Conservation Update, 2014 Sep | Irvine Co. Property Donation, Saddle Crest, Madrona


The Irvine Co. wants to donate several key properties to the OC Parks system, rather than develop them. Two are in the East Anaheim Hills near the 91–‐241 junction, adjacent to Chino Hills State Park’s Coal Canyon unit and to Gypsum Canyon. The other three are east of Orange; the largest of these is immediately east of Irvine Lake, the others are across from Limestone Canyon and west of the old Santiago Hills landfill. See the OC Register, 8/12/2014, for details and a map, and 8/22/2014 for follow–‐up on what the OC Board of Supervisors will consider before accepting this offer.

The Irvine Company has no obligation to give this land, all of which has been approved to be developed to a total 5,500 houses. This decision is one of the most significant conservation actions to occur since the signing of the Central/Coastal NCCP and designation of adjacent Conservation Easements.

ACTION NOW! Contact your OC Supervisor (districts’ info at and tell him or her that OC MUST accept this offer, that the lands being offered are of tremendous environmental value, that together they represent some of the best previously unprotected undeveloped land left in OC.

LAWSUITS! CNPS is a federation of chapters, so, under CNPS’ Litigation Policy, only CNPS—not individual chapters—can take part in lawsuits. At present, CNPS is a co–‐participant in two lawsuits on proposed developments in OC. In both cases, CNPS entered on the basis of each issue’s CEQA violations and the precedent–‐setting nature of the approving jurisdictions’ decisions, as well as on the native plants and habitats that would be lost. OCCNPS had submitted comment letters and given testimony at several points during each of the long campaigns that preceded the contested approvals.

1.       SADDLE CREST: The Appeals Court hearing is scheduled for Tuesday, September 23, 9 AM at 4th District Division 3, 601 W. Santa Ana Blvd., Santa Ana. Background: CNPS and co–‐defendants Saddleback Canyons Conservancy, Rural Canyons Conservation Fund, Friends of Harbors Beaches and Parks, and Audubon California were co–‐petitioners for a Writ of Mandate against the Orange County Board of Supervisors and developer Rutter Santiago LP, after the Board approved the Saddle Crest development in October 2012. The Superior Court granted the Writ in July 2013. The County declined to appeal the Writ, but the developer appealed it in September 2013.

ACTION NOW! Attend the hearing. No need to do more than sit and think good thoughts. Donate to the litigation fund at

2.       MADRONA: On August 22, CNPS became a co–‐appellant, with Hills for Everyone, Friends of Harbors Beaches and Parks, and Sierra Club, against the City of Brea for its June 2014 approval of the Madrona development.

ACTION NOW! For background and to donate to the litigation fund, see or

WOO–‐HOO!!! Grand Opening of the Chino Hills State Park Discovery Center is September 28, 10 AM –‐ 12 PM, free to the public; 4500 Carbon Canyon Road, Brea. —Celia Kutcher, Conservation Chair

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