The county lawmakers approved Disney’s plans in a 4-0 vote on Tuesday. The company plans to build up to 12 soundstages, offices, bungalows, a commissary and parking on nearly 60 acres of its property, where such classics as “Old Yeller” and “The Shaggy Dog” were filmed.
Some residents argued that the project would have an adverse effect on traffic and water usage, but county planners found that there were “overriding public benefits” to the project, including boosting employment in the region. The project will require the removal of 158 oak trees, and Disney plans to plant 1,600 new oaks to make up for the loss.
Disney has declined to say which type of production will be located on the new lot, but it is expected to house TV projects, and is being named Disney/ABC Studios at the Ranch. The company first unveiled plans for the project in 2009, and in garnering support for the development has emphasized that it would create 2,900 jobs and generate about $533 million in economic activity.
It also reflects a substantial commitment to its real estate holdings, even as other states offer generous incentives in competing for production. NBC Universal and Paramount also have expansion plans for their lots, potentially complicating the message of some Los Angeles city officials. studio and union leaders who plan to press for an expansion or overhaul of the state’s production incentive program.
Walt Disney first shot at the ranch in the late 1950s, when it leased space to shoot the “Adventures of Spin & Marty” segments of “The Mickey Mouse Club.” He started buying up the property soon after, with the intent of preserving wide open vistas and greenspaces as the area developed nearby.
County planners said that the creation of a studio lot on a portion of the property would mean that some 637 acres would be mostly undisturbed ranch property.