Foothills Sentry - December 2023

NEWS INSIDE A Monthly Community Newspaper DECEMBER 2023 Letters Page 4 Canyon Beat Page 5 Service Directory Pages 11-13 Classifieds Page 13 Prof. Directory Page 13 Community Sports Page 14-16 The Best News In Town Since 1969 FOLLOW US at Foothills Sentry WELCOME WAGON A family with history hopes to make a 1950 Ford with history a roadside greeter in Silverado Canyon. See Tony’s Truck, page 6 DASH AWAY ALL Annual Tustin schools’ fundraiser brings out riders, runners, rompers and ramblers of all ages. See Dino Dash, page 8 RENEWED LEASE ON LIFE Historic schoolhouse, once at the forefront of desegregation, will soon be home to leading-edge research. See Past, page 3 WHEELS OF FORTUNE Winner of new car in OUPSF raffle takes the driver’s seat. See Winner, page 3 ESPRIT D’ CORPS JROTC cadets celebrate, with ceremony, the birthday of the U.S. Marines. See Orange High, page 7 See "Racquet Club" continued on page 2 See "Revised Housing" continued on page 2 Residents challenge developer’s right to build condos on Racquet Club site By Tina Richards North Tustin residents, op- posed to a multi-unit develop- ment on the site of the Tustin Hills Racquet Club, have filed two lawsuits in response to the county’s approval of the project. One, filed by residents Kirk and Nancy Watilo against Ranch Hills Partners, claims the developer is in breach of a covenant between the Racquet Club and homeown- ers in tract 3883, in place for more than 50 years. The covenant runs with the land and says that the club prop- erty will always be a racquet club or, if housing were to be built it would “conform to the uses per- mitted in tract 3883.” That tract is single-family homes on one- half acre lots. Ranch Hills Part- ners plans to put 37 units on 5.88 acres. Loss of local control? The second, filed by the Foot- hills Community Association against the County of Orange, challenges the county’s interpre- tation of SB300, the state’s Hous- ing Accountability Act (HAA). The act provides that “a local ap- proving authority may not require a zone change where the project is consistent with objective gen- eral plan standards and criteria but the zoning for the project site is inconsistent with the general plan. In such a case, the project shall be reviewed using standards and criteria that are consistent with the project’s General Plan designation.” In approving the project, the Board of Supervisors accepted that while the property is zoned Orange submits its revised Housing Element to the state – again By Tina Richards The Orange City Council ad- opted an updated state-mandated Housing Element, a document that defines the city’s policies and development accommoda- tions for housing, Oct. 30. It was the third time the council adopted the housing element, anticipating certification by the Department of Housing and Community Devel- opment (HCD). Jurisdictions are required to update their housing needs, plans for housing at all income levels and official policies for the pro- duction of housing every eight years. This cycle, a follow-on to the 2014-2021 plan, covers 2021- 29. The state tells every jurisdic- tion how many housing units it must plan for over that time pe- riod. Orange’s Regional Hous- ing Needs Allocation (RHNA) is 3,936. The state auditor’s office chal- lenged the RHNA numbers as- signed by HCD, claiming they were likely too high and not based on measurable data. HCD, however, held fast to its assess- ment and Orange has been work- ing on compliance and state cer- tification of its Housing Element since 2021. Stacking the deck Having a certified housing ele- ment is important.Atheory buried in the state Housing Affordability Act suggests that if a jurisdiction does not have a certified housing element, developers can build whatever they want, wherever they want, as long as the project contains 20% affordable hous- ing. Orange has, since February, received several applications for housing projects using that theory as an admittance ticket. The city submitted its first Housing Element draft to HCD in July 2021. The agency replied with an 11-page list of shortcom- ings, ranging from enforcement and outreach to analysis of exist- ing housing stock, to details on available building sites and regu- latory relief for builders. A sec- ond draft, addressing those issues was submitted for review and the city was notified by HCD that it “substantially complied with state law.” The council adopted that version in February 2022 and returned it to the agency for cer- tification. HCD replied to that draft with a seven-page list of additional is- sues that the city was bound to address. The agency demanded further discussion and analysis of ADUs, disadvantaged popula- tions, development processes and measurable policy outcomes. Moving the goal posts A third draft was submitted in November 2022 and amended in January 2023. In a Jan. 27 letter, HCD reported that the “revised draft element meets statutory re- quirements. The housing element will comply with state housing element law when it is adopted, submitted to and approved by HCD.” The council adopted it in Feb- ruary 2023 and sent it back to the state for certification. Meanwhile, several pro-hous- ing organizations wrote letters to HCD, challenging some of the sites listed for potential de- velopment in Orange’s housing plan. The letters noted that some nonvacant properties could not OUSD Board notified of recall The Orange Unified School District Board of Trustees re- ceived official notice, Nov. 16, that signatures gathered to recall two board members had been cer- tified by the Registrar of Voters (RoV). The notice was emailed to the district, Oct. 20, for presentation to the board at its next meeting. The district received two cer- tificates verifying the signatures collected to recall Rick Ledesma and Madison Miner. The corre- spondence included two pages of random sampling verification of the signatures. The board must set a date for the recall election within 14 days of the official notice. It did not select a date at that meeting, ac- cepting the registrar’s notice as a “receive and file.” The board can either call a special meeting to set a date or do nothing, which al- lows the RoV to call the election. With the California Primary already slated for March 5, it is likely (based on RoV correspon- dence) that the Registrar will fold the recall vote into that election. If, instead, a special election is called with the recall the only is- sue on the ballot, the district will bear the cost of approximately $1 million. Recall proponents are hop- ing it will be March 5. Judging from the number of California Policy Center T-shirts seen in the boardroom, the organization that seeded Miner's and Ledesma's campaigns has already begun its anti-recall efforts. Veterans, from le , Bill String eld, Ken Craner and John Schutz, members of American Legion Post 132, were celebrated for their service at the Orange Depot Park Veterans Day Tribute, Nov. 11. See Veterans, page 11. North Tustin residents were briefed on two lawsuits led to defend the community's zoning at a neighborhood meeting, Nov. 5. Photo by Tony Richards Photo by Tony Richards