Long-running talks over a federal purchase of the Bolsa Chica wetlands took a new turn Thursday with indications that no deal is expected this year. But both the landowner and U.S. officials suggested that talks will continue.
Koll Real Estate Group wants to build 3,300 homes around the Bolsa Chica wetlands area next to Huntington Beach. Though Koll would fund a $48-million wetlands restoration, the proposal is vehemently opposed by some environmentalists.
Under a separate plan, the federal government would buy the wetlands from Koll and restore them with mitigation funds from the ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach, while Koll would build 2,500 homes on a nearby mesa.
Koll and the U.S. Department of the Interior have been unable to agree on terms, and Koll announced Thursday that a sale agreement has expired "due to a number of unresolved contingencies under the agreement."
In Washington, Assistant Interior Secretary George T. Frampton issued a statement saying that, though sale funding is now available, some issues remain unresolved.
"We will continue to work with the state as a partner to structure an offer that ensures acquisition and restoration of the property," Frampton said.
The Koll and federal plans are slated for review by the California Coastal Commission in mid-January.