On Tuesday, April 20, Highland Planning Commission approved a one-year extension for the tentative tract and parcel maps for the 137-unit Blossom Trails housing development to be built in East Highlands Ranch southwest of the Greenspot Road and Church Street intersection.
The 25.36-acre vacant property is the last to be developed for the 800-acre, 2,488-home East Highlands Ranch built, in phases, since the 1980s. It will include 23 acres of residential development and 2.36 acres of open space.
The residential development was first submitted to the city in 2005 and approved in 2006 but was delayed, due to the Great Recession and the finding of four endangered San Bernardino kangaroo rats on the property.
In order to adapt to the economic downturn, shifts in the residential market and the presence of kangaroo rats, an amended tract and parcel map was submitted to and approved by the city in 2017. The new tract map changed the development from 306 multi-family units to 137 single-family homes and set aside a 90-foot wide easement on the southern edge of the property to remain undeveloped.
The easement, which contains a waterline, cannot be developed due to kangaroo rat mitigation measures and may serve as a relocation site for rats trapped on the rest of the property prior to construction. Sunland Communities, the property owner, is applying for an incidental take permit for the K-rat, without which construction cannot commence. Sunland expects to obtain the permit within the one-year extension period.
The developer will also be required to construct a barrier between the residential development and the undeveloped property meant to protect the rats’ habitat from residents and house cats.
The amendments approved on Tuesday related to engineering and procedural changes that arose since the plan’s last approval in 2017. Since the amendments added no new negative environmental effects, no additional environmental action was required.
This one-year extension is the last extension available to the project.