11/1/18 – Irvine Planning Commission Meeting Notes


  1. Modifications to tract maps and master plans are routinely requested and granted to increase the required street parking distance from residences and decrease property setbacks from the lot line. These modifications are to allow increases in the size of residences and to change development wall heights.
  2. There is a significant shortage of street parking in Irvine. This shortage is largely due to Irvine’s parking space allotment requirement of only 2 spaces for 2 or more bedroom residences – while many residences have more than 2 residents and thus more cars.
  3. There are different classifications for residential amenities: Optional Visitable (has a bathroom accessible to someone in a wheelchair but no bedroom); Accessible (bathroom and bedroom accessible to a person in a wheelchair by ramp or elevator); Universal Standards (amenities including: large doorways and hallways for wheelchairs, raised electrical outlets, some counters lowered or heights of counters can be easily adjusted for wheel chairs, bathroom bars, closed bars that can be lowered); and Adaptable (large doorways and hallways and subject to being adapted to Universal Standards at owner’s expense).
  4. An eloquent, high end, large congregate care facility for seniors with care classifications of independent living, assisted living, memory care and convalescent care is approved in the Irvine Business Center (IBC) on Millikan and Barranca directly across the street from The District Shopping Center. The facility will have many activities, restaurants, a movie theater, and garden walkways and cafes designed to meet the physical and mental stimulation needs of residents on site. The facility will have “uber like” drivers on call to provide transportation for residents. However, the facility will not be affordable for most Irvine Seniors.
  5. There is an extreme shortage of affordable congregate care homes in Irvine and Orange County in general thereby forcing many seniors to leave the area to get their required care – leaving their friends, family and support group behind. Some Planning commissioners called for building affordable congregate care facilities in the IBC.

Present were: Dustin Nirschl (Fox), John Doung (Lalloway), Anthony Kuo (Wagner) and Patty Bartlet (Schott); Greg Smith was absent.

Agenda Item 1: Minutes approved 4-0.

Agenda Item 2: Quail Hill Signage modification Program was continued.

Agenda Item 3: Master plan developments modification for 3 Eastwood Tracts located near Portola Parkway and Jeffrey.

Staff Report: Applicant, Irvine Company, requested smaller side and rear yard setbacks due to changes in the architecture of residences which serve to make the residences larger. Applicant also requests to increase distance of parking places from residences. Staff recommended approval stating that the requests are consistent with original general plan.

Commissioner Nirschl noted: It appears that it has become routine for applicants to request modifications for parking, yard setbacks and relief from master plan parking space distances and wall size.

Vote: approved 4-0

Agenda item 4: Master plan development modification for Portola Springs Development.

Staff report: The development will have 93 detached condos and apartments that are moderate income units, affordable units, low income units, and very low income units. There will be affordability programs. Some units will have universal standards. Applicant, Irvine Company, requested modifications to master plan requested for relief from parking, and wall height due to architectural changes. Staff stated that modifications were consistent with the general plan.

Vote: approved 4-0

Agenda Item 5: Master plan development in Great Park Neighborhood with modification for parking relief and establishing supporting community and sustainable design features.

Staff report: Applicant, Five Point, requests relief from parking allotment and sets forth plans to put in 1,572 market rate units, 143 affordable units which will be apartments. The buildings will be 3 stories and will be accessible and there will be a number of units that are optional visitable units (entry accessible with bathroom with sink and toilet downstairs and bedroom upstairs). It was revealed the standard parking space allotment is one for 1 bedroom units, and two for 2 or more bedroom units.

Public Comment: Jane Olinger: Jane reported many residential units have a large number of cars as they have an increasing number of residents moving into the homes. Jane said the parking allotment is inadequate and requested that something be done to enable residents and their guests to access parking spaces.

Kuo: Kuo agreed that parking is a big and growing problem which is due to affordability issues. To afford the cost of a rental unit or cost of mortgage, more residents must live in the home. Kuo stated he likes the project due to the diversity in income units.

Nirschl: Nirschl agreed that parking in Irvine is a problem, but stated he liked the project.

Vote: approved 4-0

Agenda Item 6: Conditional use permit for a new congregate care facility on Millikan Avenue in IBC;

Staff Report: The development would be a high end congregate care facility for independent living, assisted living, memory care and convalescent care residents. The facility would provide restaurants, a movie theater, an assortment of activities, onsite parklike gardens, and walkways, pools, outdoor cafés. It is located on Barranca Parkway and Millikan, directly across the street from the District Shopping Center. Staff reported the area is zoned for industrial use, and the facility would have less impact on traffic than industrial use. Staff report also stated the development would be compatible with surroundings.

Public Comment: Susan Sayre: Susan stated she was concerned the location on a busy intersection would pose a risk to residents – specifically, those wanting to cross the street to the District Shopping Center to explore the stores and restaurants and go to a movie. Susan stated seniors fear confinement and loss of freedom of mobility. Susan also said there is a severe shortage of affordable care facilities for seniors and disabled in Irvine and Orange County. It is clear the facility would not be affordable to most Irvine Seniors.

Mr. Strader, applicant representative: Mr. Strader reported the project would generate less traffic than an industrial use, as well as generate more tax income for the city. He also reported many seniors will sell their houses and move into the facility, thus making their house available for purchase.

Jim Biggs, applicant representative: Mr. Biggs stated residents would not have to walk anywhere as the facility will provide scheduled and unscheduled “uber like” transportation trips for residents.

Bartlett: Most of the city property is built out and no property on safe streets and next to parks exists. She said that there is a need for congregate care facilities in Irvine. Bartlett stated she likes the idea that it would create a sale of homes in the city as people move out of their homes and into the facility.

Kuo: Kuo questioned the distribution and assignment of parking and stated he was concerned about the safety of residents should they decide to cross Barranca. Staff reported that the light synchronization could be changed to allow more time for residents to cross Barranca to access The District Shopping Center.

Duong: Duong stated the project addresses the need for more affordable congregate care facilities in Irvine. He suggested that Irvine seek other areas in IBC where affordable congregate care facilities could be built.

Vote: approved 4-0

Meeting adjourned.