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Before You BuyYou Should Know

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 plain.

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 plain. When we asked about the flood plain, 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 plain. (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 this blog 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.

Disclaimer: This is not intended to be a complete or fully accurate list of things that may concern you when purchasing a home. This is intended only to share what this author has learned.

crime and problems in 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).

Landslide in Neighborhoods within Santa Clarita

In winter 2019, the land began to slide in the 19700 block of Terri Drive in Canyon Country, impacting the Trestles Home and American Beauty developments. Read more below:

January 13, 2020

March 30, 2019

March 2, 2019

February 28, 2019

February 25, 2019

February 22, 2019


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

EnviroStor Map

Maintained and published by the California Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC), you can view a full-color interactive map of all of the sites and facilities in the database that may present toxic substances--from a school auditorium to the Whittaker-Bermite site listed below.

Bouquet Canyon Dam

Also referred to as Bouquet Reservoir, there are actually two earthen dams referred to as Dam 1 and Dam 2. The reservoir was built in 1934 and holds 11,895,190,755 gallons of water and covers 628 acres. Flood zones are indicated south of the dam following Bouquet Canyon Road and heading east onto Vasquez Canyon Road and north into Vasquez Canyon Trail. (See map at above link.) Daily, weekly, and monthly inspections are conducted by DWP staff and annually by the Department of Water Resources Dept. of Safety of Dams (DOSD).
35999 Bouquet Canyon Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91390

In September 2020 State of California Department of Water Resources published a report on the condition of California's dams. The Bouquet Canyon Dam was listed to be in "Satisfactory" condition with a downstream hazard of "Extremely High" based solely on potential downstream impacts to life and property should the dam fail when operating with a full reservoir. Please note "Extremely High" is not related to the condition of the dam or its appurtenant structures. (Please review the previous referenced report for details.)

Camp Scott

On April 18, 2022, the City filed a lawsuit against the County, alleging that the Board of Supervisors has approved the selection of Camp Scott without undertaking appropriate review under the California Environmental Quality Act. The next step in the lawsuit is to prepare the administrative record--which the City is electing to do. Read more here.

As of March 15, 2022 the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors recommended Camp Scott in Santa Clarita and Campus Kilpatrick in the unincorporated area of Malibu Canyon as permanent facilities for juvenile males formerly under the Division of Juvenile Justice (DJJ) authority. The County will now move forward in developing plans to renovate the dilapidated Camp Scott in conjunction with Campus Kilpatrick. The Santa Clarita City Council approved a California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) lawsuit against the County of Los Angeles on the grounds that it is unsafe for the DJJ population putting them in extreme peril due to Camp Scott being in an extreme fire and flood hazard area.
28700 Bouquet Canyon Rd, Santa Clarita, CA 91390

August 1, 2022

March 15, 2022

Castaic Lake Dam

The reservoir behind the earthen dam holds 105,447,968,700 gallons of water. 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.)
33100 Lake Hughes Rd, Castaic

In September 2020 State of California Department of Water Resources published a report of the condition of California's dams. The Castaic Dam was listed to be in "Fair" condition with a downstream hazard of "Extremely High" based solely on potential downstream impacts to life and property should the dam fail when operating with a full reservoir. Please note "Extremely High" is not related to the condition of the dam or its appurtenant structures. (Please review the previous referenced report for 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.

May 28, 2022: Federal court reinstates CEMEX contracts

September 21, 2021: Cemex wins court ruling vs. BLM

July 28, 2020: Cemex contract expires Friday; land bureau denies extension

March 4, 2020: Cemex appeals BLM's decision ordering company to pay $25M

December 10, 2019: State water officials put Cemex request for water on hold

December 10, 2019: BLM Gives CEMEX 30 Days to Pay $25M+ or Mining Contracts Canceled.

August 7, 2019: City Takes Wait-and-See Approach on Cemex Suit.

August 1, 2019: Feds respond to new Cemex lawsuit.

August 1, 2019: Cemex Seeks to Overturn Government Ruling.

March 21, 2019: City vows to continue fight until Cemex contracts expire in 2020

March 20, 2019: Cemex loses federal appeal.

July 2018: Senators Wilk and Stern's bill passed in the California legislature with a 27-1 vote that calls upon our federal government to enact legislation that prevents the further development of the proposed mining project in the Soledad Canyon area of the County of Los Angeles. Read more here from SCVTV and SR-96 Bill Text here.

June 2018: City Council members discuss Cemex with Trump administration Dept. of Interior

March 23, 2018: Feinstein, Knight Ensure Cemex Mine Would Be the Last

March 22, 2018: Wilk Bill Calls on Feds to End Cemex Mega-Mine

December 2017: Cemex sues City of Santa Clarita

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 reported 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.

Historical Information: 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.

