Stymied in their efforts to get the Orange County Board of Supervisors to reject a 65-home project into the rural canyons just northwest of Cook's Corner, canyonites are turning to the last place they can think of to stop what they believe to be a forever quality-of-life-changing development:
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Rejecting emotional pleas by area residents and petitions signed by 2,000 people, supervisors voted unanimously last week to not only allow Irvine-based
Rudder Rutter Development Corp.'s controversial residential project, but to amend the county's Foothill/Trabuco Specific Plan, clearing the way for the current and future developments. (*corrected)
The land use plan that was adopted in 1991 and includes Modjeska and Silverado canyons is "outdated," according to termed-out Supervisor Bill Campbell, who will be replaced in January by Todd Spitzer.
Meanwhile, Supervisor Shawn Nelson opposed the project-by-project amendment of the plan, calling for a complete review.
But project foes say restrictions within the original land use plan making it difficult to build in the canyons is there for good reason--good enough to sue over.
"The only recourse left is litigation," Ray Chandos told the Voice of OC's Norberto Santana Jr., and The Rural Canyon Conservancy leader already has a track record, having successfully sued to stop a much larger development a previous board approved in 2003.
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Ironically, county planners said they were guided in coming up with the 65-home plan by the 2005 appellate court decision that not only reversed the supervisors but laid out what development count occur in the canyons.
Foes fear urbanization, increased traffic and environmental damage will ultimately destroy their rural lifestyle, and to protect it the Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks (FHBP) "Save Santiago Canyon Facebook page" announces a fundraiser from 3-7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, in Modjeska Canyon.
To buy tickets, go to fhbp.org or here if you cannot attend but want to donate. You can also send a check payable to "Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks" to SCC, P.O. Box 1022, Trabuco Canyon, CA 92678.