Opinion: Great Park Development Should Follow Normal Project Approval Process

Great Park

Great Park

On October 11, 2022, the Great Park Board will consider Agenda item 1.1. The proposed Great Park Framework Plan Implementation Agreement would give the City of Irvine control over the land use of the Great Park, thus removing contractual control from Heritage Fields/Five Point Developers.

Orange County voters created the Great Park with the promise that the Great Park Venues could be enjoyed by and affordable for Orange County residents from all walks of life. In addition, voters were promised a park that would rival New York’s Central Park.

The vision for the development of Great Park has fluctuated significantly over the years. The park’s name was changed from Orange County Great Park to Irvine Great Park. Heritage Fields/Five Point Developers have had considerable control over land use and, thus, the park’s development. The development projects bypassed Irvine’s commissions for expert review, input and approval, giving that responsibility to the Great Park Board members, thus giving them an unrealistic role in the development of the Great Park.

Great Park Projects Should Follow Normal Project Approval Process

The Great Park Framework Implementation Plan Agreement would give the City of Irvine land use control over the Great Park. As a result, all future Great Park Projects should be required to be referred to Irvine’s Commissions for their expert review, input, and approval. The Planning Commission can review the project plans and their compliance with Irvine’s development regulations and ordinances and review the required studies, including professional environmental impact study reports. The Transportation Commission can review professional traffic study reports. The Finance Commission can review project funding proposals. The Community Services Commission can review the facility plans and activity programs to ensure they meet Irvine’s community needs and interests. Also, the Green Ribbon Environmental Committee can review the environmental impact of the projects.

Should the City of Irvine take control of and responsibility for the development of the Great Park, they should treat Great Park projects in the same manner that they treat Irvine City Projects.

Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the position of Irvine Watchdog or any of its volunteers.