SOURCE: Bolsa Chica Land Trust

Bolsa Chica Land Trust

May 04, 2016 11:44 ET

Breakthrough Agreement Reached to Preserve Last Remaining 11.1 Acres of Bolsa Chica Mesa

Landowner Signal Landmark and Bolsa Chica Land Trust Reach Milestone Resolution

BCLT Lawsuit Against City and Developer to Be Dismissed

Trust for Public Land begins Grant Proposals and BCLT Begins Private Fundraising to Purchase and Preserve the Site

Preservation of Irreplaceable Biological and Archaeo-Cultural Resources

HUNTINGTON BEACH, CA--(Marketwired - May 4, 2016) -  The last privately owned acres of the Bolsa Chica Mesa in Huntington Beach will be preserved in their entirety under a breakthrough agreement reached between developer Signal Landmark and the Bolsa Chica Land Trust (BCLT).

Under the agreement announced today, a lawsuit filed by BCLT against the City of Huntington Beach will be dismissed, clearing the way for fundraising to begin to acquire the entire 11.1-acre property. BCLT is partnering with The Trust for Public Land, a national non-profit organization that works with communities to acquire and protect open spaces, to complete the project.

The agreement gives The Trust for Public Land 18 months, to raise funds to purchase the land from its two owners: Signal Landmark, which owns 4.9 acres, and the Goodell Family Trust, which owns the remaining 6.2 acres. The purchase price will be determined by an independent, third-party appraisal.

"Bolsa Chica is a local treasure," said Gina Fromer, California State Director of The Trust for Public Land. "Everyone who lives in, or visits Huntington Beach should be able to experience both its natural beauty and deep historical presence. We look forward to saving this important piece of California's landscape for generations to come."

'Agreement is a Very Exciting Milestone'

"This agreement is a very exciting milestone that underscores the commitment so many people have to the outright preservation of this culturally significant and ecologically sensitive habitat," said Kim Kolpin, executive director of the Bolsa Chica Land Trust. "We are confident that together with The Trust for Public Land, our robust fundraising campaign will help raise the funds needed to purchase and protect this land."

Anthony Morales, tribal chief and chairman of the Gabrielino Band of Mission Indians, said he looks forward to a final resolution that will protect the remaining piece of Bolsa Chica.

"Our ancestors called Bolsa Chica home for generations, and this site is very meaningful to us," Morales said. "We simply want the history of our tribe and the memory of our ancestors honored, and this agreement is a very positive and major step."

An Alternate Track if Funding Falls Short

The agreement contains a fall back plan if BCLT and The Trust for Public Land are unable to raise the funds needed in time. Under this alternative, Signal Landmark would develop 2.5 acres for residential uses, and preserve the remaining 8.6 acres as permanent open space. The open space lands would be dedicated to the public as passive open space.

However, all parties in the agreement are committed to the purchase and preservation of the entire 11.1-acres -- and BCLT and the Trust for Public Land already have launched a comprehensive fund-raising campaign.

'We Want the Acquisition to Succeed'

"Everyone involved in this agreement worked very hard to get to this point, and we want the acquisition of the Bolsa Chica Mesa to succeed," said Todd Cunningham, a representative of the property owners. "It's encouraging to see everyone working toward the same goal, and we're proud to have developed a partnership with individuals and organizations who are so passionate about Bolsa Chica and this very special part of Huntington Beach."

Under the dual track approach in the agreement, as the BCLT and the Trust for Public Land work to purchase the property, Signal Landmark will concurrently start the approval process for townhome development on 2.5 acres. Safeguards are built into the agreement to minimize the potential impacts from development on cultural and biological resources in the area, including the preservation of the remaining 8.6 acres as passive open space. 

"This land has world-class archeological value, so it is of the utmost importance that these resources are protected in perpetuity," said William R. Hildebrandt, Ph. D., an archeologist with the Far Western Anthropological Research Group, Inc. "If development ultimately occurs, a meticulous plan will be drafted to protect and appropriately handle any findings on site, as required by the agreement."

Representatives of all parties in the agreement stressed that, should any residential development occur under the alternate track, the parcel's high-value archeological resources would be protected. 

About Bolsa Chica Land Trust

The Bolsa Chica Land Trust, a 501c (3) non-profit organization, was formed in 1992 with the mission of the acquisition, preservation and restoration of all of Bolsa Chica and to educate the public as to Bolsa Chica's natural wonders and cultural significance. Today, more than 5,000 members of BCLT actively support these efforts and BCLT's projects and programs.

About Signal Landmark

Signal Landmark is a privately held company based in Mission Viejo, Calif. The company operates as a subsidiary of California Coastal Communities Inc.

About The Trust for Public Land

The Trust for Public Land creates parks and protects land for people, ensuring healthy, livable communities for generations to come. Millions of people live within a ten-minute walk of a Trust for Public Land park, garden, or natural area, and millions more visit these sites every year. Learn more at tpl.org.

OFFICERS

President
Jennifer Thomas
Vice President
Dan Kalmick
Treasurer
Jim Anderson
Secretary
Marinka Horack

BOARD OF DIRECTORS

Roberta Armstrong
Roger Bloom
Dr. Gerald Chapman
Dr. John Doyle
Dave Hamilton
Mikel Hogan, Ph.D.
Flossie Horgan
Mike McMahan
Corey Miller
Jayson Ruth
Marc Stirdivant
Laurel Telfer
Karen Merickel-Wood

Executive Director
Kim Kolpin

ADVISORY BOARD

Debbie Cook
Norma Gibbs
Bob Goodrich
Janice Kellogg
Patricia Martz, Ph.D.
Eileen Murphy
Linda Moulton Patterson
Rochelle Pazanti
Dr. Richard Sax
Grace Winchell

ENDORSEMENTS

Amigos de Bolsa Chica
Algalita Marine Research Foundation
Anza Borrego Foundation
Ballona Wetlands Land Trust
City of Huntington Beach
City of Seal Beach
Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks
Huntington Beach Wetlands Conservancy
Huntington Beach Tomorrow
Orange Coast League of Women Voters
Orange County Coastkeeper
Peninsula Open Space Trust
Sea and Sage Audubon
Sierra Club Angeles Chapter
Surfrider Foundation

Contact Information