1) At the February 15, 2011 HOSEC Steering Committee, we discussed the re-submittal of the AERA property to the Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA) M2 freeway mitigation program. The property was dropped earlier due to the property owner not providing an adequate “willing seller” letter to OCTA. Because land prices are at a low point, OCTA is exploring combining the two phases of acquisition of open space into one funding cycle, so they reopened the process. The City of Brea submitted AERA a second time with the permission of AERA and it was evaluated and again came out very high on the list of potential high value acquisitions from an environmental perspective. AERA has not opposed moving forward at this point, so the resource agencies will be conducting a field visit on Monday, May 9. Charlie View, Public Works Director from the City of Brea will be attending the tour.
2) If this property moves forward, the next step is an appraisal by OCTA for the Orange County land area (excludes LA County). AERA will need to agree to allow the appraisal. The appraisal will remain confidential and only become public should AERA sell the property. These acquisitions are completely willing seller transactions and there is no use of eminent domain. If the property owner does not want to participate OCTA simply moves on to the next property on the list.
3) AERA has indicated that its development plan will be processed through Los Angeles County and Diamond Bar is no longer an option at this point. As far as we can tell, a new submittal to LA County has not occurred and AERA has told us that they believe their original submittal is still active and they only need to update their reports. They have the option of processing the existing plan or modifying it, or submitting a completely new plan, but any of these options will require extensive study on biology, green house gas emissions under AB 32, and SB 375 (linking transportation and housing) since the last two requirements came into effect since their original submittal. Brea staff continues to keep discussions going with AERA regarding their development proposal.
4) If the M2 funds are awarded, it is important to look toward LA County for additional funds under Prop A from the 1996 set-aside for Firestone/Tonner Canyon area via Wildlife Corridor Conservation Authority (WCCA) estimated at $10 million-20 million and there is $72 million in State Prop 84 funds from 2006 that this property could qualify for out of a $5.3 billion bond.