14 June 2011

Carbon Canyon Land Purchased for Preservation

This news came out a couple of weeks ago, but a little under 300 acres of Carbon Canyon land, south and east of Olinda Village was acquired by the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) from Leo Hayashi, former owner of the La Vida Mineral Springs property and is to be preserved as open space.

The acquisition, one of many the agency intends to conduct, was done with funds set aside in the county's Measure M transportation funds as mitigation for projects conducted by OCTA with those monies.  According to this article (click here) from the Orange County Register, the agency paid just below $3 million for the parcel and is working with California State Parks to have the state agency manage the preserved land as part of Chino Hills State Park.  In fact, it has been said that the property may within a couple of years be formally annexed to the state park, although the article stated that it is "unclear" whether the property would be made accessible to the public or be transferred to the state as an addition to the CHSP.

The Orange County Register got a much more professional and well-placed view of the 287-acre site from atop the ridge.  Carbon Canyon Chronicle readers will have to settle for this pedestrian view (power lines and all), taken from Olinda Village on 16 June 2011.

Hayashi, whose trials and tribulations in trying to get his Carbon Canyon domains developed made him something of a cause celebre for pro-development voices, intended at one point to build "up to 300 homes" on the tract, although the City of Brea informed him that he would only be able to construct less than half that number because of the steep terrain.

According to OCTA, which recently announced the purchase of 84 acres near O'Neill Regional Park for $3.2 million (note the significant difference in value), the Carbon Canyon site was desirable because of its high concentration of native plant and animal life.  According to the agency in a 2005 report, the proceeds from Measure M projects available from mitigation for the purchase of land for open space could, over three decades, total as much as $243 million.  An OCTA spokesperson stated to the Register that some $40 million has been approved by the agency for land acquisition in 2011 alone.

This is welcome news for those who appreciate the effort to preserve what little remains of open space in a county that had witnessed nearly unending development since the 1950s.  Acquiring open space for public benefit using mitigation funds derived from public sources is a reasonable and laudable project, given how much of the county has gone to developers over the decades.  Presumably, Mr. Hayashi received "fair market value" or more for his land.


Anonymous said...

You wrote this property was purchased from Leo Hayashi, former owner of the La Vida Mineral Springs property.

Who owns the La Vida property at this point?

From the maps the Register has, the property purchase is adjacent to the CHSP property.

Just curious.

prs said...

Hi Anonymous, in a January 2009 post on this blog, it was noted that, as of the late 90s, the owner was Japanese businessman Tadayao Hata, who bought the property from Leo Hayashi, though Hayashi then was managing the La Vida resort for the new owner. I know that in recent efforts to secure permission to spray and treat for the arundo problem along Carbon [Canyon] Creek within the La Vida property, permission had to be obtained from the owner who was in Japan. So, I assume that Hata is still owner. Perhaps someone more knowledgeable about this will see this exchange and chime in. Thanks for visiting and for the comment!