The Things You Need to Know Before Moving to Santa Clarita Valley
or Buying a Home in Santa Clarita
(Things Your Realtor Won't, or Can't, Tell you)
When you move into a new area, it's important to get the facts about where you're considering buying a house. What may look like a great deal on a
house may, in fact, be someone who knows a highway is about to take half of the front yard! Or, maybe it wasn't such a great idea for the builder
to put new homes next to a crime-ridden part of town. Or, maybe the house is sitting in a flood plane.
Read the fine print of your sales contract.
When we put money down on a home in Santa Clarita, we wisely took the contract home with us to pour
over the details. We noticed a couple of disclosures: we were backing up to a brick yard (now closed) and were purchasing in a flood plane. When we
asked about the flood plane, we were told, "Don't worry; it's never happened." to which we responded, "If we shouldn't worry, why is it in the contract?"
We canceled the deal and found a home not in a flood plane. (And a different realtor.)
Are you loving the house that backs up to a green hillside? You should know that in the summer that grass becomes brown and dry (becoming prone to
wildfires) and nature (snakes, bear and coyotes) may wander down from the hillside.
Santa Clarita is a great place to live, but there are some things that only the locals may know. And you're realtor can't legally tell you
things they may wish to share. Check out
for information on fair housing laws.
Since we are not realtors, we can share with you here some of those "insider secrets" about Santa Clarita.
Crime in Santa Clarita
SCV Sheriff's Station Link
The LA County Sheriff's Department is the law enforcement agency for the
Santa Clarita Valley.
Check out the link above for news, present and past, from the Sheriff's Dept.
Natural Disasters in Santa Clarita
Everyone knows living in California comes with a risk of living through an earthquake. There are two major fault lines running through Santa Clarita
Valley. The longest, the San Gabriel, begins in Sand Canyon Road and runs northwest roughly across Kelly Johnson Road and up to Pitchess Detention
Center. The second much shorter fault, the San Cayetano, runs roughly just north of Magic Mountain Parkway, across Interstate 5, and ends near the
California Highway Patrol station on The Old Road. See the map here
of Significant Earthquakes and Faults.
Flood zones in the desert? You bet. Floods may be caused by heavy rains or the break of a dam.
Made available by the City of Santa Clarita, the map takes a bit to download, but you can zoom in to locate your home.
When the heavy rains arrive during the winter months, some residents find it impossible to leave, or sometimes get to, their homes.
The roads most frequently affected are Sand Canyon Road, Placerita Canyon Road, San Francisquito Canyon Road, and the north end of
Bouquet Canyon Road (near Vasquez Canyon Road).
You may all remember the firestorms of 2007, when a three-year drought and Santa Ana winds combined to create "the perfect firestorm."
While wildfires are a natural part of the ecosystem in Southern California, there are things you can do to minimize your exposure. Follow the link
above for more information.
Sites Which May Cause Concern in Santa Clarita
Castaic Lake Dam
The reservoir behind the earthen dam holds 44,000,000 cubic yards of material. Flood zones are indicated south of the dam roughly following The Old Road,
north into Hasley Canyon, and southwest on Henry Mayo Drive (126). Other streets could be impacted, so please check the City of Santa Clarita's
GIS maps for further details. (Other flood zones are indicated on the map. Click "FLOOD" above for more details.)
The CEMEX Mega Mining Project
Just off State Hwy 14 in Soledad Canyon has been the focus of a battle between the City of Santa Clarita and the company with the federal rights to
mine 56 million tons of aggregate over the next 20 years. Said to be the largest gravel mining project ever approved by the federal Bureau of Land
Management (BLM), it would have added an 18-wheel truck full of rocks to the freeways every two minutes. The effect on air quality and
massive amounts of ground water have been of great concern.
On August 28, 2015, BLM cancelled the CEMEX contracts to mine in Soledad Canyon, citing non-performance by CEMEX. It remains to be seen what the future
holds for this project. On September 29, 2015, SCV News
CEMEX has filed an appeal and intends to "vigorously pursue all of its rights with respect to this project."
While the appeals process lingers, State Senator Scott Wilk introduced Senate Bill 57
which would reopen reopen public comment on permits relating to the mine.
While there had been a truce signed in 2007 while both parties sought a resolution, on December 17, 2014 CEMEX announced the company's plans to move
forward with mining in Soledad Canyon. This came after resolution that had passed the U.S. House failed to pass the Senate.
Sign up for enotify updates from the city of Santa Clarita here
Chiquita Canyon Landfill
A 639-acre landfill located in Castaic which has been in continuous operation since 1972. A 1997 agreement between Waste Connections, Inc. (owners of
Chiquita Canyon) and Val Verde residents required the landfill to cease operation once it reached a 23-million ton trash limit, or 2019, whichever came
sooner. The limit has been met, yet in April 2017 the Los Angeles County Planning Commission extended Chiquita Canyon's contract for an additional 30
years. How? In March 2017, Waste Connections anticipated exceeding the limit and applied for, and was granted, an irreversible waiver to continue
operations. Therefore they were in "good standing" when applying for the extension. The new contract will allow the landfill to expand within its boundaries.
NOTE: The proposed Newhall Ranch development is located one third mile southwest of the Chiquita Canyon landfill.
Highways of Santa Clarita
Santa Clarita sits between two major highways: Interstate 5 (Golden Valley Freeway) and Highway 14 (Antelope Valley Freeway). Chemical spills and
crashes involving big rigs are always threat. In 2007, a 15-truck pile up inside the tunnel of the Newhall Pass interchange (known as the 5-14 split)
caused a major fire resulting in the loss of three lives. It shut down the interchange for almost two days.
Honor Rancho SoCalGas Facility
Most of the country is familiar with the SoCal gas leak at the Aliso Canyon Storage Facility in Porter Ranch. The site is approximately 700 acres
with over 40 operational wells. Transmission (200 psi) and High Pressure Distribution Lines (60 psi) run under much of Santa Clarita Valley.
Pitchess Detention Center
Just off Interstate 5 at Hasley Canyon Road in Castaic is Pitches Detention Center, also known as "Wayside." The population of medium to maximum security inmates varies daily between seven to eight thousand men.
Although rare, breakouts do happen at which time local residents are notified. Check our local newspaper, The Signal
, for additional information in their archives.
The Whittaker-Bermite Property
Set behind the metro station off Soledad Canyon Road, 996 acres of land used since 1934 by various companies testing fireworks, weapons and explosives
Left behind in the soil were unexploded ordnances (UXO) and contaminants in the soil and water. As late as April 2017 the groundwater cleanup
process was continuing. For information from California Dept of Toxic Substances Control, click
For an excellent article on the history and cleanup process by Jim Holt of The Signal dated May 10, 2017, click here
Snakes and Spiders
Santa Clarita has things that bite, including Black Widow Spiders and seven species of rattlesnakes. Click on the link above to see photos and learn
As of April 2017, California Department of Fish and Wildlife advises they do not have any recent, confirmed reports of mountain lions. The California
Black Bear is found in Santa Clarita and it is not all that unusual for a bear to wander into a back yard. Coyotes are also frequent back yard visitors.
It is best to keep an eye on your pet and small children, as large animals cannot decipher between a wild animal (dinner) and a family pet or child.
Updated May 12, 2017
This is the page that talks about the bad things in Santa Clarita no one else can, or will, tell you. Some of these things are not all bad, but before you decide on the apartment or
house you are going to live in, you should know about the local community. Just as in every city, Santa Clarita has areas that have their own set of problems. Remember, what may be a problem for you, may not be a
problem for someone else. But we still think you should equip yourself with the insider secrets never openly discussed.