Likely City Planner Jennifer Lilley was left with no choice but to rein in the runaway process jamming the Hines Brea Place development down the throats of the Planning Commission and the general public.
Also likely that public pressure will continue to mount as the word of this boondoggle spreads. I’ve only run into one person who thinks relying on a 14 year old EIR is okay – I’ve nicknamed him “Clueless in Brea.”
Late this afternoon the following was sent to City Council, Planning Commission and key city staff. What a classic example of damage control.
Subject: February 28 meeting.
I wanted to provide for you an update on our February meeting agenda. As you know we have been preparing to have the Hines application come to the Commission at this hearing. City staff has been working to ensure the Commission and the public have time to learn about this project and absorb information before a decision is made. To that end city staff is recommending the following:
1 – The Hines item scheduled for February is recommended to be continued. Staff will present the report at this meeting including a history of the site, the entitlements an overview of the request and a summary of the environmental analysis. Given many folks from the community will likely be present we would recommend the public hearing be opened for questions and for the Commission and staff to get input on what questions or information the community may need.
2 – At the next meeting (March 14 or 28) dependent on the Commissions decision the applicant and their technical team would present their application and information. Public input again would be taken and questions and comments could be addressed. The Commission can determine if they are ready to make a decision or need additional information and direct staff to that end.
Your packet is being prepared and we will have it available as soon as possible. Once it is available to the Commission it will also be made available to the public. If people are contacting you looking for information staff encourages you to direct those folks to the city and we are happy to set up meetings with groups or individuals to walk through information and answer any questions.
If there is anything else we can help you with, please let me know. Thank you so much.
Jennifer Lilley, City Planner
Alternative fact number 1.
“City staff has been working to ensure the Commission and the public have time to learn about this project and absorb information before a decision is made.” Hogwash. Every effort was made to smuggle this past the watchful eye of the public knowing the rejection would exceed the blowback over Madrona.
Alternative fact number 2.
“Staff will present… a summary of the environmental analysis.” What environmental analysis? The 14 year old EIR that has long passed its “use by” date? We don’t need some self serving “summary” of an outdated report, couched in language designed to overcome public objection.
Alternative fact number 3.
“At the next meeting… the Commission can determine if they are ready to make a decision.” Hold on! The Commission has every right to continue this until a new EIR is completed by a firm with a successful history of providing such service to Brea before. Like for Chevron’s La Floresta project or Central Park Brea on the old hospital site.
Why do we have to listen to the applicant and their technical team’s dog and pony show before proper studies (by firms not on the Hines payroll)? Answer… we don’t.
Alternative fact number 4.
“If people are contacting you looking for information staff encourages you to direct those folks to the city…” so we can jam one more barrier between you and the people you’re charged with representing!
We understand the ethics involved, that Commissioners are not supposed to prematurely form opinions prior to the public hearing. We get that. But there should be no roadblock placed between the Commission and the public by city staff. Unacceptable!
A battle won but the war continues.
People of Brea, the impact zone of this project stretches across the entire city. This is not a problem limited to the closest neighborhood. If you cross Brea once a day getting a child to school, to buy groceries or getting to work – you will feel the effect first hand.
Keep the Planning Commission meeting on the 28th on your agenda and the Hines Brea Place project on your radar.