What’s Going to Happen to ARDA?

Now that the Golf Course is designated as the preferred site for the Veterans Cemetery, what happens to the ARDA site?

In spite of the questionable decision-making process for choosing the site for the Orange County Veterans’ Cemetery, Mayor Shea and Councilmembers Khan, Kuo, and Carroll, voted for the Golf Course site rather than the ARDA site which the voters believed they had chosen. Councilmember Fox voted against the Golf Course Site.

Now that the plans for the city-owned ARDA site (which was provided to the City in December 2010 via a legal contract with FivePoint) have been scuttled, what will now happen to those 125 acres?

 What We Know: 

  • FivePoint has the first right of refusal to purchase the property from the City. Per the City’s development agreement with FivePoint, the ARDA site includes a Right of First Negotiation for FivePoint for “specific non-Park-related uses on the Great Park and City-owned land near the Great Park.” This would cover a sale of land in the ARDA if that were something that the City ever elected to do.
  • According to the ARDA agreement, the City may develop the site with two hotels, restaurants and small-scale retail typical of a metropolitan park, and up to 250 residential dwelling units; however, the City would still have to entitle the existing ARDA site for such uses. Entitlement of these residential units would require a zone change, general plan amendment, and CEQA review.
  • This will be round #2 for a zone change.  The City initiated a zone change for the ARDA site that was approved by the Planning Commission (9/7/17) and the City Council (9/26/17). The ARDA site was to be rezoned and renamed “Development District 9 of the Great Park Neighborhoods” and at that time FivePoint confirmed that there were no planned uses for the ARDA site. A voter referendum placed the zone text amendment on the 6/25/18 Irvine special election ballot. Measure B to approve the zone text amendment was defeated.

Next Move

The City Council voted to place on their 8/13/19 agenda a motion to restrict the development of the ARDA site by enacting zoning restrictions that would prohibit the construction of residential housing, hotels and large commercial projects thereby limiting construction to small shopping centers and other amenities that enhance the local village community.

Come to the 8/13/19 City Council meeting to witness the next installment of the ARDA site saga!

Please click the links below for a recap on yesterdays (7/23/19) City Council decision and an OpEd by an Irvine Watchdog that raises many additional questions that were not addressed.