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.

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 July 2021, FCH worked with Senator Josh Newman and Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva to secure $28M state monies for the acquisition of the west 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.

Next Action/Decision:

  • Residents of North Orange County can look forward to the upcoming opening of a new 218-acre open space and nature preserve on the site of West Coyote Hills. The Friends continue to work with Senator Newman and Assemblywoman Quirk-Silva to seek funds to purchase the remaining West Coyote Hills to save it all for now and the future. Chevron is cooperating with the Rivers and Mountains Conservancy on an appraisal in early 2022 to inform the funding requirement.