Suburban ‘Centennial’ mega-project moves forward

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Los Angeles County's Regional Planning Commission today approved the conversion of thousands of acres of open space on the edge of LA County into a 19,000-home community.

They did it over the objections of environmentalists and others who called the project out of step with modern approaches to urban development.

The long-planned Centennial project is being proposed for a 270,000-acre plot in the Antelope Valley billed as the largest continuous piece of private property in California. The land is owned by the Tejon Ranch Co.

The project would include not only housing, but also 10 million square feet of commercial space, schools, fire stations, a police station and a library. Tejon Ranch says there will be no cost to county taxpayers, and that it will create thousands of new jobs. The project has also been pitched as an environmentally friendly “sustainable” community that will conserve water and energy.

Before approving the project, the commission heard more than two hours of public comment. Many speakers expressed concern about the environmental impact on the open space, while others said the idea of a master-planned community of such magnitude was a relic from the past -- despite the housing shortage in the county.

The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors is now set to consider the project, which would take 20 years to fully construct.

Tejon Ranch, the site of a proposed 19,000-home community at the northern fringe of Los Angeles County. Photo credit: Ian Lee.