Chino Hills Allows High Density Units At Butterfield

(March 4) Over the strenuous opposition of nearby residents, the Chino Hills City Council last month opted to allow Overton Moore Properties to proceed with its high density apartment project on the east side of Butterfield Ranch Road.
The project will entail 331 apartment units on 16.5 acres. The project site is bordered on the north by the Heights Apartments complex, low density single residential homes to the south, medium density single residential homes to the west, and the 71 Freeway and Pinehurst Park, which Overton Moore is to develop as part of the project, to the east.
The property was formerly zoned service commercial and the project approval entailed a general plan amendment and a change of zoning to very high density residential. Overton Moore is involved primarily in the development of real estate for commercial purposes and acquired the property primarily because of its previous zoning. The conversion of the property to high intensity residential use is potentially as profitable for Overton Moore as developing it commercially.
According to city manager Konradt Bartlam, at the January 7 planning commission hearing for the project,   seventeen members of the community commented on the project, one speaking in favor of it and sixteen expressing concerns or in opposition.   Bartlam conceded that community concerns included  the project representing an overconcentration of multifamily residential development within the southern portion of the city, that the project was too dense and did not comply with the Chino Hills Development Code, that there is already significant traffic on adjacent roadways,  that the project would add students to the nearby already overcrowded schools, that there was inadequate onsite parking that would lead to overflow parking into the park site and into adjacent neighborhoods, that noise impacts would be onerous, that the project would result in decreased property values, and the development of the property would have effects on privacy.
But  Bartlam said “The California Department of Housing and Community Development allows cities to satisfy their Regional Housing Needs Assessment requirements by rezoning properties to a very high density, which in metropolitan areas such as southwestern San Bernardino County is a density of at least 30 dwelling units per acre.”
As approved, the development will consist of 18 buildings of 1 – 3 bedroom units. A new public street is proposed off of Butterfield Ranch Road, which will serve as the main access for the apartment development and the public park.
Gross density of the project is 20 units per acre, and net density exclusive of the 1.03 acre street and the 1.10 acre drainage channel is 23 units per acre.
The city council unanimously approved the project, pursuant to Bartlam’s recommendation, in so doing making what is called a negative declaration, that is, asserting that no unmitigated impacts to the community will come about as a consequence of the project.
One project opponent bitterly complained that the council’s action “proves that the needs of special interests trump the voice of the citizens in Chino Hills.”
The city council gave only “lip service” to its general plan and development standards, he said.
Overton Moore Chief Executive Officer  Timur Tecimer said the council’s vote drew to a close two years of needless delays over the project.

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