Coastal Commission investigates Brightwater developer’s incomplete habitat restoration effort

State authorities are investigating whether a developer that built a 349-home community near the Bolsa Chica wetlands overlooked its mandate to fully restore some area habitat.

According to Andrew Willis, an enforcement supervisor for the California Coastal Commission, the agency is probing whether the Mission Viejo-based Woodbridge Pacific Group failed to adequately improve the 37-acre habitat as part of a 2005 approval to build the Brightwater community at 17371 Bristol Lane.

Woodbridge could not be reached on Friday for comment.

The investigation comes amid complaints from residents who say the company hasn’t made an effort to support area wildlife, particularly the burrowing owl, said Willis.

Residents also say the arterial network of white irrigation pipes Woodbridge installed for its restoration work completed thus far are a visual blight, Willis said. The pipes are particularly evident due to the lack of vegetation that the company was supposed to plant there, he added.

The apparent lack of progress on the restoration is “an ongoing issue with the entire neighborhood,” resident Karry Shimizu said.

Irrigation pipes installed by the luxury home builder are an eyesore to residents.
(Ben Brazil/Daily Pilot)

Constantino Salios, whose home overlooks the parcel, said he notices the pipes but tries not to dwell on them.

But, he added, “If it’s something the developer committed to do, then they need to do it.”

Willis said that although the investigation is expected to last a few more weeks, the commission has already determined Woodbridge’s non-compliance and has requested various actions, including that the company plant and weed this fall.

Woodbridge could face fines following the investigation, Willis said.