13 October 2017

City of Industry Approves Solar Farm Project for Tres Hermanos Ranch

Here is the latest from the San Gabriel Valley Tribune on the City of Industry's plans for a solar farm project at Tres Hermanos Ranch, just north of Carbon Canyon:

04 October 2017

Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council Brush Drop Off This Saturday!

The Carbon Canyon Fire Safe Council, with funding from the City of Chino Hills and support from Chino Hills (Republic) Disposal, is holding its second and final brush drop-off of 2017 this Saturday the 7th from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The disposal company will have a large roll-off bin on Canon Lane, just north of Carbon Canyon Road and adjacent to Chino Valley Fire District Station 64, for Carbon Canyon residents to deposit their cut brush.

Volunteers from the Fire Safe Council will be present to help residents with the unloading of their brush into the bin.

This great program aids in reducing flammable material that is easy and ready fuel for wildfires, like the Canyon fire which burned more than 2,600 acres within the last couple of weeks.  Last winter's rainfall promoted new growth and that, along with older material, presents a threat for a fire in our always-vulnerable canyon.

So, anything residents can do to reduce and minimize the risk helps greatly and the Fire Safe Council is glad to work with the City and the disposal company to offer the drop-off service.

26 September 2017

State Launches Review of Tres Hermanos Ranch Sale

As explained in this San Gabriel Valley Tribune article today, the State of Calfornia's Department of Finance will review the recent sale of Tres Hermanos Ranch to the City of Industry, the agreement of which calls for approval of the deal by the department.

The department's staff who deal with redevelopment issues have 40 days to complete the review, though it is not expected to take that long.

As noted here recently, the cities of Diamond Bar and Chino Hills, in whose jurisdictions the ranch is located, have called for a state review and/or rejection of the sale as undercutting their tax receipts for the sale.  The City of Industry has stated that its purchase will yield open space, public access, and public uses--the latter meaning a planned solar farm on a substantial portion of the ranch.

While the article quotes state law requiring redevelopment land sales to "maximize value," the fundamental question with that word of "value," seems to be whether it is to be taken as meaning "dollar value" or some other qualifiable "value," such as open space, public access and so on.

The purchase price of $41.5 million agreed upon in a 4-3 vote by the City of Industry Successor Agency to the Urban Development Agency was contingent on a perpetual use of the 2,450 acres for public access and public uses.  However, a property management plan pegged the monetary value as roughly $86 to $122 million.

Interestingly, Chino Hills City Manager Rad Bartlam, who talked before of housing limits in general plans for the city, is now taking a different tack on the ranch by suggesting that his city and Diamond Bar could have bid $41.6 million ($100,000 more than the approved deal) and turned Tres Hermanos into parkland if the cities could have been allowed to bid.  He stated, "I would think the community would be better off having the cities of Chino Hills and Diamond Bar own it, than the City of Industry."

25 September 2017

Fire in Corona and Chino Hills State Park

UPDATE. 10:15 p.m.: Traffic has been heavy on eastbound Carbon Canyon Road because part of the 91 Freeway is closed due to the fast-moving Canyon fire in Corona, which has now consumed some 2,000 acres and is only 5% contained.  The portion of the blaze that got into Chino Hills State Park is very small and the main section is along the Cleveland National Forest in the Santa Ana Mountains, west of Corona.  A home is evidently destroyed and others threatened.

Here's a recent update from the Orange County Register.

A fire that started just off the eastbound 91 Freeway and has lanes closed near Anaheim Hills and Corona has jumped the freeway and has gotten into Chino Hills State Park, according to this article in the Riverside Press-Enterprise.

The 2008 Freeway Complex fire started not far from this location and quickly spread to the Carbon Canyon area.  Let's hope fire crews are able to put this one out before it gets too much bigger.

Meanwhile, look for an increased volume of traffic on eastbound Carbon Canyon Road due to the lane closures on the normally clogged 91.