Francisquito Conservation Camp #4

The camp is jointly operated by the California Department of Corrections and Rehabilitation (CDCR) and the Los Angeles County Fire Department (LAC). The camp was previously used as a Los Angeles County fire-training center prior to the opening as a CDCR and LAC inmate fire suppression camp. Inmate crews are utilized on wild land fire suppression as well as county conservation assignments, including maintenance of the California Aqueduct, local parks, and fire stations. The camp inmates work primarily in Los Angeles County, but may be called upon to work throughout the state in fire suppression efforts. (There is also an Acton camp located just outside of the SCV.) View this article by The Signal regarding one escaped inmate in 2019.
35100 San Francisquito Canyon Rd, Saugus

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. In January 2020, LA County Supervisors unanimously approved a motion by Supervisor Kathryn Barger Tuesday to send a five-signature letter to California Governor Gavin Newsom and the LA County legislative delegation in support of a proposed expedited closure of the Aliso Canyon Natural Gas Facility.
Brady Pkwy, Santa Clarita

Keystone-Century Corp

According to this article in the link above by Jim Holt in The Signal, Keystone-Century manufactured PVC pipe on this 32-acre site, introducing trichloroethylene (an industrial solvent called TCE) to the groundwater. The cause? Vinyl chloride, which was widely used until 1974.
26000 Springbrook Avenue, Saugus

Lang Station

Operated by the Lubrication Company of America with the final permit issued in 1991, Lang Station is a 64-acre site currently undergoing closure. See Jim Holt's excellent article in The Signal here.
12500 Lang Station Rd, Canyon Country


Pipelines run all across highly populated areas, but you can know where they are located and assess your risk by viewing this web-based map of gas transmission and hazardous liquid pipelines, liquefied natural gas plants, and breakout tanks.

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.
29320 The Old Rd, Castaic

Whittaker-Bermite site in Santa Clarita

Water Reclamation Plants

There are two water treatment facilities in Santa Clarita:
28185 The Old Rd, Valencia
26200 Springbrook Ave, Saugus

New SCV Water Treatment Facility

In February 2020, SCV Water began construction on their $6 million water treatment facility. When complete, the $6 million project will restore use of a substantial portion of the ground water that has been impacted due to per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS) chemicals. It will treat up to 6,250 gallons of water per minute -- or enough on average to serve 5,000 families for a year.
23780 Auto Center Ct, Santa Clarita, CA 91355

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 of November 2019, the first cleanup phase has been completed and state officials with the Department of Toxic Substances Control have declared the site safe for the "intended use," although no plans are currently before the City. (See article from SCVNews dated November 15, 2019 below.) For information from California Dept of Toxic Substances Control, click here.

"We regularly collect and test water samples...confirm that the drinking water being served in the SCV is safe..." Jim Leserman, senior engineer with SCV Water.

July 2022: SCV Water wins $65.9M due to Whittaker-Bermite water contamination

September 2021: Whittaker-Bermite owners report $286M price tag

July 2021: Cleanup complete, but Whittaker-Bermite land still in limbo

November 2019: Whittaker-Bermite Cleanup Almost Done; No Plans, Yet

September 2019: SCV Water Agency poised to notify county, city about suspected carcinogen

July 2019: Whittaker-Bermite Soil Cleanup Complete, Officials Report

May 2019: Perchlorate Detected in Well Near Lowes Shopping Center

August 2018: SCVNews Article.
"Despite the recent news accounts and public relations charm campaign to depict the Whittaker site cleanup as 'nearly complete', the legacy of their historic contamination of the community's groundwater basin remains to be fully addressed." Matt Stone, general manager of SCV Water.

March 2018: Cleanup Update by SCV News.

August 2017: Synopsis of the property and update by

May 10, 2017: The Signal History and cleanup process.

Bermite Road, Santa Clarita,

Proposed Construction Sites

These locations have been in the news, but if you don't live in the area, you may not be aware of their pending development. While this is not intended to be an exhaustive list, we do try to archive large proposed projects.

High Speed Rail Connecting Palmdale to Burbank

From the California High Speed Rail Authority website: "The Palmdale to Burbank project section is part of the first phase of the California high-speed rail system connecting the Antelope Valley to the San Fernando Valley which will bring high-speed rail service to the urban Los Angeles area with a new modern rail line that closes the current passenger rail gap between Central and Southern California." Visit the website for updates and a map showing the proposed route along Hwy 14. In the news:
May 17, 2019: reported Feds Cancel Nearly $1 Billion for California High-Speed Train.

Honor Ranch

Honor Ranch is 206 contiguous acres of undeveloped land adjacent to the I-5 freeway 40 miles north of Downtown Los Angeles. This land lies between Pitchess Detention Center and I-5. On April 30, 2019, the County released a Request for Proposals (RFP), offering an opportunity to develop a County-owned vacant lot in Santa Clarita Valley.
34.466140, -118.615397

New Home Developments

In the excellent article from KHTS Santa Clarita's Hometown Station, Devon Miller maps out the nearly 50,000 homes being developed just outside of Santa Clarita's city limits. These projects include the 20,000+ homes of Newhall Ranch along Hwy 126 and the nearly 20,000 homes of The Centennial Project in Tejon Ranch.

Sand Canyon Resort Site

Steve Kim, CEO of Sand Canyon Country Club is the applicant of record for this project which would encompass nearly 80 acres. Currently this is a very rural site zoned as a Special Standards District with the purpose to maintain, preserve and enhance the rural and equestrian character of Sand Canyon. This portion of the property at the northeast corner of Sand Canyon Road and Robinson Ranch Road is proposed to be rezoned to "community commercial" land as indicated by in an article dated May 22, 2019.
27734 Sand Canyon Road, Santa Clarita
In the news:

July 14, 2021: Sand Canyon Resort Denied By Santa Clarita City Council

May 22, 2019: Visitors to Proposed Sand Canyon Resort Site Voice Concern Over Open Space.

April 5, 2019: Updated Sand Canyon Resort Project Open For Public Comment


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 more.


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 October 28, 2022

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.

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