Newport Banning Ranch LLC consists of Aera Energy — a subsidiary of Exxon Mobil Corp. — investment firm Cherokee Newport Beach and real estate developer Brooks Street.
Spokesman Adam Alberti said Thursday that it's too early to speculate what the partnership's next move might be.
The company had long billed its development project as a means to fund cleanup and restoration of the oil field."The result of the vote is continuation of walled and gated acres of California coast that's deeply in need of restoration," Alberti said.
"That being said, we remain committed to a clean, restored, open Banning Ranch and the vision that we've established."Commission staff had recommended approval of the Banning Ranch development only with conditions that would have reduced its footprint to about 19.7 acres that fall outside of areas identified as environmentally sensitive habitat, particularly for burrowing owls.
Opponents of the proposed development of Banning Ranch celebrate Wednesday night after the California Coastal Commission voted 9-1 to reject a plan for 895 homes, a hotel, a hostel and retail space on 62 acres of the 401-acre coastal expanse. Schaben | Los Angeles Times)Commission Vice Chairwoman Dayna Bochco also indicated Wednesday that the denial wouldn't kill Newport Banning Ranch's hope for a development on the land, which she said has been "battered, bruised and decimated" by oil operations for the past 70 years."We're here to say yes to things, but we're here to say yes to things that make sense," she said. "The developer has made it clear they do not accept staff's recommendation. We can't get just good enough on this one."Commissioner Roberto Uranga dissented in the vote, citing merits of the proposed project, including opening the site for public use and educational opportunities."There is a project; it's just not to the level that's acceptable to everyone," he said.