Rancho La Habra

About the Project

In 2015 Standard Pacific Homes submitted an application to the City for the residential development of Westridge Golf Course. The golf course property is privately owned and the ownership has a contract with a company to operate the facility. The golf course property is not publicly operated or controlled.

In 2016 Standard Pacific merged with Ryland Homes and became Cal-Atlantic. Under Cal-Atlantic, the preparation of the Draft Environmental document began. The Draft EIR is a product of the City and was prepared by an independent consultant hired by the City but funded by Cal-Atlantic. The DEIR is privately funded by the developer because they are proposing the project for consideration and not a City initiated process that would justify expending tax payer dollars.

In 2017 Lennar acquired Cal-Atlantic. The Draft EIR was released for public comment beginning on February 26, 2018 for 45 days. Based on feedback from the community the City Council extended the public comment period for an additional 30-days. The public comment period closed on May 11, 2018.

Currently the City is reviewing all of the public comments and over the next several months will be preparing response to comments.

Project Description

The project site is the Westridge Golf Club, which is adjacent to Beach Boulevard and adjacent to the existing Westridge Plaza shopping center. The Westridge Golf Club was developed along with the Westridge residential community to the south pursuant to the adopted La Habra Hills Specific Plan. The currently proposed Rancho La Habra Specific Plan proposes to remove the 151-acre project site from the La Habra Hills Specific Plan and develop the existing golf course with 402 residential dwelling units, including 277 single-family homes and 125 multi-family residences, along with either 20,000 square feet of commercial development (e.g., specialty grocery, restaurant, or general retail uses) or an additional 46 multi-family dwelling units. Also proposed are open space areas that would include public parks and private recreational areas, a community center, small amphitheater, habitat conservation areas, passive recreational uses including trails, wildlife viewing, picnic areas and tot lots on the approximately 151-acre site.

The applicant, Lennar (formerly CalAtlantic), is requesting that the City of La Habra approve the following:

• General Plan Amendment 18-01 • Change of Zone 18-01 • The Rancho La Habra Specific Plan • Amendment # 3 to the La Habra Hills Specific Plan • Vesting Tentative Tract Map 17845 • Development Agreement 18-01 with the City of La Habra • Design Review 18-01 thru 18-05 for Planning Areas 1-4 and 6. • Conditional Use Permits 18-01 thru 18-03 for Model Home Complexes within Planning Areas 1, 2, & 4 • Establishment of a Community Facilities District.

In addition, the applicant is requesting the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to release and relocate existing deed restrictions established on the project site. These deed restrictions were established as mitigation for impacts related to previous construction of the existing golf course and adjacent residential areas to the south pursuant to the La Habra Hills Specific Plan. Release and relocation of these deed restrictions would be required in order for development of the proposed project to proceed.

This Environmental Impact Report identifies the following Significant Unavoidable impacts that would result from implementation of the proposed Specific Plan:

• Population and Housing Impact POP-1: Implementation of the proposed Rancho La Habra Specific Plan would generate population growth as the direct result of the housing proposed by the Specific Plan. While the proposed project would not necessarily increase the growth rate that the City has through 2040, it would substantially increase La Habra’s inventory of land for the development of housing, and therefore result in substantial population growth at buildout of the City. Such population growth would exceed the growth projections used for preparation of the current regional Air Quality Management Plan, would therefore be inconsistent with the plan, and a significant impact would result. This increased population growth would also result in significant and unavoidable physical environmental effects in relation to aesthetics and visual resources, traffic and circulation, and greenhouse gas emissions.

• Aesthetics Impact AES-3: Implementation of the proposed Rancho La Habra Specific Plan would result in the loss of a major open space resource. While the proposed project would be well planned and designed, the substantial loss of open space that would result from the proposed development would degrade the existing visual character of the site.

• Traffic and Circulation TRA-1: With respect to the mitigation at intersections and along roadways under the jurisdiction of the cities of Fullerton, Buena Park, La Mirada, and Caltrans, under CEQA, a fair share monetary contribution is considered to be adequate mitigation only if the fee is tied to a reasonable plan that the relevant agency is committed to implementing. However, these cities and Caltrans do not have a mitigation fund program in place for improvements to which the proposed project would contribute sufficient traffic to constitute significant impacts. Therefore, because the City of La Habra has no authority to implement the recommended traffic improvements, impacts remain significant and unavoidable.

• Air Quality Impact AQ-1: Although the proposed project would not result in an increase in the frequency or severity of existing air quality violations or cause or contribute to new violations, proposed housing and population growth would be inconsistent with the Air Quality Management Plan for the South Coast Air Basin.

• Greenhouse Gas Emissions Impact GHG-1: Implementation of the proposed Rancho La Habra Specific Plan would result in a net increase in GHG emissions of 6,037.55 MTCO2e per year, which would exceed the SCAQMD’s screening threshold of 3,000 MTCO2e per year.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: Has the City approved the redevelopment on the Westridge golf course?

