2ND UPDATE, 3:01PM: No word on when work on the expansion will begin. Some minor hurdles for the expansion still remain, but the Supervisors’ approval was the big one. They approved two versions of the expansion today: One would allow Disney-ABC to erect about 556,000 square feet of buildings, including a dozen soundstages, and the other would be 510,000 square feet with eight soundstages. Disney has yet to announce which way it will go. The larger expansion always has been the leading project, but the company is holding on to the smaller option in case circumstances change in the future. “We are grateful for the tremendous community support for the Disney-ABC Studios at the Ranch project, Richard Ballering, VP Production Operations at ABC, said in a statement. “While the approval by the County of Los Angeles is a critical milestone, we still have a number of approvals to secure from other agencies.”
UPDATED, 2:39PM: The Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors today voted unanimously to approve the expansion.
PREVIOUS: Disney is one political hurdle away from a major expansion of its Golden Oak movie ranch north of Los Angeles. After a public hearing Wednesday, the LA County Department of Regional Planning unanimously approved the company’s proposal involving a 58-acre site in an unincorporated area near the 14 Freeway adjacent to Santa Clarita. Disney wants to add more than a half-million square feet of buildings to the property, including about a dozen high-tech soundstages, offices and writers bungalows and support facilities along Placerita Canyon Road. The nine-figure proposal, announced in October 2009, has largely flown under the radar due its rural setting and being publicly overshadowed by Universal’s massive $1.6B “Evolution Plan” for Universal City.
Plans for the nearly 900-acre ranch – which currently ranging from such rural sets as barns, groves, a lake and a waterfall to a residential street and urban district — include creating about 20 lots, with a water tank, parking, mobile home relocation areas and other facilities. A source told Deadline that Dis is keen to get indoor and outdoor production facilities on a single property, but no construction timeline is in place as the company waits out the approval process. The LA County Board of Supervisors will give the final greenlight or stoplight when it votes on the proposal, likely in the next two to three months. The Golden Oak Ranch has hosted shoots for more than half a century, including such films and TV series as Old Yeller, The Mickey Mouse Club, The Shaggy Dog, The Santa Clause and two installments of the Pirates Of The Caribbean franchise.