6/26/18 Irvine City Council Meeting

In Attendance:  Fox, Lalloway, Wagner, Shea; Schott was absent


Shea:  Announced that she received multiple Fair Political Practices Commission (FPPC) complaints alleging conflict of interest regarding a 3 million dollar Land Trust Budget Item. Two were filed by Karen Jaffe and Lynn Schott. Shea reported that her attorney found no conflict of interest because she is not paid to serve on the Land Trust Board.   Shea stated that FPPC found no conflict of interest. Shea was appalled that a fellow city council member, Lynn Schott filed a complaint.

Fox:  Announced that the Newport Bay Watershed Channel that runs from Barranca and Culver down to the 405 fwy and 5 fwy intersection will undergo sediment removal and will have significant impact on traffic along Barranca.

Wagner:  Announced that the Orange County Board of Supervisors voted to evaluate the county site located at the 91 fwy and 241 toll road for use for the Veteran’s Cemetery.

Susan’s concern: The voters voted for the original site and the voters’ will is being ignored.  The issue is not resolved and the controversy continues.

Agenda items 3.5 and 3.6: Renewal of 2 bonus density applications which had expired after 3 years (Pistoia Apartments and Milani Apartments):

Public Comment by Judith Gass (Irvine Watchdog): Judith stated that the bonus housing percentage given to low income and affordable units was too low. She also questioned the fact that there did not appear to be plans for parks and schools and the density would thus result in further overcrowding of schools.  She further questioned the effect it would have on traffic.

Shea stated that she has the same concerns as Judith and thus wants more information about the projects and about the state requirements and asked that more information be provided.  She called development representatives up and they reported that they are close to completing the permit process and plan to start construction in 30 days. Wagner stated that he also agreed with Judith and Shea and that he wanted more information.

The city council members (3-0 with Lalloway abstaining due to conflict of interest) voted to postpone the decision on the renewal approval for a “reasonable time” to allow time to get and evaluate updated information.

Susan’s concerns: Bonus density with insufficient low and affordable housing defeats the purpose of granting density bonus.  Traffic circulation has changed in 3 years so renewal of bonus density approval should require another traffic study. Susan’s reaction to public comment:  Way to Go Judith, you had them all listening and agreeing with you…at least for now!!

Agenda items 3.10 and 3.11: The City Council approved 2 traffic signal joint projects with the City of Tustin for Von Karman Avenue/Tustin Ranch Road and for Irvine Center Drive/Edinger Avenue.  These projects are intended. Council member Lalloway complained about the traffic congestions along these streets and said that the projects would improve traffic circulation.

Agenda Item 5.1: Notice of Withdrawal from the Orange County Fire Authority: Shea, Wagner, and Lalloway voted for giving notice and Fox voted against giving notice to the OCFA of intent to withdraw from the agency. The reason given was that Irvine is charged significantly more than other cities and thus overcharged. The proponents argued that they have until 6/30 to resign from the OCFA, and they prefer to give notice of withdrawal and try to negotiate a better deal. Fox reported that the cost to set up the same level of services would be enormous and even costlier. She also reported that the County refunds money to the city of Irvine.  Fox said the OCFA has a training center, provides wild fire fighting and heavy rescue resources. Fox further reported that if the city of Irvine has to provide the services, it would increase pension liability. Lalloway agreed with Shea stating that he wants to bring fairness to Irvine taxpayers.

Susan’s concern:  Is this a gamble which, if lost, could result in more Irvine taxpayer liability?

Post City Council Meeting with Mayor Wagner:

After the meeting, Mayor Wagner came up to me and asked to meet with me over coffee. He stated he was concerned because the current City Council members were not the ones that were responsible for making the decisions or policies that I was talking about in my public comments. I told him that I am bringing them to the City Council’s attention so that they can make changes in their policies and their decision making process. We discussed some of the issues that I had talked about, and he reported that he agreed with my positions. Mayor Wagner also stated that he believes that the Brown Act should apply to the Irvine Land Trust Board and thus the public should be able to attend the board meetings and speak at public comment. He said that he would look into the matter and get back to me. Mayor Wagner admitted that he reads the Irvinewatchdog.org posts. He reiterated the fact that he wanted to meet with me and members of my “group” and he even offered to come speak “to” us. I said that I wanted to speak with him and discuss issues with him. I took his card and he took mine, and I told him that I would set up the meeting.