Banning Ranch Conservancy wins lawsuit against N.B City Council
The ruling is in! The Superior Court of Orange County has decided in favor of the Banning Ranch Conservancy in their lawsuit against the City’s approval of the Newport Banning Ranch Project.
Yes, we won! But as deeply gratifying as the court’s decision is, the real winners are the people who voted for a General Plan that prioritizes Banning Ranch as open space, and those who may one day explore this rich ecosystem when it has been conserved for the public as a park and nature preserve.
In 2006, Newport Beach residents voted to prioritize the acquisition of Banning Ranch as open space for public use, and the Conservancy’s goal in taking legal action was to compel the City Council to honor that vote. Fortunately, the court agreed.
All of us who strive to save Banning Ranch from development have much to be thankful for this holiday season. Our members and supporters top the list. THANK YOU. We counted on your passion and your generosity to help us reach our goal—and you didn’t let us down!
We’re thrilled to share this news with you. It’s a victory for the Banning Ranch wildlife, the abundant native plants, for our quality of life, clean air and wide open spaces.
It’s a victory for all of us who love nature.It’s your victory.
Thank you for making it happen.
Happy Holidays from Terry Welsh and the Banning Ranch Conservancy Board!
For more details, here is the official Media Release:
BANNING RANCH CONSERVANCY WINS LAWSUIT AGAINST NEWPORT BEACH CITY COUNCIL
The Banning Ranch Conservancy, a local non-profit organization dedicated to preserving Banning Ranch as permanent public open space, won its lawsuit challenging the Newport Beach City Council's approval of the Newport Banning Ranch project.
In July, 2012, the City Council approved the project proposed by developer Newport Banning Ranch LLC consisting of 1375 residences, a 75 room resort hotel and 75,000 square feet of commercial retail space.
The lawsuit claimed that the City violated its own General Plan and the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). While the CEQA claim was not upheld, the Orange County Superior Court did find that “…the Project itself, as approved, is inconsistent with the General Plan … in that the City failed to coordinate and work with the [California] Coastal Commission in identifying which wetlands and habitats present in Banning Ranch would be preserved, restored or developed, prior to its approval of the Project.” The Court’s decision reverses the City’s approval of the Project.
Steve Ray, Executive Director of the Conservancy says. "We did not want to litigate, but the City must comply with the law. In particular, the City Council seems to be single-minded in promoting the development of Banning Ranch, which is contrary to the will of the citizens of Newport Beach."
In 2006, voters approved a ballot initiative as an amendment to the Newport Beach General Plan designating that the priority for Banning Ranch is that it remain as permanent open space and that it be used as a public park. Says Ray, "At 401 acres, it would result in a substantial park for residents. We have launched a major fundraising drive to purchase Banning Ranch at fair market value from the developers and to create a park and coastal nature preserve, just as the citizens want."
John McClendon of Leibold, McClendon & Mann (Laguna Hills) served as lead litigator on behalf of the Conservancy.
Banning Ranch Conservancy is a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization whose mission is to preserve, acquire, conserve and manage the entire Banning Ranch as permanent public open space, park and coastal nature preserve.
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