Measure W Defeated: Residents Vote Againt Development of West Coyote Hills

Measure W was defeated by a healthy margin on November 6, 2012: 60.8% of Fullerton voters rejected Measure W which would have given Chevron-Pacific Coast Homes entitlements to build 760 houses and a shopping center on the 510-acre site of West Coyote Hills. So many of you told us that our last natural open space is too precious to be paved, and that a park is the best use of this land. It is our natural heritage. Others expressed great concern at the pressure it would put on our public infrastructure: traffic congestion, school crowding, rising water costs, etc.

Is West Coyote Hills saved? Not quite, but we have taken another giant step towards that goal. Here are our next steps.
1) The City of Fullerton must uphold the people’s vote and it needs to follow the ordinances they wrote themselves to nullify all approvals for Chevron’s development plan. No if’s or but’s and no play on words. The full spirit of those ordinances must be followed. These must be overturned: General Plan Amendment (2011-31), Specific Plan Amendment #8 (2011-32), Development Agreement (2011-3169), Tentative Tract Maps, Environmental Impact Report certification.
When the City upholds the voters’ will and follows the law to reject all development approvals, it will have set the clock back almost 10 years when Chevron began its current application for approval. According to the referendum process, they can return with a different plan after one year, but no sooner. We hope that they will find it more profitable to use their resources to negotiate the sale of West Coyote Hills for a park. If not, let’s hope the Fullerton City Council will represent the interest of their constituents. If not, voters will step in again.
2)  Line up the money to purchase all of West Coyote Hills. We’ve written in the past about real funding sources for the purchase of West Coyote Hills. We’ve also stated that the problem is not the availability of funds but rather the lack of a willing seller in Chevron. Public pressure (our last decade of work culminating with the recent defeat of Measure W) combined with funding make a willing seller.
Fullerton is not in this alone. Throughout the election, we were cheered on by our neighbors in La Habra, La Mirada, Buena Park, Brea, and even Anaheim who hoped Fullerton voters would make the right choice and save West Coyote Hills. We were also cheered on by organizations that have long stood by us and are experienced in saving lands for parks: Sierra Club, Audubon Society, Natural Resources Defense League, Center for Biodiversity, Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks, League of Conservation Voters, the River and Mountains Conservancy, and more. They were ecstatic with the news of Measure W’s defeat and called it simply “amazing”. At the same time, they offered more help to take this to the next level. So the question now is not whether we can succeed in saving all of West Coyote Hills, but why we should fail.

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