Clients & Projects

Since its inception, CAA Planning (CAA) has served as the planning department for development companies - the entitlements managers, and the strategic advisors.

We have represented the Hearst Corporation on their 70,000+ acre holding in San Luis Obispo County, Lennar on their Coto de Caza project, Soka University in both Aliso Viejo and Calabasas, Makar Properties on their St. Regis Hotel and resort in Dana Point and Pacific City in Huntington Beach. We currently represent The Irvine Company on a variety of projects including the Resort at Pelican Hill, and SunCal Companies in San Juan Capistrano. We also represent the Los Angeles Department of Beaches and Harbors, and the County of Ventura on a number of marina and marina-related redevelopment projects.

We work best when we represent a large client to whom we devote most of our attention. In this way, we have always adjusted our organizational structure to what best suits that client. The extensive experience level of almost all of our people allows us to become an instant and effective partner in an organization, as opposed to merely another consultant who adds to the burden of direction. We also manage all of our client's subconsultants if that is the client's desire. This allows the client to focus on what is truly important in the development company - the perpetuation of success.

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Pelican Hill Resort

CAA represented The Irvine Company for the land use entitlement (Coastal Development Permits) for the Pelican Hill Resort, a world-class destination resort which is now under construction in Newport Coast. Four Coastal Development Permits were approved by the County of Orange in 2003. The development approved under these Permits is designed to conform with the requirements of the Newport Coast Local Coastal Program Second Amendment dated December 1996. The Pelican Hill Resort includes four major components – the Pelican Hill Inn, Golf Club and Upper and Lower Villas. The Pelican Hill Inn is a two hundred and four unit bungalow-style hotel, a day spa, pool, restaurants and bars, conference and meeting areas, retail commercial and 525 space parking structure to support those uses. The Pelican Hill Golf Club is a 44,000 sq. ft. clubhouse facility which includes a restaurant, pro shop, driving range, locker rooms, golf cart storage, a golf cart bridge and a 315 space parking structure. The Upper Villas component of the resort consists of two- story “stacked flats”. The Lower Villas are one and two story buildings which resemble single family residential units. Both Villas products share a 10,000 sq. ft. recreation center and have full access to all resort amenities.

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MacArthur Place South, Environmental Impact Report, City of Santa Ana

CAA prepared the MacArthur Place EIR project, which was approved by the Santa Ana City Council in June 2005. The project consisted of three 25-story residential towers, 5-6 story condominiums, and a mix of commercial and retail uses. In all, there were 791 residential units, 10,000 square feet of office space, and approximately 13,800 square feet of commercial retail.

Our experience on this EIR for the City of Santa Ana highlighted key areas where our expertise played a pivotal role in adoption of the project by the City Council.  Santa Ana is not a consistency agency with respect to the John Wayne Airport (JWA) Airport Environs Land Use Plan (AELUP) managed by the Airport Land Use Commission (ALUC). Therefore, the process of project review for the MacArthur Place EIR was more complicated, in part because of the strong desire of ALUC that the City bring its General Plan into consistency before looking at an individual project. Special analysis and coordination of the results of project specific details by the FAA and by ALUC staff resulted in the ultimate finding of consistency for that project.  CAA’s strong and consistent coordination between City departments and these outside agencies was instrumental in the successful outcome of that process. In addition to the ALUC process, the early disclosure of potential impacts including traffic, parking, infrastructure capacity, shade and shadow, and even broadcast television interference on the surrounding community were issues that were successfully addressed in the EIR.

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760 Reservoir, City of San Juan Capistrano

Representing the City of San Juan Capistrano and the Capistrano Valley Water District, CAA rapidly resolved a series of resource agency and design issues for the City and the District for this critical emergency reservoir. In essence, CAA had to re-do much of the environmental work that had taken over a year with the former consultant. CAA applied for and received a Streambed Alteration Agreement from the California Department of Fish and Game, a Water Quality Certification from the California Regional Water Quality Control Board, Section 404 authorization from the United States Army Corps of Engineers, and Conditional Concurrence with the Special 4(d) Rule Interim Habitat Loss Mitigation Plan (IHLMP). These highly complex and potentially time-consuming authorizations were obtained for the City in less than six months. CAA was able to accomplish this because of our mitigation-conscious, cooperative attitude with the agencies, avoiding controversy and picking up time lost for the City. When the City was not able to complete its grading activities within the parameters of permit due to record rainfall in the winter of 2004-05, CAA was able to negotiate two extensions of time of the IHLMP with the California Department of Fish and Game and the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service. These critical extensions allowed the City to complete its grading activities and continue with tank construction, thus keeping the entire project on schedule.

