Deal reached between Newhall Ranch developers and environmentalists

An aerial view of the Santa Clara River.
An aerial view of the Santa Clara River.
brewbooks/Flickr (cc by-nc-nd)

Environmental groups reached a deal with the developers of the Newhall Ranch project Monday, ending a decades-long dispute that will open the doors for a new city of 58,000 residents northwest of Los Angeles.

Newhall Ranch agreed to achieve "net zero" climate pollution under the settlement, which will require the developers to install 10,000 solar installations and 25,000 electric vehicle chargers and permanently restrict 9,000 acres of property in Ventura County from future development.

An artist's rendering of the planned Newhall Ranch housing development.
An artist's rendering of the planned Newhall Ranch housing development.
Five Point Holdings

The agreement also provides more than $25 million to conserve the Santa Clara River and watershed, which Aruna Prabhala of the Center for Biological Diversity told KPCC "could really mean the difference between extinction and survival for some of the species that live there." 

The Newhall Ranch development is a large residential and commercial plan to be built along six miles of the Santa Clara River. Environmental groups challenged it in state and federal court since it was first proposed in the 1980s. 

Several of the environmental groups involved in resisting the development—the Center for Biological Diversity, the California Native Plant Society and the Whitoyo Foundation—have agreed to withdraw their legal challenges to the developers.

Prabhala said the requirements will go far in helping to protect wildlife and the surrounding community, and that her group will stive to ensure the requirements are met.

"This agreement gives us something to point to if Newhall doesn't meet each of these [requirements]," Prabhala said. "And we're going to be monitoring and making sure that all of those things that we fought so hard to get into this agreement actually come into fruition."

However, two other conservation groups, Friends of the Santa Clara River and the Santa Clarita Organization for Planning and the Environment, will not drop their own lawsuit against the developers, the Los Angeles Times reports.