18 September 2017

Tonight's Chino Hills Historical Society Presentation on Don Antonio María Lugo

Thanks to great publicity, including two articles in the Chino/Chino Hills Champion, a good crowd of nearly 150 people came out tonight for a presentation for the Chino Hills Historical Society on Don Antonio María Lugo, grantee in 1841 of Rancho Santa Ana del Chino, previously a ranch under the auspices of Mission San Gabriel, and the western border of which extended into Carbon Canyon just east of Sleepy Hollow.

Approximately 150 people turned out tonight at the Chino Hills Community Center to hear the story of Don Antonio María Lugo, grantee in 1841 of Rancho Santa Ana del Chino, which extended west to near Sleepy Hollow within Carbon Canyon.

The talk covered the Lugo family's migration from the state of Sinaloa in Mexico to Baja California and then to Alta California, where Don Antonio was born in 1778.

From his birth at Mission San Antonio (hence his name?), the story followed his military career, settlement on Rancho San Antonio (that name again!) southeast of Los Angeles, political involvement in the puebelo, acquisition of other ranchos, including Chino, and more.

A lively crowd included descendants of the Lugo, Rowland, Workman and Temple families, as well as local residents interested in the history of the area.

Lugo, an unusually tall man at 6 feet and known as el viejo Lugo, because he lived a longer-than-typical life of 81 years, died the last day of January 1860, and impressed a great many people with his stature, bearing and personality.

A post on this blog from 2010 about Don Antonio can be accessed here, but there is also some other information that will be posted here in upcoming days, so check back for those.

17 September 2017

Chino Hills to Sue City of Industry Over Tres Hermanos Ranch Sale

The Chino/Chino Hills Champion reported in its edition yesterday that the City of Chino Hills intends to file a lawsuit challenging the late August sale of the 2,450-acre Tres Hermanos Ranch, immediately north of Carbon Canyon, to the City of Industry, which has been planning for a large solar farm on the ranch.

This development came after a closed door session of the Chino Hills city council meeting last Tuesday night. City Attorney Mark Hensley cited a "number of issues" including Industry's not presenting the proposed solar farm to the Chino Hills Planning Commission, which determines appropriate use to the city's general plan.

City Manager Rad Bartlam decried a lack of transparency in the process, telling the council that the city had to file public records requests for thousands of documents in order to learn of the plans for the ranch. Mayor Ray Marquez observed that the farm would cover most, if not all, the property and be visible from Grand Avenue.

A City of Industry spokesperson responded that going to the Chino Hills planning commission before a purchase "would have been premature" and added that Industry was committed to following all applicable laws and regulations from the local jurisdictions up to the federal level.

A view from the south of Tres Hermanos Ranch, March 2016.
Jim Gallagher, a Chino Hills resident and member of the grass roots organization Save Tres Hermanos Ranch, told the city council during the open portion of the meeting that people [most, presumably] in Chino Hills are against housing and the traffic it would bring to the area if these were built. Chino Hills and Diamond Bar together allow nearly 1,100 units (meaning a few thousands new residents) on their respective portions of the ranch.

Gallagher went on to say that "Tres Hermanos is a critical natural area with a natural waterway. Our residents say yes to open space and green infrastructure." This latter refers to the publicly stated intention of Industry to build a large solar farm on the ranch and Gallagher told the council that it was too big, noting he mentioned this to Industry officials. He then observed that there are misperceptions in the public mind about what solar farms are.

Chino Hills council member Cynthia Moran stated that the idea of the sale was "not necessarily a good one" and that she would like to see a public meeting to explain how the decision to sell the ranch will affect the city. She also said that while "people are quick to say they don't want houses," there is also the matter of residents comprehending "the reality of the situation."

Stay tuned as this issue ramps up!

15 September 2017

Carbon Canyon Road Slope Retaining Wall Project Begins This Monday the 18th

This project starts on Monday.  Note that, though the wall is 200 feet in length, the affected area in terms of warning signs, cones and so forth, will go from the county line to Canyon Hills Road.

They're talking 8 hours a day from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. each weekday until the end of the year.