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Boating and Instructional Safety Center (BISC) – Channel Islands Harbor

This is a highly controversial public project in an existing harbor. Among the issues are proximity to and effect on black crowned night herons (BCNH), snowy plovers, and least terns. Additionally, considerable controversy surrounded the siting of the project. In resolving the biological issues, among other things, CAA applied to the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service (USFWS) in advance of the publication of the Draft EIR for determination of the effect of the BISC. Because such a procedure exists in federal law, the USFWS responded within 30 days that there was “no take” of the listed species. Additionally, CAA commissioned Dr. Jeffrey Froke to survey the BCNH through an entire nesting season, working with the California Department of Fish and Game and the local Audubon Society. These findings resulted in a project change that earned widespread support, including from the Coastal Commission staff.

The siting issue involved whether a boating center could be located safely downwind in the strong winds of Channel Islands Harbor. Working with the Department of Boating and Waterways, CAA empanelled a series of experts to re-evaluate the facility. This evidence was compelling, and supported the Board’s final decision.

The project was approved by the Coastal Commission in March 2005.

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Tonner Hills Planned Community - Environmental Impact Report, County of Orange

The Project impacted 104 acres of coastal sage scrub occupied by endangered California Gnatcatchers, walnut woodland, and riparian habitat. A migitation plan was created, including revegetation of 188 acres of coastal sage scrub, and creation of walnut woodland and riparian habitat.

The mitigation plan included a phased program to enable the animals occupying impacted habitat and adjacent habitat to move to other areas of the property, to avoid displacement. Additionally, the project was redesigned at the insistence of CAA to avoid wildlife corridors entirely and maintain connectivity from one open space to another.

The mitigation plan included a phased grading program

The project site contained a culturally significant site. The project was redesigned at the suggestion of CAA to avoid the site entirely and preserve it in its historical condition.

The site was occupied by oil drilling activities prior to development. Site hazards included oil seeps, crude oil impacted soil, PCBs, VOCs, regulated metal contaminated soil, methane gas, gas, oil and utility lines, well blowouts, a natural gas plant, and a power generation turbine. At the suggestion of CAA, an experienced petroleum environmental consultant evaluated all phases of grading and project implementation, including completion of site closure reports, disposal of contaminated soil, and supervision of mass grading activities.

Of importance in drought-challenged Southern California was the identification by CAA of the fact that the project used less potable water than the oil field.

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Community School No. 1 Environmental Impact Report, Orange County Department of Education

CAA was brought onto the project team after the unsuccessful preparation of a Mitigated Negative Declaration. There was a great deal of community opposition to the project, and more than 20 letters were received on the Initial Study/Notice of Preparation (IS/NOP). The NOP comments were carefully reviewed by CAA, and all community concerns were addressed in the EIR. As a result, no comments were received from community members on the DEIR, or during the public hearing process. CAA is skilled at capturing the essence of community concerns and accurately disclosing and analyzing impacts.

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Arroyo Vista K-8 Conversion Supplemental EIR, Capistrano Unified School District

During the environmental planning process, the District encountered opposition from the local City government, Master Homeowners Association, and a private citizens group. CAA met separately with each group to assess individual concerns and identify the most effective response. Traffic was a major concern for the City, since they did not want any school traffic queuing on City streets. In response, CAA retained the services of a third party traffic engineer, and school specialist, to evaluate the on-site circulation system and develop corrective measures to effectively address school traffic. Project modifications were then incorporated, including staggered start and dismissal times for different grade levels. This solution greatly reduced the number of vehicles accessing the school site at one time. In addition, project design modifications were developed to more effectively utilize an existing bus drop off area, while remaining in compliance with State guidelines with respect to co-mingling of cars and school busses. The on-site re-design generated sufficient stacking capacity to accommodate all pick-up/drop-off traffic on-site and eliminate queuing on the adjacent roadway system, thoroughly satisfying the City’s concerns.

Both the Master Homeowners Association and the community group expressed concern over potential increased use of the adjacent joint-use local park. In particular, these groups were concerned that neighbors living closest to the site would be prevented from enjoying the park during school hours. CAA developed a project alternative that included a reduced schedule for the schools’ use of the park, from what was originally proposed, in order to minimize impacts on the community.

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Dana Point Headlands

The Dana Point Headlands is one of the most recognizable features in Orange County, with a long and troubled entitlement history. CAA was retained to shepherd this project through the Coastal Commission process. The project consisted of standard residential, oceanfront estates, a small hotel, and extensive park and habitat restoration projects. The project also proposed the reconstruction of a revetment along the beach, one of the most controversial topics in the coastal zone today.

CAA, working with the applicant’s team, negotiated the original position of the Coastal Commission staff in support of this project, with a reservation concerning the hotel. CAA argued a balancing approach. The Coastal Commission ultimately approved the project and it is being graded at present. The entire process took approximately 18 months.

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