Coyote Hills Development Denied

Shawn Nelson voted to kill Chevron’s West Coyote Hills development – but not for the same reasons that Keller and Quirk-Silva noted.  At Tuesday’s City Council Meeting Shawn Nelson said of staff, “It’s like everybody got their Christmas list out.”

Nelson was referring to the extraordinary list of demands that the City of Fullerton has placed on the developer that include all-terrain vehicles, trailers, an interpretive center, school fees of more than $10 million, a $5 million endowment, and park fees.  Nelson said “There’s only 760 units planned in this development and that would be $265,000 per unit.  And they haven’t graded one spec of dirt, haven’t put in a street, a sewer, a street light.  I’m embarrassed.  I mean that’s shameful.  Whether you approve it or not, that’s a problem.”  He went on to ask, “How is that [list of demands] their [Pacific Coast Homes] or anybody’s responsibility that comes to town?”

Nelson made it clear that he supports the rights of developers.  He said, “Chevron has a right to build.”  But he was not happy that the development agreement showed up on his desk at noon, not leaving sufficient time to scrutinize the details.  One major concern was over water rights.  When he first took office, Nelson said he had inquired about other issues that have yet to be adequately addressed by Pacific Coast Homes, such as parking.

The councilman appeared to be most irritated that, “These people have been run through the ringer”, referring to the developer, Pacific Coast Homes – a subsidiary of Chevron and the list of unreasonable demands by city staff.

Shawn Nelson is running for the Orange County board of Supervisor’s 4th District seat vacated by Chris Norby after Norby’s election to the California State Assembly.  To no one’s surprise, Shawn Nelson is endorsed by Congressman Ed Royce and Assemblyman Chris Norby, among others.

Before the meeting was adjourned, Councilwomen Pam Keller made a lengthy statement that she would not be seeking reelection.

18 Replies to “Coyote Hills Development Denied”

  1. That was not a Christmas list; that was a bribe from Chevron. The Environmental Impact Report found that there were serious adverse environmental consequences–consequences that could affect the health of each of us–to the project and that these adverse effect could NOT be mitigated nohow.

    So to approve a project with such unavoidable consequences, the council would have to make a legal finding that the public benefits would outweigh the bad consequences. Hence, Chevron’s proffer of fantastic gifts to dazzle our senses and sensibilities.

  2. The decision made by a majority of the city council last night is both disappointing and regrettable. Even with the demands that were placed on Pacific Coast Homes through various commissions and city staff the developer was still willing to move forward on a project that would bring jobs and open space to our community. I believe that all last night’s meeting does is kick “the can” down the round for other to deal with.

    Chevron still owns the property and will hopefully continue to develop a sensible and sustainable plan that will benefit Fullerton. The Friends of Coyote Hills still have no funds with which to buy the land and with the economic challenges that government and non-profit organizations face it is unlikely to secure any funds to do so in the next thirty plus years.

    So because of the city council decision we are left with a 510-acre parcel of privately owned land that will remain private and fenced. And we have the Bob Ward Nature Preserve that remains fenced and not open for public use. So our leaders have really accomplished nothing by their decision last night. Nothing has changed from 1977. Is accomplishing nothing really what we want from our leaders?

    1. Bob, so nothing has changed since 1977. So what? You’re saying that any move at all is better than doing nothing? Since when? I applaud the council for voting against mowing over the last spot of open space left in North Orange County. I wouldn’t care if no human ever got to step foot on it. Coyote Hills needs to be preserved for the future, period.

      And as far as Shawn Nelson’s vote? Have you forgotten he’s a LAWYER. No matter what his vote was, he’d find some way to couch it so he came out smellign like a rose. In this case, he voted wisely. I hope he wins in November, so he can get the hell out of Fullerton.

  3. Pam’s not running? You metion that as a casual aside—but that’s big.

    Whiy isn’t she? U need to air the clip of her statement.

  4. Bob,

    How does putting asphalt streets and private homes on currently undeveloped land constitute “bring open space to the community.” ? The space is still there. Its more “open” then it would be of the project had moved forward.

    The only “improvement” would be that a small portion of the space that isn’t paved over would become open to the public. I assure you the wildlife prefers the status quo.

    “Is accomplishing nothing really what we want from our leaders”

    YES, generally.

    Especially with Fullerton’s merry band of pranksters, er, city council members. I wish my Irvine city council would do less — a lot less.

  5. I have not read the EIR, but how was the drilling mud issue addressed?

    As a chem eng who has worked for two different oil companies, my first response to the idea of putting houses on former drilling site is: THAT’S BATSHIT INSANE ( to use the technical lingo.)

    The issue is “drilling mud”, which isn’t mud at all. It’s a witches brew of heavy metals that range for unhealthy to recklessly toxic. It’s also essential. The current disaster in the gulf happened because drilling mud was withdrawn from the well. The “top kill” currently being attempt is nothing more than trying to put drilling mud back into the well.

    The muds are used by the ton, so drilling sites inevitably have elevated levels of heavy-metal toxicity. And heavy metal toxicity doesn’t degrade over time like pesticides or radio-activity. It remains forever until physically removed.

    What educated person would want to raise a child in that environment? I wouldn’t, no matter how many assurances BP, er Chevron, gave me that it “met standards.”

    So go slow on this one, Fullerton. Don’t be entranced by the short term goodies. Ask a lot of HARD questions about the cleanup.

  6. Tyler is exactly right. We drive through there daily and it’s NICE to see unspoiled land there, not another hillside cluttered with cookie-cutter homes.
    While I’m glad Shawn Nelson changed his stance and voted against the development, I’m unhappy for the reason. He grew up playing in those hills (“Motorcycle Hill”) and I would have thought that he would realize what a precious resource the untouched land truly is and cannot be reclaimed once it’s gone.

  7. It is private property owned by chevron and it does have the right to sell/develop their land. Instead of seeking a reasonable compromise between development that would economically benefit many people and maintaining some open spaces, Coyote Hills will devolve into another Fox theatre debacle. On a happy note, its is good news to hear Keller woke up to the fact that she is a fool and needs to get out o fgovernment and back to cut and paste projects in the classroom.

  8. Bob: It’s time to put the propaganda machine to rest for a while. You come across as smug and arrogant, and I, for one, am really tired of hearing you speak.

    van get it da artiste: your private property concerns were addressed by city council members in announcing their votes. If you really cared about the issue you would be informed about why they made their decisions and not rely on a brief recap focusing on one member’s decision for all the facts.

  9. The advent of zoning law crushed any sort of “absolute” property rights in the United States long ago. Instead, property use is now dictated by the government. Right or wrong, that’s is the system that we have operated under for many generations.

    I wouldn’t begrudge any city council member who wanted to take a stronger stand for absolute property rights, but to be consistent they would have to automatically approve every zoning change that comes before them – not just West Coyote Hills.

    1. When will the city council control the expansion of Fullerton College and Cal State Fullerton. In comparison to other projects in the city they strain our resources by excessive car trips polluting our air, using excessive amounts of water and electricity. When will these institution be required to play by the same rules that everybody else plays by.

  10. Absolute property rights, sounds great.

    Vacant lot next to a school? Sean Francis can open a 24hr all nude rock & roll bar there.

      1. I don’t think SF needs a lot of financial backing these days, but it’s beside the point. Zoning is good.

  11. Shawn did good! Well thought out and principled. He can be quite proud of his work.

    His continuing excellent performance overcomes the negative baggage of Ed Royce’s endorsement.

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