The 12-member panel California Coastal Commission voted to delay any decision about the Banning Ranch project for ninety days. The Coastal Staff's report on the project's impacts presented a powerful case against any sort of approval of the project, even a heavily conditioned approval. Instead, the commissioners opted for delay.
The developers (NBR) agreed to meet with Coastal Commission staff and attempt to devise a development footprint that would reduce the grading plan and significantly reduce impacts on the site's abundant Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Areas (ESHA). They must come to an agreement in sixty days in order for a hearing to be scheduled within 90 days. It's hard to imagine this will be possible, given how far apart Coastal Staff and NBR are on what constitutes ESHA and what reasonably can be developed on the site.
At one point in the deliberations, Chair Kinsey essentially said that NBR had three choices, an opportunity to withdraw the project, a 90-day extension or a vote that would probably result in denial. NBR chose the extension, which will require them to work closely with staff to determine what kind of project would be suitable for a site as rich in rare natural resources and wildlife as Banning Ranch.
Given the obvious disdain NBR had for Staff's map of a possible development footprint, this should be interesting.
The attendance at the hearing was Standing Room Only. The Seaside Ballroom was full to bursting, and the vast majority were in favor of saving Banning Ranch From any development at all. The sea of signs and waving hands was a sight to behold and very inspiriing. The outreach effort to residents of Newport Beach, Costa Mesa and Huntington Beach took months of organization by Conservancy volunteers, but it was worth every second. Thank you all for your support. It means more than you could ever know!
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Matching Challenge! As the Conservancy prepares for what could be the final battle for Banning Ranch, a supporter has come forward just in the nick of time. Our donor cares deeply about our quality of life and the environment. She’s offered $5000 to help us reach out to the public and create urgently needed awareness of the impending development.
We already have $1100 toward our matching goal. All we need is $3900! With your help we can do this!!!
Please donate today! The public has the right to know how this development will affect them. Our donor’s generous offer will also help pay for the buses to take residents to the hearing.
But first we have to match the money.
If approved at the October Coastal Commission in Long Beach, the proposed project will clog our streets with traffic, foul our air with pollution and unearth unknown levels of oil field contamination.
Donate today! Protect our neighborhoods, the environment and the vulnerable wildlife on Banning Ranch. Help our neighbors get to the Coastal Commission hearing! Let’s pack the Long City Hall and send a powerful message to the Commission.
We don’t want massive development on Banning Ranch!
NBR Settlement Agreement. On Thursday, March 12, at the California Coastal Commission Enforcement Hearing in Chula Vista, Newport Banning Ranch LLC (NBR), the developer, and the California Coastal Commission reached an agreement regarding the developer's alleged Coastal Act violations. The agreement requires NBR to permanently halt the mowing and clearing of habitat, other than for fire prevention measures required by the Orange County Fire Authority. They have also agreed to remove or seek permits for over 40 oil wells that were drilled and operated without development permits.
The Conservancy's VISION PLAN can now be accessed online. Please click here to see our VISION PLAN.
The BRC needs volunteers. If you have experience with Wordpress websites, please contact Suzanne Forster at 949 650-8806. We need volunteers to help with site design and content. If you have experience with Quickbooks for Nonprofits or would like to help out at a BRC Event or with our fundraising efforts, Suzanne would love to hear from you as well.