12 May 2009

117-Home Project Proposed for Carbon Canyon!

Well, it looks as if there is another proposal to build homes on the Chino Hills side of Carbon Canyon--making this the fourth such project approved or proposed, following the 98-unit Pine Valley Estates (now stalled due to the economic situation); the 76-home Canyon Hills project, which is in the design review stage; and the 28-lot Stonefield development, which went through the environmental impact report phase last fall, but has been silent since.

As reported in this week's Chino Hills Champion, "a plan to build 117 custom homes at Carbon Canyon Road and Canyon Hills Road is on the horizon. A pre-application for the project was submitted to Chino Hills for the gate-guarded community project . . ." Unfortunately, nothing more was said in this tidbit regarding the exact location, the developer, or any other information, other than that there is a proposed traffic signal for this intersection, which had come up with the Stonefield project. In fact, the Champion, in trying to differentiate the new proposal with Stonfield, noted that there would be a signal at Fairway Drive and Carbon Canyon Road, though the public meeting for Stonefield included a statement that there were proposals to erect signals at Canon Lane and Canyon Hills Road, not Fairway Drive, but . . .

The aforementioned "Canyon Hills" project is northwest of the intersection of Carbon Canyon Road and Canyon Hills Road, where the old Ski Villa concrete ski slope now is. On the northwest is the Cowbiz ranch, formerly Ski Villa and Camp Kinder Ring, but it doesn't seem likely that this would be the newly-proposed development.

The only other possibility appears to be the south side of Carbon Canyon Road across from Canyon Hills Road, a site that was proposed some years ago (late 80s/early 90s?) for a housing tract and on which the developer ripped out a couple thousand trees, including native oaks, without approval to do so. The project then died out, but one wonders if this parcel is where the new project is situated. The above photo, taken from Canyon Hills Road looking south towards Carbon Canyon Road and points beyond, shows this area in the background as it appeared after most of the property burned in last fall's fires.

So, a little basic math, assuming that all four projects pan out and are built, means that there are potentially 319 (yes, 319, or some 650 cars and about 1,000 people!) houses that could be built on the Chino Hills side, 174 of which are already approved and some of which are now built. While the Canyon Crest development, planned for 165 units, in Brea has stalled because the developer has not come up with the money for fund further environmental review study called for after the Freeway Complex fire last November, that project would raise the number to 484 houses that could be built someday and about 1,000 cars and some 1,500 or more people.

This, in a canyon that has a two-lane highway not built for this kind of suburban use, a vanishing wildland habitat, an extreme and growing fire risk, in an era when basic infrastructure relating to water, school, refuse disposal, and others are increasingly becoming harder to acquire and maintain. One can only hope that environmental impact reports for any future projects not already approved will demonstrate beyond a doubt that Carbon Canyon simply cannot keep accomodating housing development any longer without radically altering the fundamental nature of the Canyon. The economy notwithstanding, developers are betting that there will be a substantive recovery in the near future and want to get those tract maps approved.

Obviously, particular attention will be paid in this blog to any news that comes out of this, so stay tuned!

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