A Pasadena developer pointed a finger at what he said was a deceitful engineer and an inexperienced project manager in his firm for the inability to build 11 houses in Carbon Canyon on the north side of Pinnacle Road next to the Carriage Hills development.
Everbright International, LLC operations manager Tristan Wang told the Chino Hills Planning Commission Tuesday that his company has made drastic staff changes and will establish a joint venture with Infinity Realty Advisors to have a “greater chance at completing the project.”
The 6.6-acre development was approved by the Chino Hills City Council in 2011 during the economic downturn and received a three-year extension in 2016.
The two- and three-story homes will range from 4,122 square feet to 4,867 square feet on lots ranging from 10,110 square feet to 15,548 square feet.
After expressing concerns about the project’s viability and listening to two residents speak about traffic safety for drivers on Pinnacle Road, the Planning Commission shaved one year off a three-year extension requested by Everbright.
“It troubles me that three years ago you were all ready to go with a number of challenges to overcome and these are the same challenges you have today,” said Commissioner Mike Stover.
“What assurance can you give us that two years down the road we won’t get another letter, or you ran out of time, or you sold it to somebody,” Mr. Stover said. “There are some credibility issues involved in the representation of the company.”
Mr. Wang stated in a letter to the City of Chino Hills, contained in the staff report, that he took over the project from the previous manager who did not have the skill set or experience working with a government entity and was “unable to learn and adapt to the U.S. laws and systems.”
Mr. Wang also stated in the letter that the previous civil engineer intentionally submitted erroneous plans to the city so that he could resubmit plans and charge a high fee for every submission.
Mr. Wang said the engineer delayed the project for his own financial gain because it was easy to deceive the inexperienced project manager.
Both the engineer and project manager were terminated, he said in the letter.
“I personally bring many years of real estate experience to the table,” Mr. Wang stated in the letter. “I have worked in real estate since 2013 and this year successfully completed a 30-unit apartment project in Pasadena.”
He said he is employed at Hengmao USA, the parent holding company for Everbright.
Planning Commission Chairwoman Sheran Voigt said she wasn’t convinced that a homeowners’ association with only 11 members could handle the maintenance of private roads. “I don’t want the city to take over because the homeowners’ association fails,” she said.
Pinnacle Road resident Brad Goldman said Mr. Wang failed to explain at the meeting what part Infinity would play in the property’s development or how it would help move the project forward.
He said the proposed entrance to the cul-de-sac from Pinnacle Road will create a death trap. He said the corner will be at a blind curve with vehicles turning onto Pinnacle, which is a steep, narrow curving street.
Mr. Goldman said the access will require removing numerous trees and destroying the country feel of Pinnacle.
Of the 365 trees, 172 will be removed, including oaks and black walnut. The developer is required to plant 251 replacement trees.
Neighbor Theresa Santos also raised concerns about traffic safety at the project’s entrance on Pinnacle.
Mr. Goldman said the Planning Commission rubber stamped the project and should have sent it back to engineering, public works, and the fire district for further review.
Commissioner Stover said he felt sorry for the public who came to express their concerns because the assistant city attorney allowed only a very narrow focus for granting the extension.
Mr. Stover said when the building plans are submitted, they will be thoroughly reviewed by the city’s engineering department and the fire department.