Cultural Terrace District Getting Its First Attraction – Wild Rivers Waterpark

The 260-acre Great Park Cultural Terrace District is getting its first permanent attraction – a water themed amusement park. On April 28, 2020, the City Council approved the Cultural Terrace location for the Wild Rivers waterpark. The closest homes to the proposed waterpark will be approximately 2,200 feet east of the project site in the Great Park Neighborhoods’ Rise community.

The 20-acre waterpark campus will be constructed and operated by the applicant, Wild Rivers Waterpark Irvine LLC.  The City will build an adjacent 15 acre City-owned parking lot that will be funded by the City’s capital improvement program. The use of the parking lot is included in the waterpark lease. In the waterparks off season the parking lot will service other Great Park functions. The estimated cost to the City to construct the visitor parking lot is $11,700,000 but it hasn’t gone out to bid yet. Under the lease terms approved by the City Council in April 2020 the City will receive 4.5% of the waterpark’s annual gross revenue with a minimum payment of $550,000 per year.

The project is scheduled to go before the Transportation and Planning Commissions next week to complete the planning and approval process. City Hall is still closed to the public but residents can participate by submitting an electronic e-comment form. The comments will be read aloud during the meeting.

Traffic Commission Meeting, Tuesday, 11/17 at 5:30 pm

The Traffic Commission will determine if the traffic evaluation prepared for the waterpark is consistent with the City’s General Plan standards and traffic performance criteria. As part of the review the commission will look at ingress and egress plans, vehicle trip generation counts for this type of land use, and accommodations for bicycle stalls and bus pickup and drop-of zones. To read the traffic evaluation click here.

According to a City staff report, “It is anticipated that there will be approximately 4,350 daily visitors during the summer season from mid-May to mid- September when the waterpark is operational, and the proposed adjacent 1,232-space parking lot will be utilized by park patrons.” The applicant is entitled to host special events outside of the four month operational season with City approval.

Planned access to the project is from three driveways: a driveway on Skyhawk, opposite an existing Sports Park parking lot driveway; and two driveways on an access road that extends from Great Park Boulevard. A waterpark access road will be constructed by the City as the east leg of the Great Park Boulevard and Skyhawk roundabout intersection to provide access to the project site. Parking attendants will direct onsite traffic entering and exiting the parking lot, to minimize any adverse effects to the adjacent public streets. This is the link to the e-Comment form for this agenda item.

Planning Commission Meeting, Thursday, 11/19 at 5:30 pm

The waterpark is in compliance with the Irvine General Plan and Great Park zoning. The Planning Commissioners will be reviewing and approving the master plan. The City staff report states at build-out, the waterpark would have 12 attractions including in-ground slides, pools, and thrill slides. The waterpark will also have guest amenities such as food and beverage service, changing and locker areas, and a gift shop. The hours of operation will be approximately 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.

The City and FivePoint are responsible for completing backbone infrastructure. Five of the park attractions exceed the height limit but the highest attractions have been placed within the interior of the park to reduce impacts on surrounding uses. As part of the environmental review for the project, a noise study was conducted and concluded that equipment associated with the attractions would comply with the City’s exterior and interior noise standards because the equipment would be contained in a mechanical well or enclosures made of masonry and metal roofs.

The waterpark is approximately 2,200 feet north of the 100-acre County of Orange El Toro Plan project site south of Marine Way. At this time the City has not designated a location for a permanent amphitheater. This is the link to the e-comment form for this agenda item.