The Harmony housing project is not dead.
Mayor Larry McCallon said last week, “The landowner and developer will address all the issues” raised by Judge Donald Alvarez in his July 5 ruling.
“They will resubmit the plans sometime in the future,” he said.
In a letter supporting the Highland City Council’s Aug. 8 action to repeal the land entitlements approved two years ago and cancel the referendum scheduled on the Nov. 6 ballot, Orange County real estate executive James Campbell said, “The county remains committed to the Harmony project and has enjoyed a tremendous working relationship with the city, staff, council and the community of Highland.
“We look forward to continuing that effort, complying with the law and moving the Harmony project toward final approvals.
“Orange County will work with the city to amend the Harmony EIR and specific plan in compliance with the court opinion,” he said.
Campbell said a second bridge across Mill Creek to Highway 38 is not a condition of approval for Harmony nor required mitigation for the project. However, Orange County will work cooperatively to address this standalone project in compliance with California Environmental Quality Act.
McCallon said the bridge was added to the circulation element of the city’s general plan long before the Harmony project was proposed, but it is not yet needed. The circulation element was last updated in 2006.
Judge Alvarez granted a writ of mandate (a court order to a government) on the new bridge at Fish Hatchery Road or Newport Avenue, citing comments by the public works director and the community development director that it was needed. However, the Final Environmental Impact Report said the bridge “is not required or proposed as part of the Harmony Specific Plan from any perspective.”
Fish Hatchery Road is an isolated dirt road off Newport Avenue east of Garnet Street and north of Highway 38.
It could lead to a new bridge across Mill Creek in the future.
About a mile east of Garnet, Newport Avenue veers uphill and Fish Hatchery Road continues winding through the scrub brush, peppered with “no trespassing” signs and scattered houses. It looks like it would take years before that bridge is needed.
Three bridges along Greenspot Road and the twisting route to Mentone have been rebuilt within the last few years. The iconic Old Iron Bridge is no longer open to vehicles. It is part of a quarter mile of Class I bikeway and a resting spot for hikers.
The $13.5 million Jennifer Brooks Memorial Bridge that replaced the Old Iron Bridge — named for a deputy district attorney and Yucaipa resident killed in a car crash in 2005 — was honored as the National Project of the Year in 2016 by the American Public Works Association.
The $4.1 million Garnet Street bridge across Mill Creek that leads to the Greenspot Market opened in April.