FivePoint Seeks Approval of New Great Park Tract Map
Building on City Council’s approval in January 2016 of subdivision map 17940,* FivePoint is currently asking for approval of a new subdivision map for part of this area. This is known as subdivision map 18165. City approval of 18165 would give FivePoint certain development entitlements in a portion of the Great Park.
Irvine is divided into various Planning Areas. The Great Park is Planning Area 51, and Planning Area 51 is further divided into districts. Subdivision map 18165 deals with development in Planning Area 51, District 5 and part of District 6.
The borders of subdivision map 18165 are Irvine boulevard to the north, Chinon to the west, Aster and Marine Way to the south, Lynx and the Wildlife Corridor to the east. Also, Portola High School is adjacent to the northern border, and the interim amphitheater is in District 6.
If FivePoint is granted approval of subdivision map 18165, FivePoint would be entitled to develop the following in District 5 and part of District 6 of the Great Park:
- 1780 homes–1513 residential condominiums, 124 single-family detached, 143 affordable family apartment homes
- 44,600 SF multi-use in District 5-North
- six private parks
- K8 school (students will be going to either IUSD or SVUSD depending on where they live in this area)
In addition, the project density will be 10.3 dwelling units per acre.
On October 10, Irvine’s Subdivision Committee reviewed subdivision map 18165. The Subdivision Committee is the City’s technical review committee that has the authority to approve parcel maps and on approval recommend that the Planning Commission also approve the tentative tract maps. Irvine’s Subdivision Committee includes City staff from the Building and Safety, Community Services, Development Engineering, Transportation Review, and Planning Services departments. Approval of subdivision map 18165 and its related development entitlements now rests with the Planning Commission, which will take up the matter at its October 18th meeting.
A good way forward?
FivePoint currently has entitlement to build 9,500 homes in the Great Park.** The City Council has already approved plans for 5,596 of these 9,500 homes as well as given approval for some commercial, park, and school development. If the City Council approves subdivision map 18165, that will bring approved residential home development in the Great Park to 7,376 homes, which is still below Five Points’ entitlement of 9,500 homes.
So how can these homes be built in a way that will provide a good quality of life for future residents as well as Irvine’s current residents? How can the traffic increase be kept to a minimum? And since a safe city must also be a healthy city, how can pollution and the resulting health problems be kept to a minimum? Does the proposed layout for the new development help residents get to the places they will need to by means other than cars? This characteristic will be essential for keeping traffic and pollution down–and current residents happy.
The City staff report covers these issues and concludes these issues are adequately addressed. But are they? Or is an approach to development bolder than the status quo approach needed in Irvine? Or put another way: When it comes to its approach to development, does the City of Innovation need to take another step on the ladder of innovation–something that is more than tweaks to traffic lights and widening roads? And one final question I don’t think the staff report answers: Will these new homes cost so much that those currently working in Irvine cannot afford them?
As time permits, I will write about these things in future posts. In the meantime, what is your opinion?
* On December 17, 2015, the Planning Commission voted 4-1 to approve subdivision map 17940. Commissioners Barlett, Duong, Smith, and Kuo voted in favor; Gaido opposed. With the opinion that not enough scrutiny was given before approving subdivision map 1784, Councilmember Krom appealed the Planning Commission’s decision. The appeal was held during a January 2016 city council meeting with the result of a 4-1 vote upholding the Planning Commission’s approval. Lalloway, Schott, Shea, and Choi voted to uphold the Planning Commission approval; Krom opposed.
** At the end of the all-night, packed, and contentious city council meeting of November 26, 2013, the City Council entitled FivePoint to develop a total of 9,500 Great Park residential units. This vote gave FivePoint the entitlement to build approximately twice as many homes as it had previously been entitled to build in the Great Park. In return, Five Points committed to paying for certain features in the public portion of the Great Park. The vote was 3-2. Choi, Shea, Lalloway voting Yes. Agran and Krom voting No.
Convinced that a good deal was being offered, Mayor Choi and Councilmember Shea gave enthusiastic support for FivePoint’s proposal. Councilmember Lalloway was in favor but had concerns that the the City was giving up too much. Lalloway asked and got some concessions from FivePoint. Convinced that too much was being given away to FivePoint even with the concessions given on Lalloway’s prompting, Councilmembers Agran and Krom strongly opposed.