A round of public hearings on the Irvine’s General Plan scheduled for this week may provide the next forum for objections to the City Council majority’s decision to continue unbridled warehouse development in the City’s mixed-use areas.
These two public hearings will be instrumental in guiding the City’s development for the next two decades. The meetings will focus on the land use and transportation elements of the General Plan.
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.
Currently, warehouses can be built with only a technical review by the City to ensure compliance with building codes.
Councilman Larry Agran’s proposed zoning ordinance — recommended by the City’s Planning Commission — would require a conditional use permit (CUP) for any warehouse project larger than 100,000 square feet, or for a truck depot or logistical center of any size. The CUP process allows the City to assess a project’s truck traffic and other environmental impacts, and its overall compatibility with neighboring uses. This is a key point as tens of thousands of Irvine residents now live in the IBC and Spectrum areas of town.
Speaking in support of his proposal, Councilmember Agran said: “The Irvine Business Complex is about much more than business and commerce. It now includes a burgeoning and thriving residential community, with more than 20,000 people. Warehouses without strict controls to protect Irvine residents are simply incompatible with our quality-of-life values. We need to control and manage development carefully in our planned City.”
Planning Commissioner MaryAnn Gaido agrees with Agran, saying: “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.”
Gaido also noted that previous community hearings have identified the residents’ desire that new affordable housing mandates from the state be met by new residential developments, mostly in the IBC and Spectrum, rather than by infill into Irvine’s already-developed village communities. That may become impossible if new warehouses eat up space in IBC and Spectrum, she said.
This week’s first hearing will be held on Wednesday (May 24th) at 6pm via Zoom. Registration is required by clicking here.
The second meeting will be held in-person on Thursday (May 25th) at 6pm at the Los Olivos Community Center (101 Alfonso). No registration is required.
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