I believe that after many years the time has come to proceed with a plan to recycle Banning Ranch. The current state of Banning Ranch is not acceptable. It needs to be rehabilitated environmentally after the many years of oil well operations and the public should finally be provided access to it.
We have found that the property will cost a significant of amount money to acquire and rehabilitate and that those who would like to preserve the property in its entirety as open space have consistently come up short of funds to do so. I would counsel that the city call on all parties interested in a conservancy approach to the Banning Ranch property show the funding to do so now.
However, if they cannot present the funding mechanisms to acquire the land at a value that is consistent with fair market value then I believe that we should authorize the other plan on the table. This plan provides for a full 70% of Banning Ranch to remain open space and accessible to the public. The remaining 30% of Banning Ranch would be thoughtfully and respectfully developed to harmonize with the west Newport community. Additionally, the developers have committed to rehabilitating the open space and supporting its sustainability for the future.