Great Park Board and City Council Agenda Highlights for June 27, 2023
The wheels of government will start to turn early this week with a meeting of the Great Park Board at 2:00 pm, and a Special Meeting of the Irvine City Council starting at 3:00 pm. The only items on the agenda for the Great Park Board are a presentation reviewing the details of the Great Park Library Project, and a request by Vice Chairman Larry Agran to extend the period of time covered in the Walkable Historic Timeline and enhance it with interactive technology. The Special Meeting includes a single item to authorize staff to begin public outreach efforts and finalization of the Climate Action and Adaptation Plan.
Contention over the controversial Orange County Power Authority will again feature from the dais at the June 27, 2023, regular meeting of the Irvine City Council (starting at 4:00 pm). Councilmember Kathleen Treseder and Vice Mayor Tammy Kim will field what is apparently a proposal designed to protest the council’s interference in their ability to act independently as Irvine’s representation on the OCPA Board. Also on the agenda are two hearings, revisiting Treseder’s proposal to discourage the use of gas-powered gardening equipment, and a proposal by Kim to eliminate the Great Park Board.
And during the closed session, the City Council will meet with labor negotiators representing City Manager Oliver Chi and will meet with property negotiators regarding the property at 8000 Great Park Blvd.
Agenda Item 5.1: First Reading of a Zoning Ordinance (Public Hearing)
Brought forward by staff in a Request for City Council Action, this ordinance is described as a collection of technical updates to Municipal Code and the Zoning Ordinance, including “procedures for public convenience or necessity determinations, correction of procedures to establish sexually oriented businesses, clarifications to noticing procedures for wireless communication facility permits, update to solar energy system standards, modification of wall and fence standards, [and the] removal of equestrian trail requirements for a new section of Hicks Canyon Trail,” among others.
Agenda Item 5.2: First Reading of an Ordinance Regarding a New Director of Project Delivery & Sustainability Office (Public Hearing)
This ordinance would establish the Office of the Director of Project Delivery & Sustainability (PD&S), subsequent to an appointment to that position made by City Manager Oliver Chi on April 10th, 2023, to “oversee the Capital Improvement Program, the implementation of Active Transportation Program Efforts, the delivery of a globally relevant Great Park,” and perform other duties.
Agenda Item 6.1: First Reading of an Ordinance Pertaining to Contracting and Procurement Procedures
Also brought forward by staff in a Request for City Council Action, this ordinance applies to contracting and procurement procedures in answer to direction from the City Council that they be updated.
Agenda Item 6.2: Discussion of Programs to Reduce the Use of Gas-Powered Lawn Equipment
Returning to the agenda this week is Treseder’s effort to reduce the use of gas-powered gardening equipment. Toward this end, she proposes using rebates, an incentive and exchange program, requiring electric equipment for the city’s landscaping maintenance, and outreach to those who commit noise violations using lawn equipment. At the last meeting, she primarily emphasized noise pollution. Her memo this week also emphasizes greenhouse gas emissions.
For background, see the June 7, 2021, Irvine Watchdog article “Green Ribbon Committee To Staff: Draft New Gas-Powered Lawn Equipment Ordinance.”
Agenda Item 6.3: Discussion of Dissolving the Great Park Board
Citing organizational redundancy, the expense to the taxpayer, and its function as “an outlet for added controversy and confusion,” Kim is proposing that the Great Park Board be dissolved. This would also require the dissolution of the Orange County Great Park Corporation. Originally a nine-member body consisting of the Irvine City Council as ex officio members and four additional at-large members, the Great Park Board is a vestige of a time when the Great Park was called the Orange County Great Park, having been conceived as an amenity for the entire county when the Orange County electorate voted to approve the park instead of constructing an international airport on the site.
Agenda Item 6.4: Promoting Transparency and Informed Council Decision-Making Regarding OCPA
Treseder and Kim propose that the City Council watch the recorded sessions of the 6/21/2023 and 6/16/2023 OCPA Board meetings during the June 27, 2023, City Council meeting in order for the City Council to have a “comprehensive understanding of the work conducted at the Orange County Power Authority’s Board Meetings” as a basis for its decisions with respect to the agency. The run-times for the OCPA meetings in question are 1:38:39 and 6:02:41, respectively – so nearly eight hours of video combined.
In the memo agendizing this item, Treseder and Kim take issue with the council’s decision to attempt to coerce how they will vote in July over the continuation of the weighted vote provision of the Joint Powers Agreement for OCPA – a decision made in a 3-2 vote during the June 13th, 2023, City Council meeting that would subject Treseder and Kim to removal from the OCPA board should they vote to remove the provision (Treseder and Kim voted against).
That provision allows “any board member the ability to call for a ‘weighted vote,’ where each board member’s vote is counted based on the amount of electricity OCPA provides to their city.” Though this would currently favor Irvine in such a vote, Treseder points out that it can only be invoked under limited circumstances, requires that another city second the movement for a weighted vote, and that in any scenario in which Irvine might desire that advantage, every other city’s representation would already be opposed to Irvine, and thus unavailable to second the motion.
How To Participate
As always, members of the public may comment on these and all other agenda items via email, e-comment, and/or live public comment in person or via Zoom. Instructions for public comments are here.