Fullerton Planning Commission Declares Development = Progress, Puts Stamp of Approval on Chevron’s Development Tract Maps

The Vested Tentative Tract Map (VTTM) reviewed at the 10/22/15 Fullerton Planning Commission Hearing contains a reincarnation of the 2011 Development Agreement that the people of Fullerton successfully referended in November 2012.  Of course the interesting part of this VTTM is a conditional approval that defines the acquisition offer for West Coyote Hills.

The Good

Fullerton City Manager and Chevron-Pacific Coast Homes Project Manager, Jim Pugliese, have both been professional and courteous in working with the Friends for initial input on acquisition.

At least there is an acquisition alternative on the table as a formal option to development.

The Bad

The acquisition terms do not allow a realistic shot at acquiring Coyote Hills for a park. They need to be amended.

Purchase price for most of the property is yet to be determined. Appraisals are due 11/30/2015. We urged the Commission to wait to make the decision on the VTTM after the appraisals, not before. It doesn’t make sense to contemplate purchasing the property without knowing its price. The Commission’s response: price doesn’t matter (or maybe they meant to say acquisition doesn’t matter).

The time to raise funds for acquisition is only about a year. That is not nearly enough time for a feasible acquisition plan. We asked for at least 3-5 years (and we don’t even know what the price is yet!). The Commission ignored our request. There were also some usual comments from those disinterested in acquisition that we should accept what is being handed to us because it has been 40 years, and they want to be see this “issue” resolved in their lifetime.

Forever – 40 years = Forever

We want to save Coyote Hills as a park not just for our own generation but for all future generations … forever. In fact when you think about it, most people who will benefit from a Coyote Hills park are not even born yet!

By coincidence, one of the Commissioners quoted an ancient Chinese proverb … the best time to plant a tree is 40 years ago. And then she voted to approve this plan that won’t give acquisition a chance to grow.

The Ugly

The City announced for the first time the action they are taking on Measure W since the election of 2012. Nothing.

Measure W repealed the Development Agreement which had “poison pill” language to repeal other approvals such as the General Plan and Specific Plan Amendments, and the Environmental Impact Report. That is important because Chevron-PCH would have had to reapply for those approvals which are again subject to referendum. The City’s attorney said that the City chose not to take action on Measure W; they chose to not terminate the Development Agreement which they claim meant all of the other approvals were unaffected. That brings us to the VTTM approval which is not subject to referendum. See what our attorney thinks of this matter in the Legal Memo we submitted to the City at the Hearing. That also brings us to the subject of the appraisal.

Since the City chose to ignore W, leaving all development approvals in place, it is setting the appraisals to be done at the highest possible value.

The Bottom Line

On 10/30/15, we filed an appeal to the City Council which may hear this matter at its 11/17/15 meeting.

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