The City of Irvine is finalizing an historic land deal to acquire and shut down the All American Asphalt plant in north Irvine — incorporating the site into a 700-acre Gateway Preserve that will provide access to the 20,000-acre north Irvine Open Space Preserve.
The asphalt plant has been the source of swirling controversy for years as its noxious odors and toxic emissions have affected thousands of residents throughout north Irvine.
During the February 28th City Council meeting, City Manager Oliver Chi — followed by Councilmembers Larry Agran and Mike Carroll — announced that the asphalt plant will be shut down later this year. Chi stated that the land transaction agreements are expected to go to the City Council at the end of March for final approval, followed by a five-month escrow period. (Agran and Carroll, both lawyers, helped guide the complex negotiations.)
Councilmember Agran said, “I am pleased that my Council colleagues finally heard the voices of the community and stepped up to protect Irvine citizens.”
The key to the deal is the Irvine Company land transfer — transferring to the City of Irvine 475 acres surrounding the asphalt plant. The transfer includes 80 acres that the City will zone for residential use consistent with the Master Plan for north Irvine. The land will then be sold to developers to pay for the cost of acquiring the asphalt plant property, dismantling the plant, and cleaning up the land in order to establish the Gateway Preserve.
The 700-acre Gateway Preserve will include an extension of the Jeffrey Open Space Trail to the north Irvine Open Space, which includes a system of hiking and biking trails; native habitat restoration areas; two parks featuring interpretive displays; native gardens and other amenities.
Carroll called the result “unbelievable, unthinkable a few months ago. We are on track to not only close the plant but also replace it with something grand.”
The Agran-Carroll subcommittee operated with “the full support of the entire Council,” said Agran, who thanked his Council colleagues, City staff, the Irvine Company and All American Asphalt for working together.
Agran concluded his remarks by saying: “I especially want to thank the Irvine residents who, as citizen activists, were determined to make a difference. They deserve our gratitude. They urged us to go faster, to do more. And, in the end, that’s what we did.”
More information on the Gateway Preserve concept plan is available on the City’s website by clicking here.
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