Two Tribes Endorse Newport Banning Ranch Project to California Coastal Commission

Tribes support clean up of this site.

Tribes support clean up of this site.

Published August 7, 2016

NEWPORT BEACH, CALIFORNIA – Two local Native American tribes have endorsed Newport Banning Ranch’s plans to clean, restore and open the industrial brownfield site and turn it into 80 percent open space with biking, hiking, educational programming and a concentrated housing and commercial development.

Representatives of the Gabrieleño Band of Mission Indians (Kizh Nation) and Tongva Ancestral Territorial Tribal Nation (TATTN) expressed their gratitude for the property owners’ outreach and gave their support to the Newport Banning Ranch proposal in two separate letters to the California Coastal Commissioners and staff.

The Kizh and Tongva tribes provided comments to the Coastal Commission related to their consultation with Newport Banning Ranch ownership and staff, as well as their recent survey of the site for historic purposes. Both tribes are indigenous to Southern California with evidence of historic claims to the Newport Banning Ranch project area.

“The [Newport Banning Ranch owners] folks have gone the extra mile and are respectfully taking all the important measures to ensure our needs are met to protect and preserve areas of this remaining site,” said Chairman Andy Salas– Kizh Nation. “If this project does not go through with this developer and the land conserved for perpetuity, who’s to say that the next land owner will have the same heart and respect as these folks.”

“The land there which I personally walked and inspected recently was historically documented to be heavily plowed by farmers and various areas had been excavated removing artifacts in the 1920s and 30’s by amateur artifact hunters. I can now verify that fact and it’s well documented in local historical records and TATTN has various reports and maps confirming it has most if not all been cleared out of any tribal artifacts,” wrote John Tommy Rosas, Tribal Administrator and Litigator for TATTN, to the California Coastal Commission.

“NBR, the land owners have done exceptional work to include us in an extraordinary manner, we really appreciate (them) for their professional and respectful attitudes and working with us in confirming the accuracy of our tribal cultural resources survey investigation on the Newport Banning Ranch,” Rosas added in his letter.

“The support of the Kizh and Tongva tribes is welcome news to us,” said Mike Mohler of Newport Banning Ranch. “We recognize the importance of the property for the Native American community. Our proposal will clean, restore and open the property while protecting and preserving important site areas.”

The 400-acre Newport Banning Ranch property has been an active oil field exploration and drilling site for the past 75 years. Newport Banning Ranch property owners have put forth a proposal to clean the oil field property, restore its wildlife habitat and establish permanent funding to the Newport Banning Land Trust to manage and protect more than 300 acres of the site as open space. The plan also calls for limited development on about 70 additional acres to support and pay for the clean-up, restoration and permanent protection of the 300-acres of open space. The California Coastal Commission will hear the proposal in early September.

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