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--the California "Mega-Park" Project

Tracking measurable success on efforts across California to preserve and connect our Parks & Wildlife Corridors

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Monday, March 9, 2009

They're Finally Starting to Talk about a Price for Orange County's Last Unprotected Coastal Wetland...

From the Sierra Club Banning Ranch Task Force: As you may know, the city of Newport Beach recently completed an informal appraisal of Banning Ranch as part of an investigation as to whether the purchase of the entire property for preservation as open space is feasible. Note that Newport Beach has no plans itself to purchase this property, but would be willing to assist in the purchase by an outside public or private organization.

The result of this informal appraisal for the 412 acre Banning Ranch is a value of about 200 million, or with a 25% discount promised by the owners, about 150 million. This obviously is a lot of money, and it seems unlikely that the owners of Banning Ranch could actually sell Banning Ranch for that much should they put it on the market. Remember that this is a contaminated oil field (albeit one with an ocean view) with many hurdles to development including being critical habitat for the gnatcatcher and many other issues.
to read the report, see Meetings 2009. click on January 27, then go to the staff
report for Banning Ranch. (Link may not work.)



The owners of Banning Ranch are AERA Energy, LLC. (Exxon and Shell Oil) The owners are proposing to build 1375 homes, a shopping center and a resort on the site. Such massive development would result in the loss of open space and endangered species habitat, as well as resulting in the degradation of the adjacent wetlands which are already protected by current laws.

The Sierra Club's Banning Ranch Park and Preserve Task Force (link) is working to arrange a purchase of the entire area at a price agreeable to both the owners and public. Banning Ranch would then be able to join the previously described adjacent open spaces to create a "Greater Orange Coast River Park" which would encompass over 1200 acres.

the developer's website:

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