Monthly Archives: May 2010

Chevron's Development Plans Voted Down

Chevron and Friends of Coyote Hills, a local grassroots organization, have reached a stalemate regarding the use of the oil giant’s abandoned oil fields in West Coyote Hills. Last night the city council voted 3-2 against Chevron’s plan to build houses, but city staff also announced that Chevron won’t sell the land to a third party to preserve as open space.

At Fullerton's council meeting last night, the crowd overflowed into the lobby and the library next door to watch the proceedings on closed circuit television. This was the lobby of city hall. (Photo credit: Cindy Cotter)

Chevron subsidiary Pacific Coast Homes has been seeking a zoning change since the late 70’s to build on 510 acres in north Fullerton. The rest of the Coyote Hills oil fields have already been developed.

Friends of Coyote Hills wants to find someone with enough money to restore and preserve the land as the last local remnant of a diminishing habitat unique to the western coast, coastal sage scrub. The Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) has mitigation funds from Measure M with which to buy open space, and has been considering Chevron’s land.

West Coyote Hills on July 4, 2009 (Photo credit: Cindy Cotter)

Last night’s vote on the one hand, and the announcement that Chevron won’t sell the land to OCTA on the other hand, appear to have stymied both sides – no development, no park. The land will remain an abandoned oil field, mostly fenced off from the public. Nothing has been resolved, and the eventual use of the land remains in question. Chevron is free to make another proposal. Preservationists can also make another attempt to buy and restore the land.

Three representatives of Pacific Coast Homes just after their proposal was voted down. On the left is Jim Pugliese, project manager. On the right is Don Means, vice president. (Photo credit: Cindy Cotter)

But last night, the developers, whose hopes had been raised by the Planning Commission’s positive recommendation on March 18, were keenly aware they’d lost the battle, if not the war, and opponents of development were jubilant.

Helen Higgins, one of the activists from Friends of Coyote Hills, reacting to Tuesday night's victory -- the Fullerton City Council did not approve Chevron's development proposal. (Photo credit: Cindy Cotter)

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Edging Closer to a Development Decision

Jim Pugliese, project manager for Pacific Coast Homes, presents their plan to the Fullerton City Council at a public hearing on May 11, 1010 (Photo Credit: Cindy Cotter)

The Council should decide soon

Finally, after 30 years of conflict and negotiation, Fullerton City Council is on the brink of deciding whether to let Pacific Coast Homes, a subsidiary of Chevron, build on the last of Chevron’s abandoned oil fields in West Coyote Hills. Tuesday night the developer and a small army of consultants (two rows of seating were reserved for them) presented the project to the council as protesters marched outside. That was followed by 62 questions from the audience.

On May 25 the council will listen to public comment and are then expected to vote.

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