Coyote HillsProject Name and Location: Coyote Hills, Fullerton

Lead Agency: City of Fullerton

Threat: The project applicant, Chevron and Pacific Coast Homes, proposes 756 dwelling units plus retail on 510 acres of open space.

Description of the Issues: Concerns include loss of endangered species (flora and fauna), proximity to hazardous materials (previous oil drilling operations) and an earthquake fault, risk of wildfire, excessive water use, and loss of last open space in northwest Orange/southeast Los Angeles Counties, which currently provides needed respite for over a million people.

Lead Organization: Friends of Coyote Hills (FCH)

FHBP’s Position/Involvement:

  • FCH became a fiscally sponsored group under FHBP in 2001.
  • FHBP voted to oppose the Coyote Hills project and signed on as a co-petitioner to two lawsuits, in August 2011 and February 2016.
  • FHBP granted $2500 to FCH in 2011.
  • FCH formed its own non-profit in 2024 and is now known as Coyote Hills Conservation Fund.

Project History:

  • In 2011, a CEQA lawsuit was filed by FCH with FHBP and the Center for Biological Diversity as co-petitioners. The court ruled against the petitioners.
  • In 2012, FCH sponsored Measure W, a referendum challenging the City of Fullerton’s approval of the Coyote Hills project. The measure passed with 61% of the vote in favor of terminating the development agreement. Despite the referendum’s passing, the City refused to terminate the development agreement for the project.
  • From 2013-2014, FCH and Chevron discussed acquisition options to move forward from the Referendum. This ended in 2015 with the City approving a Vesting Tentative Tract Map which gave Chevron the development entitlement voters nullified with Measure W.
  • In 2016, FCH, FHBP, and the Center for Biological Diversity sued the City of Fullerton for ignoring Measure W. Orange County Superior Court Judge Claster ruled against petitioners. The California State Supreme Court declined to hear the FCH appeal in March 2019.
  • From 2017 to 2018, FCH worked with Senator Josh Newman and Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva to secure $15M state monies for acquisition. FCH influenced the City of Fullerton to seek additional acquisition funds.
  • In 2019, the City and Chevron-Pacific Coast Homes entered into a purchase agreement for the east half of West Coyote Hills.
  • In December 2021, the City of Fullerton completed the purchase of the east half of West Coyote Hills for $18M, creating a contiguous 217.8-acre open space park and nature preserve. Initial trails opened in May 2023.
  • In 2022, Senator Josh Newman requested the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy appraise the remaining West Coyote Hills site. This important step, completed in early 2023, helps to size the acquisition budget and is paving the way for further progress.

Next Action/Decision:

  • The Friends of Coyote Hills is in a critical race against time to save the remaining 510 acres of West Coyote Hills as a permanent nature preserve. We’re actively engaging Senator Newman, Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva, Chevron-Pacific Coast Homes, and the State to find a solution for the land’s acquisition. Timely fundraising is crucial to support our ongoing efforts.