15 January 2013

Madrona (a.k.a. Canyon Crest) Recirculated EIR Comments Due in One Week

The recirculated Environmental Impact Report for the Madrona Residential Development Plan, formerly known as Canyon Crest, proposing 162 houses on 367 acres on the north side of Carbon Canyon between Olinda Village and the Orange/San Bernardino counties line, was released in mid-November.

The public comment period for this latest iteration of the EIR was extended two weeks to next Wednesday, oops, that would be TUESDAY, 22 January (thanks to commenter Canyon Native for pointing out the error.)

Though the project does scale back grading on a particularly problematic hillside slope, removes three houses that were situated by themselves close to the county line, and makes other changes, it is still one that would fundamentally transform Carbon Canyon, along with other projects approved on the Chino Hills side that total some 105 units and another application for over 107 more that is forthcoming.  There is also the nearly-completed Elements at Pine Valley Estates, which has 18 remaining of 98 units.

If Madrona were approved with the others mentioned above and if the houses were actually built, the results would be enormous, far-reaching and the Canyon would lose its singular qualities. 

The City of Brea is under no obligation, legal or otherwise, to approve the Madrona Plan, especially as this is not a matter of property rights as most people conceive it.  This was a corporate investment, engaged in by Old Standard Life Insurance Company, a Spokane, Washington firm with a long history (as detailed in this blog in multiple posts in Spring 2009) of poor decisions, like those of many companies like it in the reckless days of the early to mid 2000s, that left a great many people with financial losses.

Consequently, Old Standard is in liquidation and is under receivership by court order in Idaho.  What is proposed for Madrona (Canyon Crest) is an attempt at getting a tentative tract map approved, this document holding good for virtually time immemorial, so that the value of the property is enhanced for creditors of a disgraced company.

This is not an individual fighting for the right to develop property--it is a last-ditch effort by a dying, corrupt corporation.  Brea does not have to aid and abet this plan.

So, anyone interested in the future of the Canyon should register their concerns in comments to the City of Brea.

The entire 248-page Environmental Impact Report does not need to be read cover-to-cover.  A glance at key sections dealing with significant, unmitigatable environmental impacts would be a good place to review, as would be the section about the fire risk, in light of the 2008 Freeway Complex fire, one of four major devastating blazes over the last half-century.  And, with climate change occurring, it is very likely more will be coming in shorter intervals.

Of particular importance are sections 6.0 and 7.0 dealing with "Long-Term Implications" and "Alternatives."  These are pages 190-205.

To see the document, click here. 

At some point, perhaps within a few months, after the comment period closes next week, the Madrona Plan could come before the City Council for deliberation and a vote and more public comment will be part of that process.  But, the written comment phase is now and concludes on the 22nd.

Those who care about Carbon Canyon, preservation of open space, and protection of plant and animal habitats, among other important issues, should act now.


Canyon Native said...

Paul, thanks so much for your blog urging canyon residents and others to send comments regarding Madrona's proposal. It truly would do serious environmental damage to the canyon and remove a huge piece of prime habitat. Please note one correction. January 22nd is the due date for comments, but that is Tuesday, not Wednesday.

prs said...

Hi Canyon Native, thanks for pointing out the mistake, which has been corrected.