Dear Ms. Lilley…

On the heels of last Thursday’s resident’s meeting on the Brea Place development by Hines, the following communication to City Planner Jennifer Lilley has circulated from former Brea Council member and Mayor John Beauman.

John has been considerate enough to allow Brea Matters to add this to the public discussion before the next Planning Commission meeting on Tuesday, February 28.

Dear Ms. Lilley,

This paper is a flashback — based on the best of my recollection — when I served on the General Plan Advisory Committee (GPAC), 2000-2001, prior to being appointed to the City Council in Nov. 2001, serving through Dec. 2010, including two terms as mayor.

The General Plan (GP) was approved in Aug. 2003, which I had the opportunity to participate in, including staff presentations. In light of the extensive overview of the overall GP, no particular concerns were noted or addressed for what is now the Hines’ project site, which is understandable in light of the broad scope of the GP, a 2-inch-thick document covering a broad array of diverse study areas.

For the reasons stated below, applying the 2003 GP EIR to the proposed project is both inadequate and inappropriate.

The GPAC committee consisted of fourteen (14) members, representing a cross-section of the community, with a variety of professional and educational backgrounds. None of whom had expertise in urban development or zoning.

Our focus as a committee was principally on the overall GP rather than on any specific urban-infill site. Our collective knowledge was based solely on what consultants and staff presented. Our ability to ask relevant questions across the broad range of development was naturally limited by our lack of specific experience and knowledge.

At the time, there was no compelling reason to dig deeper into any potential future land uses for that site, since no specific concerns were raised. Even with it being designated Mixed Use I, there was no discussion or insight into what any future development may look like, especially without specifics.

I certainly did not imagine a project the scope and magnitude of the proposed multi-story apartment complex.

Our limited knowledge at the time was not even remotely adequate to project any future potential use for that site. In conclusion it was virtually impossible to even wrap one’s imagination around what any potential future project could potentially look like, all of which necessitates the need for a current EIR.

One last word, when reviewing that particular area, one envisions that any development on that site would be consistent with the community at large. Such a large apartment complex as is being proposed certainly isn’t.

Respectfully,

John Beauman, former Mayor

There, Ms. Lilley, is the real truth.

You are allowing this development agreement with the Hines Development Corp. to advance in a manner that is, if not illegal, certainly unethical and… as Mr. Beauman suggests, “is both inadequate and inappropriate.”

You have two weeks to rectify this situation, bring the Brea Place project to a temporary halt while initiating the sort of envisioning and environmental scrutiny a project of this scope… and Brea citizens, demand.

First, fix the process then fix the project.