The Irvine City Council is scheduled to vote tonight on the Irvine Business Complex vision plan, which would see the cap on residential units at the potential mixed-use development go from 9,000 to 15,000, with the potential to add another 2,000 because of the state’s housing density bonus law.
The vision plan has, in the past, come under scrutiny by Irvine Unified School District officials and the Orange County Airport Land Use Commission for potentially overcrowding Irvine schools and putting up buildings that could interfere with airplane flight paths.
The potential development also drew lawsuits from two of Irvine’s neighbors, Newport Beach and Tustin. The two cities feared overflow traffic from the development could impact streets in their cities.
At least some of those hurdles have been cleared. Newport Beach dropped its lawsuit after receiving a $3.6 million settlement, and the Airport Land Use Commission reversed earlier opposition after a reduction in the height of some buildings.
And Mayor Sukhee Kang said he would make an announcement tonight regarding the fight with Tustin.
Kang expressed optimism about tonight’s possible approval of the plan.
“Hopefully, this will set a significant milestone in developing a true mixed-use corridor in IBC,” Kang said.
Whether Irvine Unified School District leaders are still worried about an infusion of students is unclear. I’ve put in a call to the school district to find out.
Also on the agenda tonight are two ballot initiatives that Councilman Larry Agran proposed at the last council meeting.
The first would see the city provide continuing financial support to Irvine schools over the next three fiscal years. The commitment would include annual contributions of $500,000 to the Irvine Educational Partnership Fund and annual $1 million challenge grants to the Irvine Public Schools Foundation, according to a staff report.
The council will also vote on another ballot initiative Agran proposed called the Irvine Sustainable Community initiative. Essentially, the initiative would ask voters the following question: “Shall an ordinance be adopted by the city of Irvine to ratify and implement policies in support of renewable energy and environmental programs for a sustainable community?”
At the last council meeting, Councilman Steven Choi expressed suspicion of Agran’s motives for the initiatives, saying he would only support them if Agran didn’t use them as a vehicle to get himself re-elected in November.
He brought up the 2008 “Irvine Community News and Views” slate mailer and indicated that Agran might be setting the stage for another round of that kind of slate mail.
“To me, this is nothing but an attempt to use that measure as a vehicle to fund his campaign,” Choi said.
We’ll let you know what happens tonight.
— ADAM ELMAHREK