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. February 2017, FCH lost an appeal of this ruling and then appealed to the State Supreme Court.
  • The California State Supreme Court declined to hear the FCH appeal in March 2019.

Next Action/Decision:

  • The Friends continued to seek acquisition funds in parallel to the legal challenges. In 2015, they were awarded a $1M matching grant from a private foundation. Working with Assemblywoman Sharon Quirk-Silva and then Senator Josh Newman, the group secured $15M in state monies for acquisition and an additional $4.8M from Prop 68. FCH influenced the City of Fullerton to seek acquisition funds. In 2019, the City and Chevron-Pacific Coast Homes entered into a purchase agreement for the east half of West Coyote Hills. The Friends continue to seek funds to purchase the remaining West Coyote Hills to save it all for now and the future.