FivePoint is Legally Entitled to Build 10,556 Homes of Any Type They Choose in the Irvine Great Park: How Did That Happen?

At meeting of November 2, 2023,  the Irvine Planning Commission approved FivePoint’s plan to build 82 large, single-family homes in a Great Park area near Irvine Boulevard. When an appeal to this Planning Commission approval was heard at the December 12 City Council meeting, the Council denied the appeal and, thereby, affirmed the Planning Commission vote.

Objections to this FivePoint plan came from various groups and for various reasons. For example, adjacent homeowners were told by realtors that that area would be a walkable community with retail and a park. Also, some thought that these largeand bound to be expensivesingle-family homes were not the type of housing that Irvine needs now.

Considering these objections, why didn’t the Planning Commission and the Irvine City Council reject this FivePoint plan? Answer: Because the City of Irvine is legally bound to accept FivePoint plans to build up to 10,556 homes of the type that they choose at the Great Park. This is due to legally binding decisions made in past City Council meetings.

Double, Double: A 2013 Council Vote Brews Trouble for Future Great Park Development Choices

” Double, double toil and trouble; Fire burn, and caldron bubble.” William Shakespeare, MacbethWitches MacBeth Holloween image 2

FivePoint Received a Quantity Benefit

Various votes at past Irvine City Council meetings were factors in determining where we are today in regard to development in the Irvine Great Park. However, a vote taken at the November 26, 2013, city council meeting has the most relevance to what is happening today with development in the Great Park.  At that council meeting, the then-city council approved a legally binding agreement with FivePoint to build about 10,000 homes in the Great Park. This is about double the number of Great Park homebuilding entitlements that FivePoint had before the then-city council gave FivePoint this new home-building entitlement number.

At the long, contentious, and packed November 2013 Irvine city council meeting, then-councilmembers Steven Choi, Christina Shea, and Jeff Lallowy agreed to legally binding documents that gave FivePoint authority to build about 10,000 homes. Again, this is almost double the home-building entitlement numbers that FivePoint had before this new agreement. Councilmembers Larry Agran and Beth Krom voted No.

Note: Before this November 2013 vote, FivePoint had the entitlement to build 4,894 homes in the Great Park. After the November 2013 vote, FivePoint had the entitlement to build an additional 4,606 homes.

FivePoint Also Received a Qualitative Benefit

In addition, past city councils gave FivePoint the legal right to build whatever type of homes that they choose. What that  means today is FivePoint has a legal right, with few exceptions, to build whatever FivePoint decides it wants, as long as the overall number of homes in the Great Park remains under 10,556. To further clarify, past city councils entered the City of Irvine into legally binding agreements with FivePoint that allows FivePoint to build any type of housingsmall, large, or somewhere in betweenas long as the number of homes is under 10,556. In addition, FivePoint can change its mind on what type of development FivePoint builds any time before it begins construction, and the City of Irvine must approve FivePoint’s updated development plans due to legally binding decisions made by previous city councils.

For more information on this vote at the city council meeting of November 26, 2013, see the following: The Doubling of FivePoint’s Great Park Homebuilding Numbers.
For more information on the complete history of FivePoint’s increasing home building entitlement numbers, see this series: Great Park History: Farmland to 10,556.

More Clarification on FivePoint’s Home-Building Entitlements in the Great Park

  • Of the 10,556 homes FivePoint has an entitlement to build in the Great Park, FivePoint currently is legally entitled to apply for and build about 1,955 more homes of the type they choose in the Great Park. FivePoint already has an entitlement to build 8,601 great Park homes.
  • Planning Commissioner Chair Branda Lin asked many questions of the Planning Commission staff to clarify the following: What can the Planning Commission and the City of Irvine legally do in regards to development plans that FivePoint brings before the Commission or City? Staff’s answer: Not much, other than, with a few exceptions, accept FivePoints plans.
    Following are links to the videos of these Planning Commission meetings:

    • December 7, 2023, Planning Commission meeting
      The questions and answers section that clarified what legal ability the Planning Commission and City Council have to deny FivePoint’s development plans start at about 22:10. The complete staff report and discussion starts at about 2:05.
    • November 2, 2023, Planning Commission meeting
      The questions and answers section that clarified what legal ability the Planning Commission and City Council have to deny FivePoint’s development plans start at about 1:55:40. The complete staff report and discussion starts at about 1:23:45.