Sale of Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course – Will the Council and Planning Commission be Transparent and Accountable?
Mari Fujii Irvine, CA
July 24, 2018
Members of the Irvine City Council City of Irvine
1 Civic Center Plaza Irvine, CA 92606
To the Members of the Irvine City Council:
My name is Mari Fujii and my husband and I have lived in Irvine since 1990. My husband and I came to Irvine because of the thoughtful city planning and protection of its open spaces for the benefit of the entire community. To the community’s horror, we have learned that the prospective buyer of the Rancho San Joaquin golf course wants to build an 800 unit, 4-story, high-density building complex for approximately 3,200 UCI students on the golf course property near University and Harvard. Not only would this add even more traffic to our streets, it goes against the legacy of Irvine’s Master Plan and our community of Villages. Bottom line is any development on the golf course will destroy not only the surrounding Villages of Rancho San Joaquin, University Park and University Town Center, it will destroy property values for thousands of people — which for the majority of us, our home is our only or most important financial asset. The Rancho San Joaquin golf course was built in 1964 and became one of Irvine’s first protected open space as part of its General Plan. And since that time, it continues to be a profitable business. As Irvine’s most affordable golf course, it attracts over 90,000 rounds of golf played each year, with an additional 70,000 visitors annually to its driving range and pitching facility. This makes Rancho San Joaquin golf course one of the most popular courses not just in Orange County, but in all of California. The reason the property is for sale is its corporate owner, Drive Shack Inc. (which owns American Golf Corp.) wants to sell off its golf course properties including Rancho San Joaquin and use the cash proceeds to invest in a series of virtual “golf entertainment centers.” Drive Shack and its broker are attempting to market Rancho San Joaquin golf course as a developable piece of real estate, when in fact it sits on top of a landfill, butts up against hundreds of homes that were designed specifically to be part of a golf course community, and is surrounded by busy intersections and streets that are already clogged with traffic and noise. Please help our community and honor our city planning legacy by protecting Rancho San Joaquin golf course as a permanent, open space amenity to be enjoyed by the Irvine community — now and in the future. Sincerely, Mari Fujii