The Irvine City Council put off discussions and decisions on its three heftiest agenda items during its February 14th meeting, but still managed to approve measures to finally begin clearing derelict buildings and structures from the Great Park “ARDA” site that will be home to the Veterans Memorial Park. The Council also voted to jump-start the City’s delayed Climate Action Plan.
After four hours of public comments regarding the contentious amphitheater, district elections and the Orange County Power Authority (OCPA), Councilmember Mike Carroll requested that votes on the amphitheater and district elections be postponed until the next regular Council meeting, which is scheduled for February 28th. The OCPA matter was also postponed.
Most of the public comments centered around the proposed amphitheater in the Great Park. A large contingent of Live Nation officials, union leaders, members of the music industry, and out-of-town music fans spoke in support of the current plan for a 14,000-seat outdoor venue, which is about the size of the Hollywood Bowl.
Meanwhile, a number of Irvine residents from the Great Park Neighborhoods and other villages spoke in favor of a proposed alternative plan for a venue of 6,000-8,000 seats, which would be comparable to the Greek Theatre in Los Angeles’ Griffith Park. Residents cited noise and traffic issues at the current temporary amphitheater operated by Live Nation.
During public comments, long-time Irvine resident Alan Meyerson asked that those in the audience who supported the larger venue and also lived in Irvine raise their hands. “I thought so,” he said, as just a few hands went up.
While the Councilmembers decided to postpone a vote on the amphitheater, they did take action on the City’s long-delayed Climate Action Plan. At the urging of Councilmember Kathleen Treseder, the Council voted 4-0 to adopt a timeline for the completion of the Climate Action Plan. The timeline includes hard dates for the completion of benchmark steps, with final adoption targeted for mid-2024. The plan will include policies and regulations to move the City toward net-zero carbon emissions by 2030.
The Council also unanimously approved a demolition plan for the long-promised Veterans Memorial Park & Gardens. It will now go to bid with work on the site slated to begin in May. After the meeting, Councilmember Larry Agran said: “The promise our City made to veterans and their families a decade ago appears to finally be moving forward.”
Agran added: “Although it shouldn’t have taken a ballot initiative, two signature-gathering efforts, and contentious Council discussions to implement the will of the people, I am optimistic that cleaning up the ARDA site and preserving historic features from the former Marine Corps Air Station will lead us to our long-promised Veterans Memorial Park. That’s something that will become a source of pride for our entire City.”
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