A: No. The City has received development applications from Lennar Homes (formerly CalAtlantic) for a proposal to redevelop the Westridge golf course property with 402 residential dwelling units, including 277 single-family homes and 125 multi-family residences, along with either 20,000 square feet of commercial development (e.g., specialty grocery, restaurant, or general retail uses) or an additional 46 multi-family dwelling units. Also proposed are open space areas that would include public parks and private recreational areas, a community center, small amphitheater, habitat conservation areas, passive recreational uses including trails, wildlife viewing, picnic areas and tot lots on the approximately 151-acre site.

A Draft Environmental Impact Report (Draft EIR) has been prepared for the project and the public comment period closed on May 11, 2018. The Planning Commission and City Council have not considered the project at a public hearing yet and thus, no decision has been made regarding the proposal.

Q. Who initiated the proposal to remove the golf course?

A: The proposed project was submitted to the City by homebuilder Standard Pacific. After the applications were submitted, Standard Pacific merged with another firm from the east coast and became CalAtlantic. CalAtlantic recently was acquired by Lennar Homes, is the current applicant.

Q: Did the City request Standard Pacific to submit a project proposal?

A: No.

Q: When was the project proposal submitted to the City?

A: A conceptual “bubble plan” was first presented to the then-Director of Community Development, Michael Haack in early 2013. Formal project applications were first submitted in October of 2015.

Q: Who prepared the Draft EIR and its technical studies, and who paid for them?

A: The current Draft EIR was prepared by independent and experienced environmental consultants (Metis Environmental Group) chosen by the City. The technical studies have been prepared by various consultants, some chosen directly by the City and others hired by the project applicant whose work is then peer-reviewed by the City. The project applicant is required to pay for all costs for the preparation of the Draft EIR so that public funds are not spent on the preparation of the document. 

Q: Does the Draft EIR make a recommendation on the project?

A: No. An EIR evaluates the environmental impacts of the project, discusses how the project might change the existing environment, how impacts might be avoided or mitigated, and presents alternatives to the project. An EIR is not a policy document and does not address whether the project is a good idea or a bad idea. 

Q: Has the City staff made a recommendation on the proposed project?

A: No. The staff is still in the process of reviewing the plans, documents, and environment impacts.

Q: Is the City Council required to approve the Westridge project?

A: No. The proposed project approvals are at the discretion of the City Council. 

Q: What happens to the Golf Course if the City Council does not approve the Westridge project?

A: The General Plan designation will remain Open Space. The Golf Course is privately owned property and the City does not control what happens to the ownership of the property.

Q: What are the next step in the process?

A: Since the public comment period on the Draft EIR ended on May 11, 2018, City staff and the City's environment consultant are reviewing the comments received on the Draft EIR and will prepare written responses to all the comments that were received. The Draft EIR, along with any revisions to the Draft EIR, the comments received, and the written responses to those comments, will form the Final EIR. Ultimately, the Final EIR will be presented to the Planning Commission at a Public Hearing. The Commission will review the documents, project plans, comments and public testimony and will formulate a recommendation to the City Council, which will also hold a Public Hearing.

Q: Who can I talk to if I want to give my opinions on the proposed development at Westridge?

A: You may submit comments you have regarding the project to the City’s Director of Community Development Andrew Ho at andrewh@lahabraca.org.

Community Meetings

1st Scoping Meeting – Imperial Middle School - November 17, 2015

2nd Scoping Meeting – Community Center – December 8, 2015

CEQA Workshop – Community Center – March 22, 2018

Public CEQA Workshop 

On Thursday, March 22, 2018 a public CEQA Workshop was held at the La Habra Community Center, Grand Ball Room at 101 West La Habra Boulevard, La Habra, CA 90631. 

A copy of the Rancho La Habra Draft EIR PowerPoint Presentation provided at the workshop is available - Presentation Workshop PowerPoint 3-22-18

The workshop was provided as an overview of the Draft Environmental Impact Report for the proposed Rancho La Habra Specific Plan.

On February 26, 2018, the City released the Draft Environmental Impact Report (EIR) (State Clearinghouse No. 2015111045) for the proposed Rancho La Habra Specific Plan project to replace the Westridge Golf Course. The EIR was completed in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Guidelines and reflects the independent judgement of the City.

The purpose of the workshop was to assist the public in understanding the layout and format of the EIR, to aid in the review of the document, and to explain how anyone can provide formal written comments on the Draft EIR. 

The law provides for a 45-day public comment period. The review period runs from February 26, 2018 through April 11, 2018. Please note: the comment period ended on May 11, 2018.

Please Note: The workshop was held to encourage community participation in the planning process and was not a legally noticed public hearing pursuant to Section 54954 of the California Government Code. No public testimony either in favor or in opposition to the Rancho La Habra Specific Plan was taken into consideration and a decision was not made regarding the project or the EIR.