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The City of Chino has reached a settlement agreement with HRB Properties and the Richland Real Estate Fund  in the amount of $1.8 million for 2.5 acres of road dedication and 5 acres of easements to widen the south side of Pine Avenue.

The council on Tuesday voted to appropriate the funds to finalize the agreement that would widen the road from Chino Corona Road to approximately 300 feet west of Meadowhouse Avenue in The Preserve.

The city filed an eminent domain lawsuit in December 2018 against the owners of  a dairy at 16500 Chino Corona Road after negotiations to acquire land along the front of their property broke down. 

The dairy, north of Pine Avenue and east of Euclid Avenue near the California Institution for Women, has been in the Barthelemy family for more than 70 years. 

It was formerly known as H & R Dairy.

According to a staff report, after the city filed the lawsuit, Richland Real Estate Fund closed escrow on the property. 

From that point on, the city began mediation efforts with Richland until a settlement agreement was reached. 

City Manager Matt Ballantyne told the council that Pine Avenue is a major east-west corridor through The Preserve that will ultimately be improved to six lanes, three lanes in each direction. 

He said the agreement was for the south side only.

“The only remaining portion we need to acquire is on the north side of Pine,” Mr. Ballantyne said. 

Named in the lawsuit was H. Barthelemy, Cecile Barthelemy, Roland Barthelemy, Constantino Deniz, Mary Deniz, Henry Vander Laan, and Ann Vander Laan.  

According to Champion articles from 2018, the City of Chino offered to purchase the easement on the dairy for $348,000. 

Lewis Operating Corp., master developer of The Preserve, plans to build 600 housing units in a development attached to the Harvest neighborhood in The Preserve Specific Plan, according to a city staff report. 

One of the requirements made by the city was for Lewis to widen Pine from Chino Corona Road to 300 feet west of Meadowhouse Avenue. 

Lewis attempted to reach an offer with HRB Properties but was unsuccessful and asked the city for assistance in acquiring the easements, according to the staff report. 

Councilman Marc Lucio said it’s going to be a lot of work for staff and the police department to close Pine at the beginning of next year “but one lane isn’t working so I’m excited we’re moving forward,” he said.

Mayor Eunice Ulloa said the agreement gives the city the ultimate right of way on the south side of Pine.

“We’re absolutely glad to have the full dedication,” she said. 

“Richland didn’t want to give the full dedication which was ridiculous because we would have needed it anyway,” she said. “Why go back twice, right?” 

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