In response to the September 3, 2019 OC Register article on Esperanza Hills, Hills For Everyone Executive Director Claire Schlotterbeck penned this Letter to the Editor:
The recent Op-Ed by the Register misrepresents concerns about the proposed Esperanza Hills project above Yorba Linda. It is all about wildfire risks. Our group founded Chino Hills State Park, 50% of the project site borders the Park’s permanent wildlands– escalating the fire risk to habitat and homes. The 2008 Freeway Complex Fire burned 95% of the Park and nearly 280 houses. Residents from existing neighborhoods barely escaped. Cars gridlocked the residential street only to be gridlocked on Yorba Linda Blvd. OCFA reported the fire moved 14 football fields a minute—how do you outrun that when traffic is at a standstill? Esperanza Hills doesn’t widen ANY roads. It is a death trap.
Fire science tells us that where fires have burned before—they will burn again. This site has burned three times in recent history. Further, our group is not carrying the weight or cost of this lawsuit, residents with Protect Our Homes and Hills are. The new project only has one access road for 340 units. That route has multiple grades, with multiple hair pin turns, and spans through a canyon that burned in under 10 minutes during the Freeway Fire. Make it safe, protect the Park, and we will go away.