Planning Commission Decision Being Appealed By Neighboring Business Owners

A decision of the Planning Commission is being appealed by a property owner located next to the proposed project and a group called Supporters’ Alliance for Environmental Responsibility. The appeal will be heard before the City Council on Tuesday, July 14, 2020. The City Council can affirm, deny, modify, or send it back to the Planning and Traffic Commissions for further consideration.

Gemdale USA, a Pasadena-based real estate investor, has proposed building a 275,000 square foot office complex with a seven-level parking structure and accessory retail at 2400 Barranca Parkway (the project). The site is in the Irvine Business Complex (IBC) near single and two-story light industrial buildings and in close proximity to The District, a large outdoor shopping center.

On March 5, 2020, the Planning Commission voted 4-1 to approve the project, and to increase the applicant’s “vehicle trip count” allocation. Commissioners J. Pierson (Carroll), D. Nirschl (Fox), C. Knowland (Kuo), and S. Huang (Khan) voted in favor and G. Smith (Shea) voted no.

Many speakers during the two hour Planning Commission public hearing expressed opposition. Concerns raised included compatibility due to the proposed multi-story development being positioned next to existing smaller scale buildings, the significant increase in traffic and its impact on the surrounding vehicular circulation system, and the adequacy of the accompanying Environmental Impact Report (EIR).

In order to develop the project for this much density, the applicant had to transfer vehicle trip counts from another parcel in the IBC that was not using their development intensity. The Planning Commission approved the transfer. The trip budget for the project increased from 72 AM peak-hour, 75 PM peak-hour, and 758 daily trips to 358 AM peak-hour, 380 PM peak-hour, and 3,787 daily trips. This is a 500% increase of average daily trips.

The site is currently occupied by a single story, 69,780 square-foot office and industrial building. If the Council affirms the decision of the Planning Commission, the site structure will increase in square footage by 400% to a total of 275,000 square feet. Access to the project site will be provided via two right-in, right-out (RIRO) driveways off of Barranca Parkway to the north and two full-access driveways off of Gates Avenue to the south.

The IBC is a regional employment job hub and was designed to handle more traffic volume than other areas in Irvine. A comprehensive IBC Traffic Study is required by the city every two years to identify traffic improvements needed for the ongoing development in the IBC. Are the traffic mitigation measures for this project adequate given the amount of development intensity that was approved?

Residents can give feedback on this item by submitting a public e-Comment on agenda item 3.1.

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