FivePoint’s Great Park Home-Building Entitlements: FivePoint’s 2011 New Plan and Call for Good Faith
In the previous article in this series on Great Park development, I wrote about the original plan for the Great Park from both the private homebuilding and public amenities perspectives. In this article, we will see how—even though FivePoint’s homebuilding entitlements number remained constant—the direction for the Great Park development starts to change.
2011: A New Plan — Big Changes, but Homebuilding Numbers Remain Constant
By 2007, market conditions had changed for the worst for homebuilders as well as most of the economy. In addition, the way utilities would be delivered to the homebuilding site changed. For these reasons, FivePoint stated that it needed a “new plan” in ts partnership agreement with Irvine and the Orange County Great Park Corporation.
The adoption of this new development plan would have a significant impact on the way the public and private portions of the Great Park would develop. However, this new plan would not change FivePoint’s home building entitlement numbers. FivePoint’s homebuilding entitlement numbers at the Great Park would remain at 4,894.
On certain points regarding this new plan, FivePoint representatives stated that FivePoint had acted cooperatively with the City and Great Park board up to that point; therefore, some items did not need to be written down in the agreement. These FivePoint representatives, Patrick Strader and Emile Haddad, further stated that putting these items in writing would slow down the process. Therefore, they concluded that the Irvine city council should approve the new plan without these items included in the agreement document. In other words, the City and Great Park board should trust in FivePoint’s good faith. More on this will be in the next article in this series on Great Park development and entitlement numbers.
FivePoint’s Proposed New Development Plan
At the August 30, 2011 Irvine city council meetings, city council members discussed FivePoint’s proposal. Here are some of the details of FivePoint’s new plan:
- FivePoint’s homebuilding entitlement number would remain the same (4,894). However, the FivePoint proposal involved switching from low-density, single-family development to a more densely built multi-use development.
- In addition to other homebuilding entitlements, FivePoint had approval to build about 3,600 homes in the southern Transit Oriented District (TOD) of the Great Park. This TOD area is located in Planning Areas (PA) 30 and 51. Instead of building these homes in this Great Park TOD area, FivePoint proposed to build the homes in a northern part of the Great Park that is located between Trabuco Road and Irvine Boulevard. This area is PA 51.
- The designation for this northern part of the Great Park would change from the 8.1 Lifelong Learning District to the 8.1 Trails and Transit District. Staff stated that nothing comparable to this designation existed in Irvine at that time.
- Instead of the pocket parks that were standard in Irvine, larger parks would be the norm. These parks would be large enough to contain junior Olympic pools, soccer fields, and tennis courts. In addition, they would contain the standard park features such as tot lots.
- FivePoint’s proposed new plan would reduces the size of the canyon feature contained in the original plans. However, the new plan would not eliminate the canyon.
- As compensation for the impacts that denser development would create, FivePoint offered $40.5M. Councilmember Agran stated that $100M was a more appropriate number. (For more on this, see the next article that will be available in this series.)
Main Street at the Great Park
The rendering shows FivePoint’s proposed Main Street at the Great Park. Courtesy OCR; January 11, 2011
In addition to the above listed items, FivePoint included a Main Street business district in its plan. Main Street was planned in PA 51 near the northwestern edge of the Great Park. It would consist of shops going north from Trabuco Road, and it would have tree-canopied streets with wide sidewalks. This design would accommodate outdoor dining, cyclists, and pedestrians. Also, the tree-lined streets would provide shade and, thereby, reduce the heat-island effect.
Although ten-foot-wide streets were often the norm, Main Street as well as other streets in the Great Park would be narrower. This would allow room for the wide sidewalks as well as the trees. In addition, this street design would reduce traffic speed, which would make the streets safer for Great Park residents, cyclists, pedestrians, and car drivers. It would also make outdoor dining on Main Street a more enjoyable experience. Green Streets was the name used when referring to the proposed street design.
Planning Commission Recommendations
In August 2011, the Planning Commission recommended that the Irvine city council obtain FivePoint’s participation in the following:
- Transit Plan: FivePoint will work with the City on a transit study for the Great Park. The transit plans would include shuttle service within the Great Park. Councilmember Agran wanted more definite language in the agreement clarifying that FivePoint would participate in paying for a portion of this transit study. This more definite language was not adopted by the city council majority. (Planning Commission Recommended 4-1; Commissioner Pierson dissenting)
- EV Charging Stations:“To the extent feasible, the developer [FivePoint] will install electric vehicle charging stations at the commercial retail centers….“—August 30, 2011 Irvine City Council meeting minutes. (Planning Commission Recommended 3-2; Commissioner Kuo dissenting)
- Orange Bike Program: “The developer shall incorporate a bike share program into their development program that takes advantage of, and expands upon, ‘The Orange Bike Program’ being implement by the Great Park Corporation with an emphasis on connecting the Great Park Neighborhoods to the Great Park.”—August 30, 2011 Irvine City Council meeting minutes. (Planning Commission Recommended 5-0)
- Heritage Ash trees along Trabuco Road saved until road redeveloped occurs: Agran objected to these heritage trees being cut down to facilitate redevelopment, either then or in the future. He said that FivePoint’s proposal to cut down the heritage trees was “not the Irvine way.” Agran further stated that FivePoint and the City should use more creativity to incorporate these tree into a grand entrance for the Great Park. The city council majority voted to delay, but not eliminate, the removal of the heritage Ash trees. (Planning Commission Recommended 5-0)
- Attractive Edge Conditions: FivePoint will ensure that beautification of the borders between Great Park homes and the public portion of the Great Park area occurs. (Planning Commission Recommended 3-2; Commissioners Kuo and Pierson dissenting)
- Reciprocal use of recreational amenities among the five Great Park districts: The amenities in each of the five Great Park districts would be available to residents in all five Great Park districts. (Planning Commission Recommended 3-2; Commissioners Kuo and Pierson dissenting)
- “The homes will range from 1,000 to 3,700 square feet, with prices expected to range from $400,000 to over $1 million.“—OCR; January 11, 2011
- For a visual representation of FivePoint’s 2011 Great Park development plan, see the Irvine staff presentation.
This is the fourth article in a series on Great Park development and entitlement numbers. Up next is “FivePoint’s Great Park Home-Building Entitlements: Irvine City Council Votes on the 2011 New Plan and Good Faith.”
Branda LinOctober 29, 2021 at 12:14 pm
“FivePoint representatives, Patrick Strader and Emile Haddad, further stated that putting these items in writing would slow down the process. Therefore, they concluded that the Irvine city council should approve the new plan without these items included in the agreement document.”
Words are not binding, contracts are. The City and our City Council must require everything be put in writing. Otherwise, they are just empty, non-enforceable, lofty ideas. How many promises has Fivepoint kept in the Great Park?
Branda LinNovember 2, 2021 at 11:19 am
I’d be interested in knowing why Anthony Kuo was against the beautification of borders and EV charging stations. My initial thought is, he didn’t want to place any requirements on Fivepoint, which would be consistent with what we’ve been seeing today.
In the same article, it does state that “FivePoint representatives, Patrick Strader and Emile Haddad, stated that putting these items in writing would slow down the process. Therefore, they concluded that the Irvine city council should approve the new plan without these items included in the agreement document.”
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