Esperanza HillsProject Name: Esperanza Hills

Project Location: Unincorporated Orange County, above Yorba Linda

Lead Agency: Orange County Board of Supervisors

Threat: The project applicant proposes 340 hilltop houses on 469 acres.

Description of the Issues: Concerns include inadequate emergency evacuation, risk of wildfire, excessive water use, proximity to hazardous materials and an earthquake fault, impacts to Chino Hills State Park, loss of endangered species, and inadequate project access.

Lead Organization: Protect Our Homes and Hills

FHBP’s Position/Involvement:

  • The FHBP Board of Directors voted to oppose the project and signed on as a co-petitioner to the numerous lawsuits filed between 2015 and 2020.
  • FHBP has written substantive comments and testified at numerous public hearings on the project.

Project History:

  • In August 2020, the City of Yorba Linda denied the grading and encroachment permit on land needed for the project’s entrance.
  • Petitioners appealed the 2016 lawsuit’s appellate court ruling to see if the California Supreme Court would review the petition. It was declined in June 2020. One remaining lawsuit from 2018 exists at the 4th District Court of Appeal.
  • Numerous lawsuits have been filed under the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) including: July 2015 (won), June 2016 (won), June 2017 (dismissed without prejudice), October 2018 (on appeal). Additionally, several decisions have been appealed: October 2017 (won), December 2018 (won), and May 2019 (won).
  • Court decisions have overturned the project entitlements and Environmental Impact Report (EIR) several times: May 2017, September 2018, and August 2019.
  • The lawsuit was filed by Protect Our Homes and Hills with Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks, Hills For Everyone, Endangered Habitats League, and California Native Plant Society as co-petitioners.

Decision History:

  • 3-2 approval of the Esperanza Hills project EIR’s greenhouse gas revisions in August 2019 by the Orange County Board of Supervisors: Andrew Do, Michelle Steel, and Lisa Bartlett. Supervisors Don Wagner and Doug Chaffee opposed the project.
  • 4-1 approval of the Esperanza Hills project proposal in September 2018 by the Orange County Board of Supervisors: Andrew Do, Michelle Steel, Shawn Nelson, and Lisa Bartlett.  Supervisor Todd Spitzer opposed the project.
  • 4-1 approval of the Esperanza Hills project proposal in May 2017 by the Orange County Board of Supervisors: Andrew Do, Michelle Steel, Shawn Nelson, and Lisa Bartlett.  Supervisor Todd Spitzer opposed the project.
  • Unanimous approval of Esperanza Hills project proposal in June 2015 by Orange County Board of Supervisors: Andrew Do, Michelle Steel, Todd Spitzer, Shawn Nelson, and Lisa Bartlett.

Next Action/Decision: As of June 2020, the Appellate Court hearing needs to be scheduled.