Valley Voices — DEIR released for the Antelope Valley Area Plan, public comment Aug. 22 to Oct. 6

By Patric Hedlund

The most sweeping changes to the zoning of the Antelope Valley in more than 30 years is being decided in downtown Los Angeles, far removed from the windswept landscapes of Neenach and Fairmont.

Residents and property owners of these areas are likely to feel significant impacts from the changes being proposed by the Los Angeles County Department of Regional Planning (DRP), but the time available for review of the proposal, and the time available for public comment is limited.

Public comment will be open from August 22 to October 6. The public hearing on the plan will be Saturday, Sept. 27, at 10 a.m. in the Antelope Valley College Performing Arts Theater (3041 W. Avenue K, Lancaster, CA 93536).

The public notice about this process, outlined by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), warns “if the final decision on this proposal is challenged in court, testimony may be limited to issues raised before or at the public hearing (or any continuation thereof).”

That means it is necessary for the public to have thoroughly studied the plan in advance, and be capable of raising the questions that may impact their lives and the values of their properties. They need to be able to do that by September 27, or they may never be able to bring the issues up in a meaningful way in the future.

The TriCounty Watchdogs (TCW) surveys development and environmental issues affecting the Mountain Communities, which encompass parts of Kern, Los Angeles and Ventura Counties.

TCW vice president Mar Preston wrote a letter last week to Carl Nadela, project manager for the Antelope Valley Area Plan Update, requesting an extension of the comment period. It is currently 45 days. She asked it to be extended to 60 days.

“We protest the very short comment period,” Preston wrote. “As a volunteer community group, we have no professional staff to advise, research and write reports. We believe you are sincere in asking for public participation and wish to have informed input….

“Please consider extending the comments period for an additional 15 days to allow us the opportunity to interpret these dense and lengthy documents and provide an informed opinion.”

Currently, the draft environmental impact report (DEIR) is available for public review online at http://planning.lacounty.gov/tnc.

Hard copies may be reviewed at the L.A. County libraries in the Antelope Valley; the DRP main office plus the Antelope Valley DRP Field Office at 335A East Avenue K-6, Lancaster CA 93535; and Palmdale City Library at 700 East Palmdale Boulevard, Palmdale, CA 93550.

This is part of the August 22, 2014 online edition of The Mountain Enterprise.

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