Chino Hills Development Accelleration Triggers Spasms, Growing Pains

(August 11)  Coinciding with escalating unrest over development in Chino Hills, the city’s public works department took remedial action over the contamination of a water line north of Carbon Canyon Road. Some residents suggested, without marshalling incontrovertible proof, that the water line had been compromised by nearby construction activity.
The construction project suspected of being the cause of the problem, Canyon Hills, is just one of six projects entailing 253 homes which will soon be constructed in the city of 76,131 at the extreme southwest end of San Bernardino County.
Canyon Hills is a 141-acre property with a recorded final map for 76 lots off of Carbon Canyon Road and nestled against Chino Hills State Park. The land plan is designed around the rolling topography and native oaks and will feature excellent vistas.
The previous owners of Canyon Hills spent more than 10 years and millions of dollars planning and entitling the property. When the market crashed, they were motivated by the ability to carry-back tax losses from the sale of the property. Forestar/Foremost Communities,  the current developer, acquired the property  less than one month after signing a letter of intent.
A previous impediment to the development of the property was the lack of sewer service to that portion of Chino Hills. A nearby project recently extended a sewer main and built a pump station that is sized to serve Canyon Hills, making the project viable at this point. Foremost/Forestar has now extended the water and sewer lines to the property.
Yet the same dramatic vistas that will be a huge selling point to buyers in Canyon Hills have proven to be a secondary problem to the project in that residents of the area surrounding the 141-acre property fear that the development of the land will compromise its current aesthetics.
Over the last several months, a group of Chino Hills residents,  Hills for Everyone, has formed, and it members have raised over $30,000 to be used in an effort to prevent Carbon Canyon with being overrun by development.
Against this backdrop, a massive flow of water began hemorrhaging from a newly completed water line near the Canyon Hills development. The flow continued for at least two days before it was brought to the attention of the Chino HIlls Public Works division late last month.
The city then examined the circumstance, taking samples of water from the line. Lab tests showed bacteria was proliferating in the water. The city contacted the developer, who then began flushing the line in an attempt to clean it. Water was blasted at a high level of pressure through the line on on July 28, July 31, August  1, August 4 and August 5, each time accompanied with chlorinated water to kill the bacteria.
All told some 750,000 gallons of the bacteria-laced water were flushed from the waterline. Follow–up lab tests of water from the line are now being conducted.
The oversight in the construction activity provided a public relations opportunity for Hills For Everyone, which in addition to having concerns about aggressive building in Chino Hills, is also taking a stand against a 162-unit project that was approved by the city of Brea just outside the Chino Hills city limits in Carbon Canyon.
In addition to Forestar/Foremost Communities’  Canyon Hills’ 141-acre, 76-home development, which is to include gated streets and housing stock described as  “mini-mansions,” there are five other projects pending within Chino Hills. The largest is Chino Hills Country Club LLC’s proposed 107 estate home subdivision, formerly known as Soquel Canyon Country Estates and the Ranch at Carbon Canyon, which is to be built on  537 total acres on the south side of Carbon Canyon Road at Canyon Hills Road.
Another development is Stonefield LLC effort to make good on the 2009 approval of 28 homes on 35 acres within a gated community at the northeast corner of Carbon Canyon Road and Fairway Drive.
A new owner has also assumed the entitlement, Richard and Soledad Meaglia obtained on October 20, 2009 to subdivide  6.64 acres into 11 residential lots, two open space lots and one lot for a private street on the north side of Pinnacle Road south of Carbon Canyon Road.
Recently, Caltrans redressed landslide issues in the environs of property south of Carbon Canyon Road and east of Canon Lane, which will allow a 38-dwelling unit project on 68 acres there that was originally approved for applicant Shanghai Aviation Industrial Corporation by the county of San Bernardino in 1988.
In addition, the city’s planning division is now putting the finishing touches on an application  for the construction of 23 homes in the Carbon Canyon area at the extreme end of Red Apple Lane south of Carbon Canyon Road.

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