A Look at HANS: Habitat Acquisition and Negotiation Strategy
Through the Western Riverside County Multiple Species Habitat Conservation Plan, the RCA is continuing its goal to preserve a half-million acres of habitat for 146 protected species in western Riverside County. The Habitat Acquisition and Negotiation Strategy is the process the cities, the county, and the RCA uses to determine if properties are needed for the MSHCP reserve system.
The private property owner may initiate a request to the city or county (known as the permittee) to evaluate his or her property for the reserve or may initiate this through submittal of a development application to the city or county. The permittee then analyzes the property and determines if all, a portion, or none of the property is needed to help complete the 500,000-acre conservation area. Once the permittee makes its determination, it sends its findings to the RCA, which works jointly with wildlife agencies to complete the evaluation process. If all or a portion of the property is needed, the RCA and the property owner begin negotiations to buy the land.
The HANS process occurs only on privately owned lands that are within “criteria cells” that are roughly 160 acres each, across a checkerboard pattern in parts of the MSHCP area. Single-family homes and mobile homes on single lots are exempt from this process, unless the owner approaches the permittee as a willing seller or wants to process it through HANS outside of a development application. Road projects and other public projects also are exempt from the HANS process.