Wednesday, February 14, 2007

TAKE ACTION! Coastal Commission to Decide on Bolsa Chica Tomorrow

(Cross-posted at Calitics)

It's been a long, long fight, yet it's still far from over. Even as the Bolsa Chica Wetlands (near Huntington Beach) were recently united with the sea, and as other development plans have been soundly defeated, there's a new threat facing Bolsa Chica.

(From OC Register)

A new round of fighting to preserve natural habitat around the Bolsa Chica wetlands begins Thursday in San Diego, when California Coastal commissioners will consider plans to build another neighborhood on the rural land.

The state board is expected to consider zoning a 50-acre property on the outskirts of the wetlands near a flood control channel to make way for a neighborhood of up to 170 homes.

The plan has mobilized neighbors and environmentalists, who plan to caravan by bus to the meeting to convince commissioners to spare greater portions of the land from development. A group of about 25 residents who support the development also plan to carpool.

OK, so local environmentalists don't want any more development here. Big deal. So what? People want big, fancy homes near the beach. Why stop Shea Homes from providing what people want?

But what if that development puts into jeopardy local avian habitats? What if that development puts at risk all the progress that has been made in preserving the wetlands? What if that development destroys this sensitive ecosystem?

Coastal Commission staff has recommended denying the proposal and has suggested alternatives that would require the land owner, Brea-based Shea Homes, to set aside more land as open space.

The staff recommendation says Shea's plan calls for building homes on top of coastal wetlands and that it does not set aside a large enough buffer zone around a eucalyptus grove that is an environmentally sensitive habitat for several species of birds of prey.

Even though the Coastal Commission Staff Report has said that the proposed development would encroach upon such sensitive wetlands, Shea Homes somehow wants to continue with this potentially disastrous development. What about the extra traffic? What about the flood threat? What about the increased runoff into the wetlands and to the sea?

This is yet another lame development plan that could destroy our precious coastal environment in Orange County. Unique along the heavily developed coastline of Huntington Beach, the Bolsa Chica Wetlands represent the last stretch of natural, wild, pristine Southern California. We can't risk this, just for another batch of cookie-cutter McMansions that Orange County doesn't need.

We need wildlife, not over-development gone wild.

TAKE ACTION! OK, if you can make it to San Diego tomorrow, here's where the hearing will be:

Catamaran Resort Hotel
3999 Mission Blvd.
San Diego, CA 92109
(858) 539-8700

Oh yes, and activists with the Bolsa Chica Land Trust will be carpooling from Huntington Beach to San Diego tomorrow. For more info, visit their web site or call (714) 846-1001.

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