Ray Marquez, vice chairman of the Tres Hermanos Conservation Authority (THCA), would like to see a Chino Hills horse rescue use 5 to 10 acres of the 2,500-acre Tres Hermanos ranch.
Chino Hills Councilman Marquez proposed the idea during Wednesday’s THCA meeting which was conducted by telephone.
THCA is made up of councilmembers of Chino Hills, Diamond Bar, and City of Industry that govern the ranch on both sides of Grand Avenue between Chino Hills and Diamond Bar.
Susan Peirce, founder of Red Bucket Equine Rescue located on English Road, presented a video about the rescue.
Mr. Marquez said he came up with the idea because Red Bucket needs more space for horses and the lone tenant who lives on Tres Hermanos has indicated she doesn’t feel safe and this might be a good way to bring more people on the property.
“I asked Susan if she was open to it and I’m asking to see what the board thinks of it,” he said.
Cory Moss, a City of Industry councilwoman and THCA board member, supported the idea, stating, “This is something we can do to help her rescue more horses. This is the kind of thing we should be doing on the property.”
Councilwoman Moss said it could be a partnership that benefits all parties. She encouraged board members to visit the rescue operation.
Gift of public funds?
Diamond Bar Councilwoman and THCA board member Nancy Lyons expressed concerns, stating, “Are they proposing to take a certain amount of Tres Hermanos? Is that what’s going on?”
Councilwoman Lyons said if Red Bucket wants rent-free land for its program, that would be considered a “gift of public funds.”
City of Industry City Manager Troy Helling, executive director of THCA, said there is no written proposal on the table.
There was also no staff report contained in the agenda.
City of Industry Councilman Newell Ruggles, THCA board member, asked, “Are they having a challenge with their current facility? Are they looking for a riding facility?”
Ms. Peirce said Red Bucket needs more space. “Because we are a no-kill shelter, we run out of room to work with the horses,” she said.
Melanie Schlotterbeck, conservation consultant for Hills for Everyone, the group that founded the Chino Hills State Park and advocated for decades to keep Tres Hermanos free from development, said she listened to the meeting and believes that a biological assessment must first be done on the land.
She said THCA has had two years to conduct an inventory of the natural resources on the land, which is a biological assessment to learn if there are sensitive, threatened, or endangered species or habitat before any kind of new use is permitted on the property.
“It has nothing to do with Red Bucket,” she said, “it has to do with any group that wants access to the land before finding out of there is a potential conflict with the natural resources.”
Ms. Schlotterbeck said she believes the project would not be exempt from the California Environmental Quality Act because of its potential impact on water quality and biological resources.
Councilman Marquez said the horses would not be roaming around the ranch as the cattle do but would be located away from sensitive areas like water and wildlife and in an area of 5 to 10 acres.
“It’s whatever we could do for them,” said Mr. Marquez. “They do a wonderful job. It’s good public relations for what we’re striving for.”
Councilwoman Moss said she had faith in the city managers and legal counsel that they could come up with something that would work for all parties.