22 August 2013

Madrona Housing Project Update

The Madrona development, resurrecting the Canyon Crest project that was approved by the City of Brea's Planning Commission just before the economic collapse of September 2008 and the Triangle Complex fire that took place that November and which subsequently flamed out (couldn't resist) after an appeal was launched by concerned citizens, and which was brought before the city for reconsideration of that appeal, now appears to be stalled for at least a while.

The concept of building 165 houses in the steep, rugged and fire-prone hills north of Carbon Canyon Road between Olinda Village and the Chino Hills boundary was reintroduced with somewhat less grading and other changes to make the project more palatable to the City Council, which is to hear and vote upon the appeal of the 2008 decision. 

However, the same fundamental issues remain, as the debate over private property rights is weighed against concerns over the potential for another catastrophic fire (the spate of major disasters in California and the entire drought-stricken western U.S. ought to, again, be a red flag for any projects proposed in wildfire-prone areas), traffic, access to the property from both Carbon Canyon Road and, potentially, Olinda Village, and others.

In any case, it appears that the new application is not fully complete and the City is awaiting certain items from the applicant--recall that the property owner is a bankrupt Washington state insurance company under receivership and that the desire for an approved tract map is almost certainly nothing more than a ploy to increase the value of the land for a new sale in an attempt to provide something to creditors.

Evidently, even if the application was finished in upcoming weeks, there would have to a staff review and then to try to schedule the hearing of the appeal during the holiday season could prove more than problematic.

So, at this stage, it is probably safe to assume that there may not be any real movement on Madrona (unless that 8.0 or greater earthquake we haven't had locally since 1857 strikes--no kidding, it's been over 150 years) until the new year.  But, you never know.

Meantime, do not forget that there is supposed to be a pending application for perhaps 200 or so houses on the Chino Hills side, south of Carbon Canyon Road and Canyon Hills Drive and across from the Circle K market.  Nothing new has been heard from on this lately, but it is something to keep an eye on, especially if the approved Canyon Hills project of 76 houses actually does break ground north of this where the old Ski Villa concrete ski slope property is located.

It's good to remind ourselves that, whatever recovery of the housing market does or does not take place, especially with recent rising interest rates, the spectre of potentially several hundred houses being built in Carbon Canyon someday is one that should give everyone who cares about this special place no small amount of pause and concern.

For now, matters are somewhat dormant, but who knows what lurks in an uncertain future?


Concerned about the Canyon said...

For more on the 76 houses north of Carbon Canyon Road (ski slope side), read Agenda for city of Chino Hills Planning Commission meeting dated August 20, 2013 starting page 10. To me it looks like they will break ground sometime in 2015. In my opinion, the construction of those homes will severely impact Canyon traffic and greatly add to noise pollution.

prs said...

Hello "Concerned About the Canyon," and thanks for your comment. I was out of town when the Planning Commission met, so thanks for the added info. Any additional building adds to already low-rated traffic "scores"
for a Carbon Canyon Road that cannot be widened (though a traffic signal planned for the intersection of Canyon Hills Road and Carbon Canyon Road is touted as a mediating effect!) The increasing risk of wildfires in this area should also be a concern to everyone. This one is "on the books", but there are other planned projects as has been discussed here and those concerned about the canyon, as you are, have opportunities to be heard at city-run meetings in Brea and Chino Hills. Thanks again!