Posts Tagged ‘Bolsa Chica’

By Scott Sink
OC Voice Staff Writer

Motorists passing through Huntington Beach may see local Native Americans and concerned residents picketing in front of the Brightwater housing development, built by Hearthside Homes, on Bolsa Chica and Warner.

The protesters are denouncing the building of houses upon an 8,500 year old village site, which includes at least 174 human burials.

“We’re trying to make people aware about what’s going on here,” said Paul Moreno, an organizer of the event from the Micmac Nation. “What has been done here isn’t right. Developers have destroyed 90 percent of Orange County’s sacred sites.”

Although the Coastal Commission approved the building permit in April of 2005, a broad-based coalition of indigenous peoples and environmentalists contend that Hearthside did not comply with the laws protecting sacred sites and archaeological remains. (more…)


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By John Earl
OC Voice Editor

What some people call a mere Huntington Beach bean field is actually one of California’s last remaining wetland areas, according to environmentalists and scientists for the California Coastal Commission. In either case, all the beans and much of the wetlands habitat will vanish soon due to a 5-2 city council vote on June 16 that advanced a 6-year-old proposal to build up to 170 homes on the site.

The housing tract will be located on part of a 50-acre section of land on the upper mesa of the Bolsa Chica wetlands, on an historical flood plain adjacent to a county flood control levee, south of Warner Avenue and along the west side of Graham Avenue.

Since 1971 city officials have dreamed of building homes on the site. The project is related to a larger, 30-year-old battle for 1,700-acres of threatened Bolsa Chica wetlands and habitat connected areas, 1,100 of which have been preserved but would have been replaced by now with a 5,700 home marina and other urban sprawl were it not for the efforts of local and state wetlands preservationists.

Councilmember Cathy Green, for one, has been content for years believing that the project would replace only beans, not wetlands, and that the city should keep with its past intentions. “I have always thought of it [the site] as a bean field and always thought that it was going to be developed residential,” she recalled before voting. (more…)

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Editor’s note: The following article is hotly disputed by Shea Homes. Spokesperson Laer Pearce explains Shea’s position in the response the follows directly at the end of this article. The Voice encourages readers to consider the views of all parties involved in this issue.

By John Earl
OC Voice Editor

One of the primary reasons the Huntington Beach City Council accepted the California Coastal Commission’s recommended modifications to the Parkside housing project on the upper mesa of the Bolsa Chica wetlands (June 16) was the developer’s promise to repair the Wintersburg flood control levee up to FEMA standards along the property’s southern border, which Shea vice president Ron Metzler and city staff repeatedly assured the city council would lead to a FEMA certification and the elimination of flood insurance for 7,000 homes located all the way to the 405 freeway and north of Edinger Avenue.

They pointed to a 2002 FEMA letter as proof that the flood map for that area would be changed after Shea’s mandated improvements are made. The letter confirmed that the improvements would lead to lower or zero flood insurance premiums for an unknown number of people.

But Bolsa Chica Land Trust director Flossie Horgan tried to tell the council about a recent request to the city by Shea Homes to “consider a design alternative that would limit the improvement of the levee along the C05 Wintersburg Channel to the developed frontage in lieu of the entire length of the property as originally required under the conditions of approval for the project,” according to a Jan. 23, 2007 letter from City Engineer Travis K. Hopkins to the Coastal Commission. (more…)

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Native Americans Lose Sacred Site to Developer
‘What are you suggesting we do,’ CEO asks

By John Earl, Scott Sink and Rashi Kesarwani
OC Voice


Hearthside Homes CEO Edward Mountford angrily denied reports that the company had uncovered 87 ancient Native American burial remains since breaking ground in June of 2006 on its planned 356 unit Brightwater housing project or had failed to report them the Orange County Coroner’s office in a manner required by California law.

Brightwater is on 105.3 acres of land on the upper bench of the Bolsa Chica Mesa in Huntington Beach.

“It was all reported on time, according to the regulations,” Mountford told the Voice.

Mountford’s denial came despite a leaked company memo showing that 87 “human bone concentrations” along with 4,217 artifacts, some of which were directly associated with the burials, were uncovered “during the grading monitoring” on a 11.8 acre section of the Hearthside property known as ORA-83.

The memo was first revealed by Flossie Horgan, Executive Director of the Bolsa Chica Land Trust, a locally based group dedicated to restoring the Bolsa Chica wetlands. Even with the memo, however, it is still not clear if the remains were reported to the coroner or not; presumably, the coroner may have had the information but failed to report it to the Native American Heritage Commission within 24 hours as required by law. (more…)

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