21 October 2009

Carbon Canyon Development News

Last Saturday's Chino Hills Champion contained two pieces of information about housing development plans in Carbon Canyon.

The first was that the Chino Hills Planning Commission voted to require Warmington, the new owner of the stalled Pine Valley Estates project on the north side of the Canyon, to hydroseed disturbed slopes and install landscaping and irrigation on lots and manufactured slopes prior to building the remaining 54 houses on the 98 lot subdivision. These new homes will be about 15-25% smaller than those already completed by former owner Meritage. In fact, the two will be working together to install this landscaping within 45 days.

Notably, the Champion reported that "a landslide area was encountered that compounded the landscaping problem." Now, without knowing the seriousness or extent of this "landslide area," it is assumed that this was something that was not forseen in the geologic studies conducted under the auspices of the environmental impact report. Over and over again, these situations arise in which EIRs claim that there are ways to "engineer" hilly sites so that landslides will not occur and, yet, time and time again, they do. Once more, there were no specifics offered as to the degree of the problem, but it was striking that, years into the project's planning, designing, and construction, this landslide has now occurred.

Item #2 in the Champion concerned an application for an 11-lot subdivision on 6.64 acres on the south side of the Canyon, north of Pinnacle Avenue and south of Carbon Canyon Road, with two open space lots and one for a private access road. Of the 365 trees on the site, 172, or a little less than half, will be removed.

It appears that this small project would be built on land just outside the Carriage Hills Estates tract near Old Carbon Canyon Road, the site not being specifically identified in the article.

In the meantime, remember that next Tuesday, 27 October, at 7 p.m., the Chino Hills City Council will take up the appeal of the Stonefield housing development, 28 units proposed for the northeast corner of Carbon Canyon Road and Fairway Drive. This project's EIR identified two significant, unavoidable adverse impacts (aesthetics and grading pollution) that cannot be mitigated, hence staff recommends a "Statement of Overriding Considerations," citing four alleged benefits that would override the negative impacts. Those concerned about what this means for the Canyon should come and speak to the issues. If a vote comes up on Tuesday, this will decide the project's fate, so far as an approved tract map is concerned (whether the market will bear these large luxury homes in the near future is another matter.)

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