The City Council is expected to repeal plans to increase the number of homes proposed for a housing project on the city's east side after a citizens group launched a petition drive that threatens to force the issue onto the November ballot.
Council members will decide tonight whether to rescind their Oct. 22 vote to increase from 60 to 115 the number of homes to be built on nearly 1,300 acres just north of the Via Lomas de Yorba loop. The project, just south of Chino Hills State Park, would be the final phase of the Bryant Ranch development of AW Associates of Irvine.
During November, Aware Concerned Citizens Organized for Responsible Development (ACCORD), a group based in nearby Hidden Hills, collected signatures protesting the increase, arguing that the greater number of homes would make traffic worse and overcrowd a neighborhood elementary school. The group argued that the city should stick to original plans to divide the property into 60 lots of at least 5 acres each. The rest of the tract would remain hillside open space.
ACCORD collected 3,399 signatures, and the county registrar of voters projects that 3,059 of those are valid. The group needs 2,781 valid signatures to force the council to reconsider the matter.
In 1987, the council repealed plans to build a 40-acre auto mall along La Palma Avenue after the same group collected enough signatures to force an election.
Council members are expected to repeal their decision on the higher number of homes tonight.
"I don't think anyone wants to do that; there's no need to," Councilman Gene Wisner said of forcing an election. Wisner, along with Councilmen John M. Gullixson and Henry W. Wedaa, voted for the increase. "We'll just rescind the ordinance. I can't see any problem with (doing) that at all."
AW Associates officials have said that even with the higher number, the area would retain its rural character. They also said that the expensive homes could raise the land values of neighboring tracts.
Should the council repeal its decision, the developer can go forward with plans to build 60 homes and then return to the council for reconsideration of the 115-home plan after one year.
The developer changed its plans for the site several times before the October vote. In June, council members rejected a proposal to build a gated community of 119 homes on the site.