A Path Forward to Development
As Council Turns Down $15 Million for Coyote Hills Acquisition
In the August 2017 issue of the Fullerton Observer, I wrote a somewhat tongue-in-cheek piece titled “I’m All for Saving Coyote Hills… Unless It Can Actually Be Done”. This was in response to the Orange County Register’s misinformed editorial criticizing a couple of pending state legislation to help fund the acquisition of West Coyote Hills for a public park and preserve.
AB 510 and SB 714 legislation as currently proposed by Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva and Senator Newman would set up a multi-year funding program through a Coyote Hills Conservancy to save all of Coyote Hills as a park and preserve for our park poor region of North Orange County. This is consistent with Fullerton voters’ 2012 Measure W referendum that rejected the development of West Coyote Hills.
Sadly, the majority of the Fullerton City Council lived up to my “expectation” by rejecting AB 510 and SB 714 at its August 1st City Council meeting. It’s not that they don’t want the state funds. They want the money to go directly to the City so they can implement what they call the “Path Forward”, a euphemism for the development of West Coyote Hills as proposed by Chevron-Pacific Coast Homes.
This is the “local control” (another euphemism) they want so they can circumvent a conservancy oversight of park funds. Under this path forward to development, the City can purchase a couple of pieces of land at the highest entitled price. But even if that is successful, most of the 760 houses and shopping center will still be built on the remaining land.
Wait, millions of our tax dollars will be paid to Chevron-PCH and we have to live with all the negative impacts of their development: 10,000 additional daily car-trips on our streets, air and dust pollution, houses built on polluted oil wells and an earthquake fault, and overcrowded schools?
Councilwoman Fitzgerald followed up this Council meeting by slamming AB 510 and SB 714 in the OC Register, borrowing the famous words (not infamous as she wrote) of Ronald Reagan: “The most terrifying words in the English language are, ‘I’m from the government, I’m here to help.’” We should be more terrified of the lack of citizen local control over our own local government.
But it gets worse. At the end of the August 29th Special Council meeting, Councilwoman Fitzgerald opened discussion of an un-agendized item (potential Brown Act violation) to re-write SB 714. Over objections from the public audience, she proceeded to propose language to poison and weaken SB 714, and turn it into an enabler for the development of Coyote Hills.
SB 714 as proposed by Senator Josh Newman would gather funds to save all 510 acres of Coyote Hills for a public park and preserve. Councilwoman Fitzgerald wants to add language to legitimize the Council’s 2015 approval of Chevron’s Vesting Tentative Tract Map (VTTM), with all of its terms and conditions, including the Environmental Impact Report as the only plan for Coyote Hills (development).
The legitimacy of this VTTM the Fullerton City Council approved by ignoring the people’s 2012 Measure W vote is the very subject of a lawsuit led by the Friends of Coyote Hills, Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks, and the Center for Biodiversity.
If you support saving Coyote Hills and don’t want to lose this funding opportunity, write or call the Fullerton City Council and tell them to support AB 510 and SB 714 as proposed by Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva and State Senator Josh Newman. Stop trying to confuse the public with the path forward to development.
Fullerton City Council
303 W. Commonwealth Avenue | Fullerton, CA 92832