Community Divided Over Approval of Esperanza Hills Project
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Yorba Linda citizens concerned about the progression of the Esperanza Hills project and the Cielo Vista project presented their concerns at a City Council meeting on January 17, 2017.
“We would like to have it annexed into the city because it is right in our backyard,” stated Yorba Linda Mayor Pro Tem Hernandez during an interview with the Matador Messenger.
Two projects creating an uproar, the Esperanza Hills and the Cielo Vista project. The Cielo Vista project proposes around 112 homes and the Esperanza Hills project is a project that proposes around 340 units on over 460 acres, according to ocregister.com. Each home of the Esperanza Hills project will cover around one acre.
Although the project is on the edge of Yorba Linda, it is an unincorporated area. This means the County of Orange will govern all decisions. The city council of Yorba Linda wants the county to help contribute to the parks.
“We would prefer they come into the city as oppose to stay at county island. We would make sure that they were built according to Yorba Linda building code standards,” added Hernandez.
Since the homes in this area are expensive, there is a benefit for the city. The homes come with a high ticket price, which will add additional property tax revenues for the city. “If built, the Esperanza Hills homes would sell for $1.5 million to $2.5 million each, said Doug Wymore, a project manager and attorney for Yorba Linda Estates,” stated ocregister.com.
“That particular development is going to slice two of the rich lines flat, it’s going to fill two canyons, and it’s going to take two years for the grading of it. It will take 7-9 years to complete,” stated Marlene Nelson, a representative for Protect Our Homes and Hills, in an interview with the Matador Messenger.
“That would contribute to our tax base. So we would get property tax from those homes,” later mentioned Hernandez. This project will also get businesses in town more customers.
Residents currently in the Esperanza Hills area are concerned and do not want this project to proceed. “Our major concern is for safety,” stated Nelson.“We’ve been trying to get the county and the developer to come up with another daily access that will go out to San Antonio. That’s our highest concern,” later added Nelson.
Problems include increased traffic, difficulties evacuating the area if fire occurred again, capacity at schools, fear of crimes going up, and additional services. To add on, homes on the border have a nice view of nature. However, the view will be lost once new homes are constructed.
“Wymore said residents’ concerns have already been addressed,” stated ocregister.com. However, there are citizens still concerned.
According to Nelson, “The traffic between Stonehaven or Via Del Agua is generally around 1,100 to 1,200 trips a day. When the development finishes, traffic on those streets is going to be over 4,000 trips a day.”
“Esperanza Hills a Bridge to Stonehaven as the sole access point for the hundreds of additional houses. An emergency access is proposed to Via del Agua (a third of a mile from the daily access point),” stated protect-our-homes-and-hills.org. This would help the traffic not increase too much. Plus, EIR (Environmental Impact Report) claims the streets can handle additional traffic.
A large complex fire went through the Esperanza Hills area in 2008. “The November 2008 Freeway Complex Fire burned this site down and stalled consideration of the projects,” mentioned hillsforeveryone.org.
“There’s no new schools being built. It’s possible that the elementary kids coming out of that neighborhood will have to go out on the east end because Travis Ranch is completely filled,” stated Nelson.
To prevent this project from progressing, Protect Our Homes and Hills has many fundraisers and they have filed a lawsuit. “We did file a lawsuit in 2015 and the judge awarded us favorable ruling on greenhouse gases. The developer is in the process of trying to cure the greenhouse gases in the area on the environmental impact report,” added Nelson.
“Yorba Linda Estates, developer of the Esperanza Hills project, will fix its greenhouse-gas analysis and mitigation so that the report meets state requirements, said Doug Wymore, the development’s project manager,” according to ocregister.com.
“I think it’s a good project, and we’ve done a lot of work to make it that way,” Wymore said, according to ocregister.com.