07 November 2013

M . . .M . . .M . . . My Madrona: Carbon Canyon Housing Project Appeal Hearing Set

Couldn't resist the title, just have a knack for those kind of things (and that's not necessarily good.)

Anyway, a couple of weeks back the City of Brea sent a letter and CD with the "Response to Comments" for the updates final Environmental Impact Report for the Madrona (formerly Canyon Crest) housing project, proposing 162 houses on a few hundred acres of open land on the eastern end of Brea within Carbon Canyon, between Sleepy Hollow and Olinda Village.

In the missive, penned by City Planner/Community Development Deputy Director David Crabtree, it was also stated that "The City Council public appeal hearing for this project has been tentatively set for [Tuesday] November 19, 2013 at 7:00 p.m.."  The notice, however, was followed by the disclaimer that once that date had been confirmed a written notification would be sent within ten days.

Detail from a letter by the City of Brea's city planner concerning the revised final EIR and intended hearing for the appeal of the Madrona (formerly Canyon Crest) housing project, proposing 162 houses in Carbon Canyon between Olinda Village and Sleepy Hollow.  The city has since pushed back the appeal hearing to late January and February.  Click on the image to see an enlarged view in a separate window.
In fact, what it looked like was going to happen was that the City of Brea was going to try to rush through the hearing over three consecutive days in early January, which would have been slightly more than problematic for anyone concerned about the project to be able to clear time on their schedules to attend those days back-to-back, especially so soon after the holidays.  As importantly, it would have given little time for opponents of the project to prepare for the very important and final resort of the appeal.

After the predictable outcry, however, the City has wisely revised the timetable, so that a staff report, without response via public comment, is due on the 19th to the council.  Then, there will be the actual appeal hearing at the 21 January council meeting and for the two meetings that follow in February.  Now, there'll be plenty of time, actually, for everyone to become better acquainted and informed about the results of the updated EIR and to formulate their arguments for and against.

There has been much stated in this blog and elsewhere about why Madrona is such a terrible idea and it has nothing to do with being anti-development.  In fact, there are several major housing projects going on in Brea within just a few miles of the site--including the expansion of Blackstone in the Tonner Hills, the La Floresta project on the old Union Oil site at Imperial Highway and Valencia Avenue, and the development at the Birch Hills golf course property on Kraemer.  There has been relatively little backlash against those projects, likely because there isn't nearly the type of risk, damage and effect at those sites than would be involved if a project were to happen at Madrona.

Among the prime reasons why Madrona is a terrible site to build homes have to do with extreme wildfire risk and public safety issues inherent in that; increased traffic on an already overburdened Carbon Canyon Road and the risk of serious accidents at the project entry at a very curvy point on the highway; and the loss of increasingly scarce open land and oak woodland and other habitat.  And, there are others.  More will be discussed here as the appeal date moves closer.


Canyon Native said...

Paul, please write lots and often. We NEED the help of every resident in the Canyon as well as Brea and Chino Hills to help defeat this outrageous project. We need to prevent people from thinking they are safe buying homes on fire-hazardous ridge tops and to convince Brea City Councilpersons that they must accept personal and city responsibility if they approve Madrona, an unwise and unsafe project. Please attend the November 19 City Council meeting to show your concerns.

Anonymous said...

Any truth to the rumor that former Planning Commissioner John Koos, who originally voted for the Canyon Crest Project, has a public affairs firm that now represents the Madrona Project? This firm has been presenting the project to Brea service clubs, and the Brea Chamber of Commerce, in an attempt to gain support at the council meeting. It has also been said he has close ties to at least one person that sits on the board of directors with "Hills for Everyone". Can you give some background that might help in understanding what is happening?

prs said...

Hello Anonymous, yes, John Koos, who served on the Brea Planning Commission from 2007 until this past August, has a consulting firm that is working with Madrona. He voted for the Canyon Crest iteration of the proposed 162-home project in 2008, when it was approved 3-2 by the planning commission. Here is the link to Koos' Web site:
http://www.core.us.com/staff-profiles/john-koos. While he is friends with someone close to Hills for Everyone, they have opposing views on the merits of the Madrona project. Thanks!