Update: Coyote Hills

The October 2016 court ruling on the 2011 Measure W results put the Save Coyote Hills effort in a state of legal limbo.  Litigation has its risk for all sides.  The Friends have until February 3, 2017 to file an appeal.
The Friends of Coyote Hills sued the City of Fullerton for not following through on the voters’ will to overturen development approvals thus allowing the plan to build to build 760 houses and a shopping center on the 510-acre site to go forward.
According to the judge’s interpretation the public vote made no difference in ending the Development Agreement.  All the vote did was invalidate the mayor’s authority to sign the Development Agreement (an explanation which was not included in the ballot analysis).
So, then it follows, if there was no signed Development Agreement, it could not have been terminated because it was not valid. If it was not terminated then the other development approvals (entitlement) that went hand-in-hand with the Development Agreement are still valid.
This was not the City’s argument. In court, they conceded that they intended for all of the approvals to be linked so that if one failed (especially the Development Agreement), the others would be nullified. After all, the City would not want to grant Chevron-Pacific Coast Homes entitlement to develop without securing a promise of benefits to the City as written in a Development Agreement.
To the credit of Chevron representatives, they were willing to cooperate in settlement discussions throughout the legal process with the Friends. However, we could not come to a mutually satisfactory agreement on the offer of reduced open space conservation that may not even be accomplished, while allowing Chevron to go move forward with a still significant development.
Besides that, we were very troubled by how our referendum vote was ignored by the City. They worked very hard to get around the failed Development Agreement with a VTTM (Vesting Tentative Tract Map), and then spent four years defending that in court.
If they had terminated the Development Agreement after the 2012 election – which would have nullified the other development approvals as the voters desired (and the way the City intended the process to work) – Chevron could have reapplied for perhaps a more appealing and forward thinking
project in 2013 considering sustainability and the rise of the millenials and the aging population.

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