Taxation Without Representation: Great Park Residents Want a Seat At The Table

At the April 26, 2022 Great Park Board meeting, four Irvine residents who formed the “Great Park Residents Council” spoke on the need for representation.

Residents in the neighborhoods of Altair, Pavilion Park, Beacon Park, Cadence Park, Parasol Park, Novel Park, Solis Park, Rise, and all future neighborhoods located within the Great Park Neighborhoods pay a special tax that is the highest in all of Orange County, CFD 2013-3 Special Tax.

The CFD 2013-3 Special Tax does not sunset and is adjusted up 2% annually for 40 years. According to the staff report from July 2021, “there is no realistic way to terminate the perpetual term of the Special Tax prior to the repayment of all bonds.”

Public Comments

Great Park resident Daniel Chao spoke on taxation without representation.

“I’m all for Fivepoint building out homes and making a profit doing so. I think they are well designed and I’m happy with the overall aesthetics of the neighborhood… I just think the Council needs to balance the residential build along with the retail commercial sector that is needed to support the build. Where’s the accountability of the developer to make sure that the needs of the residents are also being met as well?”

“If Fivepoint won’t give us a timeline or accountability or communication and updates, then it’s time to give the badly needed retail to the Irvine Company or another developer that can.”

“None of the Council actually live here. My neighbors and I are the only ones who are paying for the Great Park with our taxes and there seems to be no end to that Special Tax. And yet do we have somebody in our neighborhood on Council?”

“I’ve seen measures pushed through without our neighborhood voice such as the logo or the FivePoint X plan and this basically seems to be taxation without representation. I remember another point in our nation’s history where there was also taxation without representation and we should all be grateful in how that turned out.”

“My suggestion is to add to the Great Park Board from the neighborhood. In the past there were 9 seats on the Board. Why not return to that with some seats from the residents who actually are being taxed for it… With no voice on the Council this is simply taxation without representation and unacceptable. We need to have our district representation on the Great Park Board and dare I say also the City Council.”

Altair resident Naveed Siddiqui spoke on creating a proper structure moving forward with residents as the main stakeholders.

“I’m here because we have formed the Great Park Residents Council. And the key purpose for us is to make sure that at the Great Park Board, residents are finally represented and any exchange of information, any decisions, any advisement that needs to come to the planning and framework of the Great Park involves the residents.”

“We are the most significant economic and financial stakeholders at the Great Park. That CFD is the highest rate in Orange County, and we pay it. And we don’t get the benefits, the exclusivity, or a say in what will happen in the framework and the development of the Great Park. The focus for us is not to pay attention to the past anymore. This is not about political issues. This is not putting any members of the Council in a negative limelight. This is not even about the developer anymore for us. It’s about moving forward. A structure that will allow us moving forward to have a say, because there is disappointment.”

“We need to create a structure… where we are allowed a seat on the Board to work with the administrative groups here, the executives, that will execute a plan for the Great Park.”

“For us, the residents, we are vested in this financially. The value of our properties, our homes, the value that we want to create for the community and neighborhoods is long term because the CFD imposed on us is in perpetuity. We are going to pay that forever. We need that engagement with this city, and the Board, a direct engagement as a proper structure so we can move forward and put the past behind us.”

“It’s time we looked at the framework transparently, exchanged it, so all these issues and suggestions that are being brought up can go through a proper structure where the residents also know, and that there is involvement. That’s critical.”

Great Park resident Camiar Ohadi asks that the Great Park Board allow 15 minutes of speaking time at all upcoming Great Park Board meetings.

“Let’s be clear on the ask… At the very minimum, we’d like to have 15-20 minutes of dedicated time at these Great Park Board meetings going forward. And we’d like to get the response and support of the Chairwoman and all these Directors, and if you could get help from the City Attorney, City Manager, even the Chief of Police that would be great. We would like to stop the taxation without representation. We’d like to have that seat at the table… To have focused input to educate you on the desires of our community and then to take the education back to the community.”

Great Park resident Kendra Chao speaks on Great Park citizen representation in the decision making process.

“We have people in this room who are volunteering their time to make Irvine what we think it can be. And the way to do this is not siloed from us but with us. I implore you to act on Great Park resident representation that invites us to speak into and help decide what our community should look like. Great Park representation should come from those who live in and pay for these plans. These voices carry weight today and will continue to build into tomorrow.”

How Will The Great Park Board Respond? 

After public comments, Chairwoman Khan stated that she wanted to set up a meeting with the Great Park Residents Council. Director Mike Carroll asked to be included as well.

Next Meeting: May 24, 2022

Great Park Board Meetings take place on the 4th Tuesday of the month at 2 PM. Tune into the next Great Park Board meeting on May 24, 2022. For information on how to attend, see the agenda, or submit a public comment, go the city’s website here.