If you live in the Stevenson Ranch area, you may be about to pay more for landscape maintenance. That’s because the county will be proposing an additional Landscape Maintenance District (LMD) fee to maintain the proposed improvements at the Lyons Avenue/I-5 Freeway interchange. The east side of that interchange was landscaped by the City of Santa Clarita but the west side falls within the unincorporated Los Angeles County.

County representatives will be attending the West Ranch Town Council meeting this Wednesday, February 3rd, to present the plan on landscaping that west side section of the interchange and lay out the annual assessment that residents will be responsible for. The fee will likely fall into the $45 to $50 range, this will translate into hundreds of thousands of dollars collected annually.

The question I would ask residents is; are you interested in paying more LMD fees especially in light of the awful state of the LMD maintained landscaping around Stevenson Ranch. Just look at the center mediums and slopes along Stevenson Ranch Parkway and in the community at large; dead lawns covered with brown leaves, dying trees and spotty vegetation. The flowers at the end caps of the mediums contrast nicely all that dead ground cover.

The priority needs to be getting residents’ current monies worth for landscaping and that is not happening. The LMD is notoriously inefficient with a disproportionate amount of our fees going to administrative costs. That means roughly 60% of the fees collected actually only go into doing the landscaping and maintenance which itself is unimpressive.  Why would it make any sense to add even more annual LMD fees for this new proposal when the current fees are not being utilized in a competent manner?

The West Ranch Town Council first suggested the interchange beautification many years ago as a way for increased cooperation with our City of Santa Clarita neighbors across the freeway.  The idea was that the city would take care of the east side and the county would take care of the west side. The City of Santa Clarita lived up to their end of the bargain and they are not charging a group of residents near the interchange any fees for continued maintenance. L.A. County should also live up to their end of that bargain without trying to hoist the annual maintenance costs onto a section of the West Ranch communities.

I am currently against this new LMD proposal to extract more fees to maintain the west side of the Lyons/I-5 interchange. It’s wrong and not fair to those that are being targeted for the addition annual fee.  The Stevenson Ranch LMD maintenance area needs to be brought up to an acceptable level of esthetic appeal first, which will show the community that the current fees are being administered properly before asking for any additional fees.  

This is why residents need to come out and hear the proposal first hand and ask tough questions. The Wednesday, February 3rd, council meeting begins at 6:30 PM in the community room at the Stevenson Ranch Library in the Valencia Marketplace.      

 Dave Bossert- Commentary   

Dave Bossert is a community volunteer who serves on a number of boards and councils. His commentaries represent his own opinions and not necessarily the views of any organization he may be affiliated with or those of The SCV Beacon.