As part of its project mitigation planning, the Orange County Transportation Authority’s Measure M program has sequestered a huge pile ‘o cash, something in the neighborhood of $200,000,000. The purpose of this dough is to procure sensitive habitat from private property owners who might have development plans.
Naturally, the West Coyote Hills property was on the initial list, until removed by its owners last year. Chevron likely thought their plans for development were in the bag in 2010.
It wasn’t, and now it’s 2011. And apparently the OCTA is re-opening consideration of applications for the first funding from the mitigation fund. Chevron has until Jan 13, to file an application to the OCTA if they want to participate in the program.
Chevron may believe they now have 3 secure votes to approve what the Council denied last June. And they may still prefer to face long years of entitlement, inevitable lawsuits, and two or three embarrassing economic cycles in order to make a big profit. Or perhaps upon further reflection, they might come to realize that selling part or all of their property for a big payday up front without mitigation cost and without dragged out development issues, is preferable.
The Fullerton City Council might want to consider this too, and help persuade Chevron to take this alternate path. Bruce Whitaker, for one, has an excellent opportunity to make this overture.