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Author: Roger Bloom

It’s Official: Construction of the Veterans Memorial Park & Gardens on the ARDA Site at the Great Park Has Begun!

After more than a decade of developer schemes, political battles, and ballot measures, the work of transforming the Great Park’s 125-acre “ARDA” site on the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station (MCAS) began in earnest on Tuesday, May 23rd. At the sound of an air horn at 10:50am, demolition of abandoned military base buildings got underway at the future site of the Veterans Memorial Park & Gardens.

The moment was a culmination for Councilmember Larry Agran and many of the 250 people who gathered on the site for the groundbreaking ceremony. Present were veterans of not only our nation’s military, but also of the political battles and initiative campaigns that first overturned a County plan to put an international airport at the former base and then successfully locked-in the Veterans Memorial Park & Gardens as part of the Great Park.

Councilmember Mike Carroll — who also serves as Chair of the Great Park Board of Directors — paid tribute to the “intense grassroots campaign to block the creation of an international airport” and called the day “an important milestone” in the development of a truly Great Park “driven entirely by the community.”

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Huntington Beach City Council Votes to Pull the Plug on OCPA

The ongoing saga at the Orange County Power Authority (OCPA) may have reached a decisive turning point. On May 16th, the Huntington Beach City Council voted to withdraw from the embattled four-city agency.

The Huntington Beach representative on the OCPA board supported the move, calling the agency “a total disaster and doomed for failure.”

Meanwhile, Irvine City Councilmembers Larry Agran and Mike Carroll have placed an item on the May 23rd City Council agenda to discuss Irvine’s continued involvement with OCPA.

Since rejoining the City Council in late 2020, Agran has called out OCPA for its corruption, broken promises, and price-gouging of Irvine electricity ratepayers.

Last December Councilman Agran introduced a motion for Irvine to give OCPA a notice of withdrawal from the agency, effective July 1, 2023. However, Mayor Farrah Khan and Councilmembers Tammy Kim and Kathleen Treseder refused to support Agran’s motion.

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Khan, Kim & Carroll Reject Controls on Massive Warehouses

There are currently four large warehouse projects under construction in Irvine. And, there are another six warehouse projects — ranging from 48,000 square feet to 650,000 square feet — going through the City’s planning and permit process.

To help protect nearby residents, Councilmember Larry Agran brought forward an ordinance that would amend the City’s zoning code to limit warehouse hours of operation and the amount of noise or truck traffic it generates.

Mayor Khan and Councilmembers Kim and Carroll voted against Agran’s proposed ordinance, while Councilmember Treseder supported it.

After the vote, Councilman Agran said: “So where does this leave us? We have an out-of-date zoning ordinance, and absolutely no controls in place for the massive warehouses being approved by this Council. Three of my Council colleagues don’t seem to understand the concept of a master planned community.”

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This Week’s Public Hearings Will Allow Irvine Residents to Speak Out Against Uncontrolled Warehouse Development

This week’s two public hearings will be instrumental in guiding the City’s development for the next two decades.

Many residents were shocked when Mayor Farrah Khan and Councilmembers Tammy Kim and Mike Carroll recently voted against a proposed zoning ordinance to rein-in a surge of warehouse construction projects in the Irvine Business Complex (IBC) and Spectrum areas.

Councilmember Larry Agran proposed an ordinance, recommended by the Planning Commission, that would protect residents by amending the City’s zoning code to limit warehouse hours of operation and the amount of noise or truck traffic it generates.

Planning Commissioner MaryAnn Gaido said: “Residents of the IBC and Spectrum deserve the same protections of master planning enjoyed by the rest of Irvine’s residents. Putting a massive warehouse next to a residential development is clearly wrong, but that’s exactly what we’re looking at if we don’t implement any control measures.”

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Council Approves Landmark Deal for City to Acquire Asphalt Plant & Restore the Site to Its Original State

On Tuesday (April 11th), the Irvine City Council gave final approval of a massive land deal for the City to acquire and remove the All American Asphalt (AAA) plant in north Irvine. The 12-acre asphalt plant and hundreds of acres surrounding it will become part of a 700-acre open space preserve that has been dubbed the “Gateway Preserve.”

The asphalt plant has been the subject of swirling controversy for years as its noxious odors and chemical emissions affected nearby residents, who organized and demanded City action. Under the agreement, the City will acquire the plant for $285 million and close it down later this year.

The key to the deal is the Irvine Company’s dedication to the City of 475 acres of land surrounding the plant. The dedication includes 80 acres that the City will entitle for residential use consistent with the City’s Master Plan. The proceeds from the sale of the 80 acres to residential developers — estimated to generate around $300 million — will cover the cost of acquiring and dismantling the asphalt plant, as well as the establishment of the Gateway Preserve. Accordingly, the deal will not cost Irvine taxpayers anything.

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Extra $$$ Paid to OCPA by Irvine Households Since October 2022

Extra $$$ Paid to OCPA for Electricity by the City (Irvine Taxpayers) Since April 2022



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