Housing overkill

24788-Shell-Aera map.gif

The map shows the proposed Shell-Aera land, between Rowland Heights and La Habra Heights. The energy giant wants to build 3,600 homes plus commercial here.

I got a call from Whittier City Councilman Bob Henderson, who also is involved with the Puente Hills Landfill Native Habitat Preservation Authority and another group, a kind of joint powers group made up of the cities of Whittier, La Habra, La Habra Heights and Brea. The latter group has about $500,000 in seed money it hopes to use to purchase the acreage owned by Shell-Aera. They want to buy the hillside land and keep it preserved, as is.

Aera, a partnership of Shell Oil and Exxon-Mobil, has plans to build 3,600 homes plus commercial developments on the land. The project as configured was rejected a few years back by a county planning agency for violating the sensitive nature of the environmental corridor it is in.

Henderson, who knows a lot about preserving lands, says the oil company giants’ project calls for chopping off almost all the ridgelines and filling in the canyons with the dirt. The total dirt moved would equal more than 63 million cubic yards of dirt. To get an idea of how much dirt that is, the building of the Panama Canal took 100 million cubic yards of dirt.

This kind of environmental machete to sensitive hillsides overlooking Rowland Heights is simply not done. Even Diamond Bar, he said, has rejected the project as it is configured.

But the bigger question is, with homes sitting empty in the foothills of Azusa (Rosedale) and plenty of foreclosed homes not selling, do we really need 3,600 more homes? When will someone declare a housing glut? When Exxon-Mobil’s profits reach another hundred billion?

One final thought. If Walnut and Diamond Bar residents are worried about traffic from Ed Roski’s proposed NFL stadium, what would be the combined effect of building it and Shell-Exxon’s massive housing project just a few miles down the freeway? Gridlock times two?

It may be time to sell to the preservationists.

This entry was posted in environment, land use, Pasadena by Steve Scauzillo. Bookmark the permalink.

About Steve Scauzillo

I love journalism. I've been working in journalism for 32 years. I love communicating and now, that includes writing about environment, transportation and the foothill/Puente Hills communities of Hacienda Heights, Rowland Heights, Walnut and Diamond Bar. I write a couple of columns, one on fridays in Opinion and the other, The Green Way, in the main news section. Send me ideas for stories. Or comments. I was opinion page editor for 12 years so I enjoy a good opinion now and then.

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