Target: Members of the Orange County Board of Supervisors
Goal: Protect the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains by rejecting plans for development in the area.
Plans to redesign a section of the foothills of California’s Santa Ana Mountains have not sat well with conservationists. While currently awaiting approval by the Orange County Board of Supervisors (scheduled to take place in October), the plan would turn a 113-acre area into 65-home project. Construction could begin as early as 2014, with 15 houses being built over the first six months, and last until sometime in 2016.
Those opposed fear what the construction would mean to the area’s character, wildlife, scenic views, and traffic. What is more, canyon conservationists are calling into question these changes to the already existing Foothill-Trabuco Specific Plan (FTSP)—a specific strategy adopted by the Board of Supervisors in 1991 to limit the amount of development within the area. “There will be no motivation for builders to conserve oak woodlands. Unlimited grading will be allowed,” explained Ray Chandos, a resident of Trabuco Canyon who chaired the advisory committee that penned the FTSP. “The objective of the Foothill-Trabuco Specific Plan is to preserve scenic land forms—not cut and fill it…If this gets approved it will open the flood gates.”
The land protected under the FTSP is a span that covers approximately 6,500 acres and borders the Cleveland National Forest; it is home to endangered plant and animal species as well as scenic resources and wildlife corridors. Now with the plan in a vulnerable position, the Irvine-based Rudder Development, Inc. (the company behind the proposed development) will be able to alter much of this land with little setback.
“It is unconscionable that the county has been more willing to renege on the agreements it signed with the residents of the canyons years ago, and to use taxpayer money to fight those people who attempt to force it to stand by its word,” said Susan Seroski, an activist for the canyons. “This is just one more example of the corruption that permeates the Planning Department’s upper echelon and that also seems present in some areas at the county supervisorial level.”
Dear Members of the Orange County Board of Supervisors,
Recently, plans to develop in the foothills of the Santa Ana Mountains have been brought to your attention. Not only will these plans disrupt (and destroy) a large portion of protected landscape—threatening species of endangered plants and animals—but they will bring higher levels of traffic and land degradation as well. While the Foothill-Trabuco Specific Plan was formulated to protect the area against this type of activity, the plan is still receiving consideration by the Orange County Board of Supervisors–much to the chagrin of locals.
With the Board expected to reach a decision no later than October, I urge you to keep with past promises and reject the construction plans offered by Rudder Development, Inc. In doing so, acres of the beautiful and diverse Orange County terrain will be protected from further urban expansion and the community’s faith in this advisory committee will not be tarnished.
[Your Name Here]