Coyote Hills

Planning Commission Hearing, Thursday, October 22, 7:00 p.m., City Hall Chambers, 303 West Commonwealth Avenue, Fullerton

Did you vote against Measure W three years ago, assuming that it would stop Chevron from building 760 homes on Coyote Hills? Think again. The good news is that nothing has been built there yet. The bad news is that Measure W’s one year hold on proposing a new development has expired, and the city government is pretending that the land is still zoned for building, making the land much more expensive to purchase.

Three years of talks following Chevron’s massive defeat at the polls in 2012 have yielded a new development plan application that simply pushes all of the homes to one side, with a relatively short window of time for phased acquisition to preserve it all instead of building anything. Same number of car trips, and more water for more houses. Oh, and the price for buying it all hasn’t even been established, and won’t be available until a month after Thursday night’s meeting.

The Friends of Coyote Hills, who gathered the signatures to overturn Chevron’s development agreement, resulting in Measure W, are waiting to see the assessed value of the land before taking a position on this new plan before the Planning Commission on Oct. 22. Show up Thursday night (yes, a special meeting night) to ask the Planning Commission why they can’t wait until the land value appraisal is available at the end of November to consider this application, and to ask why the City of Fullerton is ignoring the fact that Chevron’s development approvals were overturned by the referendum three years ago. And while you’re there, ask them why are we building more houses when we are cutting back on our own water use?

Coyote Hills Phasing Plan

More details can be found in the following letter, issued by the Friends of Coyote Hills this morning:

“Dear Friend,

Please attend the Fullerton Planning Commission Hearing tomorrow evening at 7 PM at Fullerton City Hall.We all need to let them know this application for a development tract map (Vesting Tentative Tract Map – VTTM) including the acquisition agreement is not ready for a decision by the City. Based on the Study Session last week, we are not supportive of this plan because it is shaping up to not be a feasible acquisition plan.

1The acquisition agreement greatly favors Chevron and development.
We would far rather be on the seller than buyer end of this transaction. The appraisal for the site is based on “highest and best use” as if the 2012 referendum never occurred. When we were in initial discussion with Chevron over acquisition, even they acknowledged Measure W casts a cloud over the status of the land.  Now nearly 3 years later and for the very first time (we’ve asked and asked and have not received an answer until now), the City is formally stating its position on Measure W and saying it was meaningless: none of the development approvals were overturned by it. In other words, it is giving Chevron the greenlight to appraise the land for acquisition as if it was approved for housing.

2Appraisals for most of the site has yet to be complete by 11/30/2015, and yet there is a rush to give Chevron vested right to develop now. Why would the City sign up to purchase land without knowing the sale price, especially when the appraisals are so close to being complete? Is the appraisal going to be so astronomical that acquisition would be virtually impossible? Why not wait until after the appraisal in November to make a decision on the VTTM? Would you sign a legal document to buy a house without knowing its price?

3The timeline allowed for acquisition fundraising is too short – only 1 year for probably an astronomical price (see our point above about the unfinished appraisal).

4After all is said and done with this agreement, there is nothing in it that commits the City to acquiring anything at all. That is a future and separate decision by the City Council over which we have no control. We been been patiently cooperating for an acquisition.  The City Council can decide to acquire nothing after this VTTM approval. At best, after they see the final appraisal (our point #2 above), they will probably not want to go beyond acquiring the token neighborhood 1.

When we set out on this plan for acquisition, we asked for a feasible shot at acquiring all of the West Coyote Hills for a park. The offer before us is definitely not that. As we said above, we’d much rather be the seller than buyer in this transaction. The agreement is that tilted in favor of the seller. Our City leaders must not approve a plan with a TBD price to be filled in later.

Please do plan to attend the Hearing tomorrow. Your presence at the Public Meeting spoke volumes! We need to continue to show up and speak up at the Hearing.

Planning Commission Hearing
Thursday, 10/22/15, 7 PM
Fullerton City Hall
303 West Commonwealth Avenue
Fullerton, CA 92832

Thank you for your continued support,
Friends of Coyote Hills”