OC Parks Update - reopening and restoration after the fire
Sully Miller History of the site Discussion of the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the Trails at Santiago Creek Proposal
On February 23rd, the Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) for the Sully-Miller property was released. While this latest attempt to develop the approximately 109-acre parcel shows some improvement over prior proposals, the DEIR is still deficient in many respects, and may be legally defective. The DEIR does not identify the project being proposed. It vaguely states that 40 acres will be developed with 129 units, no tract map or design parameters are disclosed. The site would need to be rezoned as there are no entitlements.
The DEIR also contains numerous misstatements regarding prior, current, and planned uses for the project site including a bizarre attempt to argue that the traffic added by 129 units will actually reduce the burden on Santiago Canyon Road. The project's proposed solution to add a short lane to Santiago Canyon and restripe portions of Cannon will not alleviate existing congestion, and certainly won't compensate for the added trips caused by the 129 units.
The project also plans, without justification, to extinguish the portion of the Orange Park Acres Specific Plan that lies on 56 acres of the project site. The OPA Plan has protected the uses of OPA property for decades and should not be brushed aside in the name of building tract homes.
Other legal deficiencies include: A lack of meaningful analysis of alternatives; failure to consider current and future developments in the greater Orange area.
Although the project includes a few "sweeteners," such as a donation of the Ridgeline property and money for trail improvements, these do not make up for the deficiencies in the DEIR and the overreaching that the development threatens. The developer continues to meet with community representatives in the hope of reaching a resolution that respects the integrity of the planning process and maintains the character of the project property and its surroundings.
The DEIR is available here from the City of Orange. The deadline to submit public comments is April 9, 2018. Public comments should be sent to Robert Garcia, Senior Planner, City of Orange; RGarcia@cityoforange.org.