City Council to Decide on Veterans Cemetery Location Next

Five years ago, in March of 2014, the Irvine City Council unanimously designated the ARDA land for a veterans cemetery and memorial park. It has been public knowledge that this particular property was going to be conveyed to the State for a cemetery. The schools and housing in the Great Park Neighborhoods came after this well-known land-use decision.

On July 23, 2019, the City Council will move to recommend the Golf Course Site, even though the commissions were not given the necessary information to properly make a recommendation. Here’s a quick review:

Transportation Commission (11/20/18)

The 11/20/18 Transportation Commission agenda called for the Commission to provide “input on transportation issues” with regards to each of the proposed cemetery sites. The agenda item did not call for approval of, or to give priority to, either site. However, Commissioner Ken Montgomery (Fox) moved to make a motion to make a preference for the Golf Course Site which passed 3-1-1 with O’Malley abstaining. Read related article HERE.

Planning Commission (2/7/19)

The 2/7/19 Planning Commission agenda called for the Commission to “review and provide input regarding the legal analysis and timeline” for the construction of the cemetery at both sites.  The agenda item did not call for approval of, or to give priority to, either site.  The Planning Commission recommended the Golf Course Site anyway with a 4-1 vote with Steve Huang (Khan) opposed. Read related article HERE.

Finance Commission (7/15/19)

Per Chair Jim Schute’s (Shea) recommendation, the Finance Commission voted to recommend the Golf Course Site, even though the Golf Course Site’s boundaries were changed and included for the first time Cultural Terrace land. Additionally, the Commission was only provided estimates for the Golf Course site and even with the change in land for this updated Golf Course Site, city staff did not do a presentation or provide a report.

Commissioner Sievers (Fox) pointed out that the commission was being asked to give an Either/Or decision on which site was more financially prudent to chose as the Orange County Veterans Cemetery. However, many variables still exist. For example, the Golf Course site has not been fully studied yet. Sievers stated that until these variables are clarified an If/When decision is more appropriate than an Either/Or decision. However, Chair Jim Schute’s motion recommending the Golf Course Site passed 3-1-1 with  Sievers (Fox) opposed and Cheema (Khan) absent. Read related article HERE.

Important Notes on Gun Salutes and Taps

Gun salutes are only reserved for veterans who qualify for this special honor so not every burial will have a gun salute. During the salute, blank cartridges are fired into the air. Taps are played nowadays using a digital bugle. The device has volume control features. To get a better sense of the activity on a veterans cemetery, a volunteer contacted:

Northern California Vets Cemetery:

  • They limit gun salutes for qualifying veterans to only 2 days/week, Monday & Friday.
  • A volunteer organization handles gun salutes so they make the schedule & they only come to the cemetery twice a week. Irvine can decide how to best handle gun salutes.
  • The volunteers use a single gun with blanks and volley 3 shots. According to the cemetery spokesperson, it is not loud.
  • Burials/cremations are 4 days per week and four times per day. Each service is 30 minutes in length and not all qualify for a gun salute.

Central Coast Veterans Cemetery: This cemetery is located in Seaside next to 3 schools and housing. One school is a quarter of a mile away.  They have never received noise complaints.

Co-Written by:
Jeanne Baran
Nancy Frye
Sylvia Walker