Opinion: City of Irvine Fails To Address Health Hazards to “Luxury” Home Residents by All American Asphalt
Correction: An earlier version of this story incorrectly stated that All American Asphalt started in Irvine in 1976. The company started in the 70s, but not at the current location.
What is the City’s responsibility to disclose of pollutants and its negative impacts to home buyers?
All American Asphalt has been operating in Irvine since 1993. Yet home buyers were not informed of its location before purchasing “luxury” homes nearby. Residents became aware of its presence when they experienced odor emanating from the plant, which occurs mostly in the wee hours of the morning when people are asleep or have their windows shut tight.
These odors have been detected as far as the Portola Springs and Woodbury villages. Residents have had to invest in air purifiers and/or air monitors to detect indoor air quality — combined with the additional use of air conditioning, this has resulted in higher electricity bills and overall costs.
When asked, the sales staff in the model homes stated that they were unaware of the existence of the All American Asphalt Company but were aware of the landfill and reservoir located nearby.
The “white paper” disclosures failed to disclose the existence of All American Asphalt and its toxic and polluting emissions, but did disclose the following:
- The Frank R. Bowerman County Landfill
- Water Management Plan
- Parks & Trails
- Agricultural & Commercial Nursery Operations
- Oil, Gas Wells & Methane
- Gas & Liquid Pipelines
- Toxic Mold
Additionally, the “white paper” did disclose language alluding to traffic noise from trucks carrying asphalt on Portola, Jeffrey, and Hicks Canyon Haul Road under the “Roads and Highways” and “Noise” sections, but the disclosures failed to mention the possible hazards of odors and pollutants emanating from All American Asphalt. What is the City’s responsibility for failure to provide this disclosure to property purchasers? Does the City and/or seller have an obligation to disclose this information to potential home buyers?
Pursuant to California Civil Code Section 1102.17, “the seller of residential real property subject to this article who has actual knowledge that the property is adjacent to, or zoned to allow, an industrial use described in Section 731a of the Code of Civil Procedure, or affected by a nuisance created by such as use, shall give written notice of that knowledge as soon as practicable before transfer of title” (California Developer Disclosure Report).
All American Asphalt has received a total of 6 citations since it started operating here in Irvine — 5 within the last two years. It has also received 4 Notices of Non-Compliance between 2010-2019 for maintenance and equipment failures.
Eastwood Village, Stonegate, and Orchard Hills neighborhoods were marketed as family-friendly luxury homes with resort-style amenities and lush pathways that connect residents to the surrounding trails, parks and award-winning schools. Each home pays property tax and Mello-Roos of between $10-30k annually.
The developer is continuing to build new homes in these neighborhoods. The City should deem the current location of All American Asphalt not suitable, given its history of public nuisance violations and adverse health effects.
Actions Taken In Attempt To Remedy The Public Nuisance and Health Hazards
- The residents have repeatedly filed complaints to the South Coast Air Quality Management District (SCAQMD) whenever odors are detected. Public records from the AQMD’s website show this factory releases toxic pollutants into the air.
- Email to Irvine Director of Community Development with a disappointing response.
- Residents have sent letters to 20 agencies, organizations and elected officials in the past year. To date, no remediation has been instituted.
If you are interested in joining us in fighting this hazardous nuisance, please add our Facebook Page. https://www.facebook.com/groups/stopallamericanasphalt/?ref=share
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Susan SayreSeptember 29, 2020 at 11:35 am
The Irvine Company is the developer that is building these homes. Shouldn’t the Irvine Company be responsible for the failure to provide full disclosure about the existence of the All American Asphalt company and its pervasive odors ? Has the Residents “group or committee” contacted the Irvine Company to ask them why the disclosure is not included in their purchase documents? The Irvine Company continually has agenda items on the Planning Commission and City Council agenda related to these developments. I encourage the Residents Group members to attend these meetings (which are now virtual) and make public comments/e-comments on these agenda items requesting that something be done to: 1. force the Irvine Company to disclose the existence of the All American Asphalt Company and its problematic odors at the time the homes are purchased, and 2. remedy the odor problem, not just issue citations.
Lesley TanOctober 1, 2020 at 10:00 am
Yes, someone in our group sent a letter to the Irvine Company before. They never replied.
MeSeptember 29, 2020 at 6:26 pm
All American Asphalt has been in Irvine since ’76 but since people didn’t know it when they bought their house AAA has to move? All American Asphalt paved Irvine, every single road these privileged new home owners drive on has been paved by All American Asphalt. Asphalt does stink, that is true but you are saying that people miles away can smell it? That is laughable. Hundreds if not thousands of these home buyers bought houses on land that DESTROYED the natural habitat, so they can have their nice neighborhood. Mountains were taken down, ravines filled in and roads were paved. They encroached on All American Asphalt, not the other way around. The crybabies should find a place to move to that has no industry nearby.
Lesley TanOctober 1, 2020 at 10:12 am
So you are saying the people who bought the homes were at fault for not knowing that the asphalt plant is there, correct? So then what’s the purpose of a disclosure in a home purchase contract then? Many long time Irvine residents didn’t even know about the existence of this plant. It’s not on Irvine’s zoning map at all when I last looked on the city of Irvine’s website last week and even confirmed with the Director or Community Development. So, how would you suggest that we find out about it? There is not a sign of the business at the private road entrance to the plant. Please note again, that’s a private road that no one should even access and the factory is pretty much hidden from the view along Portola and Jeffrey. It’s not the homebuyers’ fault. People move here, they need a place to stay. How does that equate to us destroying the natural habitat? I understand you are saying it’s due to development that they are cutting down the trees and stuff and building towards the hills. But is that the homeowners’ fault then? You should tell the city to stop developing then. It is a fact that residents miles away can smell it. You can check with AQMD or even ask the residents in those neighborhoods yourself. You calling out us as the crybabies and yet not even dare to reveal your real name says more about you.
Lesley TanOctober 1, 2020 at 10:16 am
And please note the citations and violations they had are real. Businesses that don’t comply with the laws should have their license revoked. Is that not the case?
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