ORANGE COUNTY, CALIFORNIA — Today, Orange Supervisor Katrina Foley released a statement in response to the California Coastal Commission’s Notice of Violation of the California Coastal Act regarding the privatization of public land in the Upper Newport Bay and the County’s response to the Grand Jury. This letter follows a comprehensive report by the Orange County Grand Jury that investigates the history of this property and the fence prohibiting the public from accessing public land.
“The Coastal Commission’s letter confirms that public land must remain for the public use — not private interests,” said Supervisor Foley. “At my first Board of Supervisors meeting in April 2021, the board considered the sale of public land for a mere $13,000. I immediately stopped the sale from moving forward in order to review the details and legalities. Then, more than 1,000 residents presented signatures opposing the sale and I removed the item.
“After the property owner sent a letter threatening litigation, the County refused to require him to take down his fence. I’ve consistently stood with the community in disagreement with this inaction, and I’m glad the Coastal Commission finally weighed in to confirm the unlawfulness of allowing his fence on public land.
“I look forward to the day when we see the fence removed and allow the community and wildlife to enjoy this beautiful land once again.”
The Coastal Commission’s letter concurs with the Grand Jury’s recommendation that the county require the property owner to remove his fence and concludes that the privatization of the Upper Newport Bay Ecological Preserve violates the Coastal Act. The parcel of land in Upper Newport Bay was declared to be for “public use and enjoyment” following the Irvine Company’s decision to give the property over to the County in 1990.
Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley was elected to the Board of Supervisors in 2021 to represent Costa Mesa, Cypress, Huntington Beach, La Palma, Los Alamitos, Newport Beach, Seal Beach, Stanton, the unincorporated area of Rossmoor, and portions of Buena Park and Fountain Valley. Following redistricting, the Board appointed her to additionally serve as caretaker for the future District 2, which includes the communities of Santa Ana and portions of Anaheim, Garden Grove, Orange, Tustin, and unincorporated North Tustin.
Supervisor Foley serves on the Airport Ad Hoc Committee & Fly Friendly working group, the Sober Living Home Ad Hoc Committee, and boards of the Orange County Transportation Authority, CalOptima, Juvenile Justice Coordinating Council, Law Library, Newport Bay & South Orange County Watershed Management Area Executive Committees & the Santa Ana River Flood Control Protection.