Hearthside and property owner Signal Landmark had sued the
commission and Amigos de Bolsa Chica in separate filings.
The suit against the environmental group alleged that its members
had breeched a 1989 agreement by voicing opposition to the project at
a 2000 coastal commission hearing.
In a Monday letter to supporters, Amigos President Linda Moon said
the group "gave up nothing in the settlement, except the right to
recover our fees and costs from Signal."
Superior Court Judge Sheridan Reed tentatively ruled on Nov. 21
that the commission had acted properly in November 2000 when it
recommended that development on the mesa should be limited to only 65
The suit against the commission alleged that the limit placed on
the development damaged the financial value of the project by
encroaching the developer's private property rights.
Reed also cleared out a commission recommendation to set aside the
lower mesa as a foraging area for raptors.
Hearthside is now mulling whether to move forward with a plan to
develop the lower mesa, said Lucy Dunn, Hearthside's executive vice
The developer submitted an application to the coastal commission
in mid-November to build homes on the upper mesa.
Local environmentalists who have pushed to keep the mesa free from
housing are still hoping to use state grant money to buy the mesa and
set it aside as a nature preserve. That funding would come from
Proposition 50, passed by voters Nov. 5.
"Everyone hopes that with Proposition 50 [funding], the land will
be acquired," said Shirley Dettloff, a former councilwoman and
coastal commissioner. "There will have to be a cooperative effort."
At this point, Dunn said Hearthside has not decided to sell its
prime, coastal property.
"The community thinks they're going to buy it," Dunn said. "But,
to date, no one has ever made an offer to purchase the property."
Oak View Community Center changing hands
Following a decision to slash funding for the Oak View Community
Center, city officials are now finalizing a deal with a nonprofit
group to run the center.