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Accomplishments

Our Accomplishments page proudly showcases the tireless efforts and unwavering dedication of our volunteers, staff, and consultants. From our earliest days in 1999 to the present, we have stood firm against numerous development proposals, taking decisive action through litigation and challenging critical decisions to safeguard the land once known as Banning Ranch.

This page is a testament to our journey and achievements, highlighting the significant milestones and victories along the way. Join us as we reflect on our enduring commitment and the impactful strides we’ve made in preserving this cherished landscape.

1999 
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In response to home builder Taylor Woodrow’s proposal to build 1,750 homes on Banning Ranch, the Sierra Club Santa Ana River Estuary and Bluffs Task Force was formed, dedicated to the “creation of an open space and wildlife preserve/public wilderness park on the entire Banning Ranch.” Within a couple of years, the name was changed to the Sierra Club Banning Ranch Park and Preserve Task Force.
2000 
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A draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) is prepared, but not released, for the 1,750-home Taylor Woodrow project proposal. Taylor Woodrow eventually pulls out of the project.

2005 
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Cherokee Investment Partners,  of Raleigh, North Carolina, bought out Rancho Santiago Partnership to become, along with Aera Energy LLC, (then a wholly owned subsidiary of Shell-ExxonMobil) the major owners of Banning Ranch. Along with Newport Beach-based developer Brooks Street, together the companies form Newport Banning Ranch LLC (NBR) to seek development entitlements on Banning Ranch.

2006 
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Newport Beach undergoes a General Plan Update, which a) prioritizes the preservation of Banning Ranch as open space, and b) limits any project proposal on Banning Ranch to 1,375 homes.

Shortly afterward, NBR announced a 1,375-home project proposal.

2008 
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The Banning Ranch Conservancy (BRC), a 501(c)3 non-profit corporation, is formed with a mission to “preserve, acquire, conserve and manage the entire Banning Ranch as a permanent public open space, park, and coastal nature preserve.”

Going forward, BRC, the Sierra Club’s Banning Ranch Task Force, and other environmental organizations work together to save Banning Ranch from development.

NBR submits to the City of Newport Beach its proposed development plan for Banning Ranch: 1,375 homes, a resort hotel complex, and 75,000 square feet of commercial space.

2012 
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The Newport Beach City Council certifies the EIR for the 1,375-home NBR proposal. BRC filed a lawsuit challenging this approval based on the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and General Plan law.

2013-15 
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NBR submits its application to the California Coastal Commission (CCC), and receives multiple Notices of Incomplete Application (NOIAs) before the Commission finally deems its Coastal Development Permit (CDP) application complete.

BRC wins its CEQA case before the Orange County Superior Court in Banning Ranch Conservancy v. City of Newport Beach.

2014 
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The City of Newport Beach appeals the Superior Court’s ruling.
2015 
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The California Court of Appeals (Fourth District, Division Three) rules in favor of the City of Newport Beach.

In March, a Settlement Agreement was reached with NBR that stops the excessive mowing and allows for restoration of affected areas.

At the October 7th CCC hearing on the proposed project, NBR reduced the project to 1,175 homes. A huge turnout of Banning Ranch advocates and supporting organizations attend the hearing. The CCC staff, due to significant impacts to Environmentally Sensitive Habitat Area (ESHA), recommend denial of the permit. The hearing was postponed and Commissioners directed staff to work with NBR to reduce the project to make it consistent with the Coastal Act

2016 
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The CCC, on a 10-1 vote, denied the CDP for NBR’s now 895-home (reduced from a 1,375-home) project proposal. The denial was based on several Coastal Act inconsistencies, including extensive negative impacts on ESHA on the site. The Coastal Commission staff had recommended approval with several conditions, including a reduced development footprint.

Following the loss at the Appellate Court, the BRC petitions the California State Supreme Court. The Court agrees to hear the case.

2017 
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BRC’s lawsuit challenging Newport Beach City Council’s 2012 approval of DEIR was heard by the California State Supreme Court, resulting in a unanimous 7-0 decision that vacates the DEIR approval. The court’s decision, based on Newport Beach’s inadequate consideration of Coastal Act protections, sets a precedent. In March, the California Supreme Court rules in favor of BRC in Banning Ranch Conservancy vs. City of Newport Beach, requiring the city to vacate its 2012 project approval. All future environmental reviews in any coastal jurisdiction, including for Banning Ranch, must now consider impacts to ESHA.

2019 
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NBR begins discussion with The Trust for Public Land (TPL) for the potential sale of Banning Ranch for preservation purposes. These talks shift into high gear with Frank and Joann Randall, of Newport Beach, pledging $50 million towards the purchase price.

2021 
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As negotiations between NBR and TPL continue, and additional acquisition funds are identified, the Mountains Recreation and Conservation Authority (MRCA), a local Joint Powers Authority (JPA) agrees to be the future titleholder of the property.

2022 
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On December 16th escrow closes and the property becomes known as the Frank and Joan Randall Preserve/Genga [Tribal Name to Be Determined]. An oil field remediation process, expected to last for three years, and required to clean up the oil field to park standards, is initiated.

2023 
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MRCA oversees the beginning of the park planning process, which includes multiple plans for the property.

2024 
A map of the Randall Preserve.A map of the Randall Preserve.

On January 17th, BRC becomes the Coastal Corridor Alliance with a new mission and vision accommodating a larger geography and purpose.

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