11 October 2009

Stonefield Appeal Heard On 27 October

It was previously stated here that the appeal to the Chino Hills City Council of the Stonefield housing project of twenty-eight units in Carbon Canyon might be heard on 13 October, which is this Tuesday. Evidently, that matter has been pushed back to the meeting on Tuesday, 27 October. City Council meetings begin at 7 p.m., though the agenda, when posted on the city's website, will list where in the order of items the Stonefield item appears.

It will be remembered that this appeal was actually filed by the developer who objected to being required to contribute "fair share" monies to proposed traffic improvements (even though traffic was not deemed, in the Environmental Impact Report, to be a significant impact) and instead has argued that it should only be responsible for 1.5% of the cost since that is the percentage of traffic the project would add to the overall usage on Carbon Canyon Road. City staff has argued that the impact of those car trips are far greater than their representation of total trips on the highway because of the issues of entering and exiting traffic.

Subsequently, council member Bill Kruger requested a delay in hearing the matter to allow the public an opportunity to speak on the project. So, anyone who has anything to say about this development should be sure to be present and be heard.

As for me, at the very least, the City should require the developer to build a project that conforms to the site by not allowing a "Statement of Overriding Considerations" that seeks to argue that unmitigatable impacts in grading and aesthetics can be countered by four dubious claims of broad benefit generated by the project. These include:

1) filling a demand for housing (luxury, that is, which is hardly a widespread community benefit);

2) conforming to the canyon's surroundings (by having manufactured slopes and nice landscaping, rather than the remaining natural beauty which defines the Canyon?!);

3) fitting in with existing surrounding land uses (all of which were approved under county jurisdiction before current general plan criteria were established AND in eras in which the Canyon had room for development and Carbon Canyon Road was not nearly as congested and impacted as it now is), and;

4) traffic improvements that are now in dispute.

It just seems obvious that the justifications for these purported benefits are dubious and that, this being the case, the project should be rejected and, if something must be built there, another presented that brings impacts below established (and already low and insufficient) thresholds under the California Environmental Quality Act.

This is the case I will make on the 27th and, hopefully, there will be plenty of others to make their own arguments.

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