04 September 2008

Hearing on Canyon Crest Appeal to Brea City Council Set

OK, folks, for anyone who is concerned about the significant, adverse unavoidable environmental impacts and other effects of the 165 home, 367-acre Canyon Crest project proposed for the area north of Carbon Canyon between Olinda Village and Sleepy Hollow, here is some vital info:

The Appeal of Development Review (CCSP [Carbon Canyon Specific Plan]) No. DR 08-01, Vesting Tentative Tract Map No. TT 15956 and Final Environmental Impact Report No. EIR 02-01 has now been given a public hearing before the Brea City Council on Tuesday, 16 September at 7:00 p.m. in the Brea Civic & Cultural Center, Council Chambers at 1 Civic Center Drive (Birch and Randolph).

Former Brea councilmember Bev Perry and others filed this appeal not long after the Planning Commission by a 3-2 vote approved the Recirculated Draft Environmental Impact Report back in the spring. There is now a prepared final EIR available for review with the Development Services Department, as well.

In bold on the mailed announcement is the simple boilerplate: All interested persons may appear and be heard at that time. Well, this is our chance everyone! The last opportunity is here in a couple of weeks for the public to make its views heard by the city fathers. The response at the Planning Commission was impressive, dozens of passionate and reasonable opponents of Canyon Crest countering one half-hearted offering of soft support. Let's make sure that we have an even greater turnout and let the council know that the narrow vote of the Planning Commission should not stand. Council members need to take the side of their constituents, the people who put them in their positions of responsibility and not to needlessly cater to the wishes of the Shopoff Group, the project developer.

Take the time to read the EIR and familiarize yourselves with the significant, adverse unavoidable impacts. If you are so inclined, fill out the request to address the council and do so in a pointed, determined, but respectful way. Make sure the council knows that this project is not wanted by the vast majority of residents. Let it be understood that a new fire truck, money to mitigate affordable housing and, especially, the mirage of the presumed prestige of luxury homes to burnish the Brea image are not worth it.

There has, simply put, been more than enough development in this canyon. Despite the shrill pontificating of so-called property rights advocates, the rights of the individual cannot trump those of the larger society. The airborne pollutants of a year's worth of grading (actually, likely to be longer as these projects often are), the removal of 1,800+ native trees (planting new trees in an artificial intrusion of a natural landscape does not constitute mitigation), and the addition of 5% more traffic (approximately 1,650 trips per day) on a road already beyond acceptable congestion levels and its intended capacity and rating an "F" grade are, individually, grounds for rejecting the project.

Yet, city staff advocated a "Statement of Overriding Considerations" to bypass the EIR-identified impacts because the fire truck, affordable housing offsets, and, most importantly, the dire necessity to close that unconscionable gap in Brea for "luxury housing," which has obviously deprived dozens of people of their unrequited desires and deferred dreams to live in homes that will use 3-5x the water usage of a typical Brea hovel, cry out for approval.

I know, I know, I'm getting a little sarcastic, cynical, and punchy at 12:30 a.m. But, this is an important milestone in Brea and Carbon Canyon history. The transformation in the canyon if this project were to be built (and there is, in all fairness, no guarantee that it will even if the council approves the project) would be enormous and irreparable. There would be no chance to go back and make things right. That chance is now. It's up to citizens and pesky tree-huggers and enviro-loonies like Hills for Everyone, that is, grass-roots activism at its best, to make this last push. Come on out and give your support for the fight against Canyon Crest on 16 September!

Check out: www.stopcanyoncrest.org for more info!

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