Keeping the Public In The Dark on ARDA

What’s Happening on the ARDA Site

On the Consent Calendar for both the OC Great Park Board (Item 2.2.) and City Council (Item 2.4) meetings is a motion to direct the City Manager to enter into a license agreement allowing indefinite use of land on the ARDA site, despite its current designation as the location of the future Veterans Cemetery.

This license agreement would give the California Fire Museum and the Safety Learning Center the right to store historical fire apparatus and artifacts in Building 606, a base-era hangar located on 3,500 square feet on the ARDA site, for $48 per month. The license agreement would continue until a permanent Fire Museum is built.

On May 12, 2020, the City Council voted to adopt the terms of the Citizens’ Cemetery Initiative, placing the Veterans Cemetery at the ARDA site. However, on October 27, 2020, the City Council approved auto, compost, and mulch storage on the ARDA site. Now the City is seeking to store more items on the ARDA site, but not without procedural issues.

Procedural Issues

By placing this licensing agreement item on the Great Park agenda, the City Manager and the City Council are circumventing public participation from this decision, as members of the public would not be aware that a jurisdiction requirement is being bypassed.

  • Great Park Board Does Not Have Jurisdiction

The ARDA site is located in Irvine, not in the Great Park, which means the Great Park Board does not have any jurisdiction on this agenda item. The City recognizes this fact as the Great Park Board meeting agenda item only calls for a recommendation to be presented to the City Council. Yet the decision on this agenda item will be made during the Great Park Board meeting, which the public generally does not attend. Then at the City Council meeting just two hours later, the same five people will decide whether to move forward with the license agreement or not.

In other words, the Great Park Board (our five councilmembers) will be making a recommendation for themselves for their Irvine City Council meeting just two hours later.

  • This Item Should NOT Be On the Consent Calendar

Consent items are designated for routine, non-controversial matters. They are not intended to contain items that are  known to be of great public interest. Placing this item on Consent Calendar indicates the City’s attempt to hide this matter of great public interest by bypassing public participation.

Our city has undergone two veterans cemetery ballot initiatives, with the provisions of the latter initiative adopted by the City Council on May 12, 2020, placing the cemetery back at the ARDA site. The Interim City Manager Marianna Marysheva, City Attorney Jeff Melching, City staff and the City Councilmembers are well aware that issues relating to ARDA and the Veterans Cemetery have engendered great public interest.


    • What will this mean for the Veterans Cemetery?
    • How dissolvable are these multiple license agreements once the CalVet study is completed?
    • Why is our city land on ARDA becoming a storage facility for all these businesses?
    • Isn’t the market value for renting 3,500 sq ft of storage space more than $45 per month?

Meeting Information

OC Great Park Board Meeting
January 26, 2021 at 2PM
Great Park Board Agenda

To submit a public comment:

  1. Click here to submit an e-Comment for Item 2.2 (e-Comments will no longer be read during the meeting)
  2. Click here to make public comment via Zoom
    Meeting ID: 953 1821 1232
    Passcode: 887747

Irvine City Council Meeting
January 26, 2021 at 4PM
City Council Agenda

To submit a public comment:

  1. Click to submit an e-Comment for Item 2.4 (e-Comments will no longer be read during the meeting)
  2. Click to make public comment via Zoom
    Meeting ID: 953 1821 1232
    Passcode: 887747