New ARDA Site Land Lease Agreements Hidden From Public View
City Council Supplemental Agenda Consent Items
Agenda Consent items are voted on by City Council members without public presentation or discussion unless ”pulled out” by a Council member or member of the public by means of a public comment or e-Comment. When “pulled out”, agenda items are not presented to the public.
City Council members may offer comments or discuss the agenda item, but consent items are rarely discussed when “pulled out” by members of the public. At times, issues of public interest and concern are placed on meeting consent calendars to avoid public transparency and public participation in the decision-making process.
The Irvine City Council has placed the following two items (Agenda Items 2.9 and 2.10) on the Consent Calendar that appear to be intended to delay the construction of the Veteran’s Cemetery in defiance of the expressed will of 19,700 Irvine citizens who signed the initiative petition, without giving the public an opportunity to hear a public presentation or discussion from our Council members. These items may also have an adverse impact on public transportation.
Background: Irvine City Council Adopts Terms of the Citizens’ Initiative to Construct the Veterans’ Cemetery on the ARDA Site
On May 12, 2020, the City Council voted to adopt the Citizen’s Ballot initiative which restricted land uses of the ARDDA site to uses consistent with the Veterans’ Cemetery. Since that date, City Attorney Jeffery Melching stated during a City Council Meeting that the land use restrictions did not apply as long as the ARDA site was city property and thus, the land use restrictions only applied to the property after the ownership of the property is transferred to another entity. According to Mr. Melching’s reasoning, the land leases on the ARDA site would not violate the terms of the ballot initiative adopted by the City Council. This, of course, was not the understanding and intent of the Irvine voters who signed the petition to put the initiative on the ballot.
Agenda Consent Item 2.9: Auto Community Center Lease to Allow Vehicle Storage on City Property
The County of Orange terminated land leases for vehicle storage with Auto Center Community Association (Association) the membership of which consists of multiple auto dealers. The Association is seeking temporary land leases for vehicle storage until permanent locations are found. The term of the proposed short term land lease agreements will be 3 years. The proposed sites are:
- 13 acres on the ARDA site
- Station East at the Irvine Train Station, plus 55 parking spaces adjacent to the site
- Station Structure at the Irvine Train Station, including 416 parking spaces at the top level of parking structure.
The Station East and Station Structure combined total approximately 7 acres.
Station East expansion located at the Irvine Train Station at 15215 Barranca Parkway, plus an additional fifty-five (55) spaces located adjacent to such lot (collectively, the “Station East Portion of Premises”).
Station Structure including 416 parking spaces at the top level of the parking structure located at the Irvine Train Station (the “Station Structure Portion of Premises”). The proposed land lease agreements would provide the city with a $295,920 annual income. The staff report did not say what accommodations would be made for the Transportation Center passenger parking. Leasing the Transportation Center property will thus have an adverse impact on public transportation at a time when increased public transportation should be promoted.
Agenda Consent Item 2.10: Lease Agreements for the Amended and Restated Development Agreement of Northern Transfer Site (ARDA)
Link to Staff Report for Agenda Item 2.10Three tree service companies that had their lease terminated by the County of Orange are seeking temporary land leases until they can find permanent locations. The proposed short term land lease agreement with tree service companies are for the lease of 27 acres on the ARDA site which will be used for storage of tree trimming trucks, cargo containers, portable offices and personal vehicles. The leases will have 2 year terms with a one 1 year extension. The proposed lease agreement will provide the city with annual revenue of $141,000 per acre.
Irvine City Council Meeting information and links: