildout process, necessary adjustments in corresponding infrastructure requirements will be instituted as set forth below.

Specific Plan Objectives

Specific Plan Objectives

The objectives below provide a policy foundation for the Newhall Ranch development plan and the regulations and guidelines of the Specific Plan.  Please see Appendix 7.2, Consistency Analysis, for an analysis of the Specific Plan’s consistency with the Los Angeles County General Plan and Santa Clarita Valley Area Plan and a comparison of these objectives with the applicable General Plan policies.

A. Land Use Planning Objectives

  1. Create a major new community with interrelated Villages that allows for residential, commercial and industrial development, while preserving significant natural resources, important landforms and open areas.
  2. Avoid leapfrog development and accommodate projected regional growth in a location which is adjacent to existing and planned infrastructure, urban services, transportation corridors, and major employment centers.
  3. Cluster development within the site to preserve regionally significant natural resource areas, sensitive habitat, and major landforms.
  4. Provide development and transitional land use patterns which do not conflict with surrounding communities and land uses.
  5. Arrange land uses to reduce vehicle miles traveled and energy consumption.
  6. Provide a complementary and supportive array of land uses which will enable development of a community with homes, shopping, employment, schools, recreation, cultural and worship facilities, public services, and open areas.
  7. Organize development into Villages to create a unique identity and sense of community for each.
  8. Design Villages in which a variety of higher intensity residential and nonresidential land uses are located in proximity to each other and to major road corridors and transit stops.
  9. Establish land uses and development regulations which permit a wide range of housing densities, types, styles, prices, and tenancy (for sale and rental).
  10. Designate sites for needed public facilities such as schools, fire stations, libraries, water reclamation plant and parks.
  11. Allow for the development of community services and amenities by the public and private sectors, such as medical facilities, child care, colleges, worship facilities, cultural facilities, and commercial recreation.
  12. Create a physically safe environment by avoiding building on fault lines and avoiding or correcting other geologically unstable landforms; by constructing flood control improvements to protect urban areas; and by implementing a fuel modification program to protect against wildfire.

B. Economic Objectives

  1. Adopt development regulations which provide flexibility to respond to and adjust to changing economic and market conditions over the life of Newhall Ranch.
  2. Provide a tax base to support public services.
  3. Adopt development regulations and guidelines which allow site, parking, and facility sharing and other innovations which reduce the costs of providing public services.
  4. Earn a reasonable return on investment.

C. Mobility Objectives

  1. Design a mobility system which includes alternatives to automobile use.
  2. Provide a safe, efficient, and aesthetically attractive street system with convenient connections to adjoining regional transportation routes.
  3. Facilitate public transit by reserving right-of-way for future MetroLink line, space for a park-and-ride and/or MetroLink station, and by providing bus pull-ins along highways.
  4. Provide an efficient street circulation system that minimizes impacts on residential neighborhoods and environmentally sensitive areas.
  5. Establish a diverse system of pedestrian and bicycle trails, segregated from vehicle traffic, to serve as an alternative to automobile use.

D. Parks, Recreation, and Open Area Objectives

  1. Retain a major Open Area which could act as a regional recreational park and an ecological reserve.
  2. Provide for the recreational use of open areas that is compatible with protection of significant natural resources.
  3. Provide neighborhood and Community Parks and improvements which satisfy park dedication requirements and meet the recreational needs of local residents.
  4. Locate Neighborhood Parks adjacent to schools and establish joint-use agreements between park and school districts.
  5. Provide a range of recreational opportunities including passive and active parks, an 18-hole golf course, and a recreational lake.
  6. Provide an extensive system of pedestrian, bicycle and hiking trails within the Villages and hiking trails in the Special Management Areas (SMAs) and Open Area.
Resource Conservation Objectives

Resource Conservation Objectives

  • Protect wetland and endangered species in the Santa Clara River.
  • Preserve the Santa Clara River Corridor and adjacent uplands containing significant natural resources for their resource value, Open Area, and recreational use.
  • Retain major Open Area and its natural vegetation as a wildlife or ecological reserve.
  • Preserve significant stands of oak trees.
  • Preserve the site of the historical Asistencia (San Fernando Mission Annex).
  • Identify and protect significant resources within the two Los Angeles County Significant Ecological Areas.
  • Preserve or minimally impact the most significant ridgelines and other major topographical landforms.
  • Provide a Water Reclamation Plant and supplementary distribution system to use reclaimed water.
  • Promote water conservation through design guidelines that encourage use of drought-tolerant and native plants.

Documents of General Interest


Newhall Ranch and the Santa Clarita Valley