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Kern County Approves Tejon Ranch Resort

A major residential and resort development on the Tejon Ranch has won unanimous approval from the Kern County Board of Supervisors. The project, known as Tejon Mountain Village, is proposed to have 3,450 housing units, two golf courses, 750 hotel rooms, a resort and extensive highway commercial development on about 5,000 acres of a 26,000-acre spread east of Frazier Park. About 21,000 acres is designated for open space protection. Tejon Ranch Company and DMB Associates are the developers.
 
The Center for Biological Diversity has vowed to block the project. It contends the development's water supply assessment is inadequate and that the project would would have unacceptable consequences for the endangered California condor and other rare species.
 
The reliability of water supplies was an issue throughout the project's review. Tejon Mountain Village would rely primarily on the State Water Project, which frequently delivers only a half to two-thirds of the water it promises to subscribers. But the project  would also have access to a large groundwater bank, which could be resupplied during wet years. The project's numerous water-saving features -- such as drought-tolerant landscaping, a recycled water system for irrigation and a water budget for each building -- are intended to ensure a reliable water supply as well.
 
In 2008, several large environmental organizations, including the Sierra Club, the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Audubon Society, agreed not to challenge development on the 270,000-acre Tejon Ranch in exchange for the landowner placing 90% of the property under a protective conservancy. They said the preservation agreement was the surest way to protect the condor and other species on the area. The Center for Biological Diversity, however, refused to sign the pact and now intends to sue over development plans on the historic ranch.
 
Tejon Ranch's much larger "Centennial" development, a 23,000-housing unit proposal along Highway 138 in Los Angeles County, remains in the planning stages (see CP&DR Local Watch, April 2003).
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