Yorba Linda Residents Dispute City’s Proposals to Meet State Housing Quotas

By John Fredricks
John Fredricks
John Fredricks
John Fredricks is a California-based journalist for The Epoch Times. His reportage and photojournalism features have been published in a variety of award-winning publications around the world.
July 29, 2022 Updated: July 31, 2022

YORBA LINDA, Calif.—As over two dozen people gathered within the chambers of the civic center, planning commissioners approved July 27 an environmental impact report for the city’s prospective locations for the state-mandated housing zones.

To meet California’s housing demand, the state mandates cities to rezone land for housing. Yorba Linda must make space for over 2,400 new housing units by 2029. The city does not need to construct the units, but only make space for them.

During the commission meeting, residents voiced concern on how additional units would interfere with an emergency evacuation during a fire, like the Blue Ridge fire in 2020 that tore through nearly 14,000 acres, much of which was in Yorba Linda.

Epoch Times Photo
A fire helicopter drops water on the Blueridge fire as it burns near homes in Chino Hiils, Calif., on Oct. 27, 2020. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)

“I read the environmental impact report and it says the project will definitely increase calls for service for the Orange County Sheriff’s Department and the Orange County Fire Authority,” Patrick Thrasher, a 29-year resident of Yorba Linda, said at the meeting. “Wildfires in the east end of the cities are a major issue. We fear anytime we see smoke in the sky there’s going to be another fire.”

City officials have appealed to bring down the number of mandated housing units in 2020 and 2021, but were denied.

After narrowing down select sites, city staff proposed over two dozen that would go toward the state’s requirement.

Epoch Times Photo
(Courtesy of the City of Yorba Linda)

Proposed areas of rezoning for state-mandated housing throughout the city range from church properties to vacant parcels of land connecting with neighborhoods and schools.

Some of these sites are in residential areas, where signs stating, “NO REZONING” and “NO HIGH DENSITY HOUSING” could be seen posted to fences along the sidewalks.

With the commission’s approval, the environmental impact report will move to the city council for consideration Aug. 2.

Epoch Times Photo
Signs hang in opposition to proposed locations city officials are considering to zone for housing in Yorba Linda, Calif., on July 27, 2022. (John Fredricks/The Epoch Times)
John Fredricks is a California-based journalist for The Epoch Times. His reportage and photojournalism features have been published in a variety of award-winning publications around the world.