City of Fullerton Rejects Chevron’s Development Plans

In June 2010, the Fullerton City Council rejected a proposal by Chevron Oil’s Pacific Coast Homes to build a 760-unit subdivision in the last remaining large open space in the City.  The Council’s vote is a culmination of a thirty year-long battle against this massive development project on a site that supports one of the largest regional populations of the federally-listed threatened California gnatcatcher.

SMW’s longstanding client Friends of Coyote Hills is largely to thank for this remarkable victory.  On behalf of the group, SMW submitted numerous comment letters on multiple environmental documents for this project.  The firm’s letters pointed out the myriad flaws of the project—such as its plan to build on a former oil field that could still be mined after the homes were built using slant drilling techniques.  The project was designed in a mapped seismic hazard zone, but Chevron failed to perform the required investigations to determine the magnitude of potential earthquake damage.  And, notwithstanding expert evidence to the contrary, the EIR reached the inexplicable conclusion that the gnatcatcher would be better off with the project than if the site were allowed to remain as open space.

The Council’s decision provides an opening for Friends of Coyote Hill’s ultimate goal:  acquisition and preservation of the site’s valuable natural resources.  The affected piece of land covers 510 acres, is home to nearly 130 wildlife species, and is designated as critical habitat for the California gnatcatcher.