Great Park Evaporating

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In what is increasingly looking like a decade or longer bait and switch scheme the City of Irvine is approving changes to its agreement with Lennar Corporation for the development of the former El Toro MCAS. The City initially promised voters a great park without any use of taxpayer money, but has since changed that tune in part because the cost to design and build a large park on the property was apparently grossly underestimated. Now, the Los Angeles Times reports that the agreement with Lennar is being changed:

“Under the agreement, Lennar will transfer 131 additional acres to Irvine and pay the city $58 million for infrastructure and park maintenance. In exchange, the housing giant would be let off the hook for some of its obligations to the city, including building a 45-hole golf course and leaving 173 acres of the base as farmland.

The deal also opens public land to limited development: It allows the city to build a police station, hotels, restaurants and retail space on portions of the nearly 1,500-acre expanse envisioned as parkland — a footprint nearly twice the size of New York’s Central Park that designers liken to San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park and Balboa Park in San Diego. —— In a separate, 4-1 vote, the Irvine council also approved 1,269 additional housing units, entitling Lennar to build up to 4,894 units on land surrounding the park.”
So, good bye golf course, and hello higher housing density with commensurate traffic and demands on services such as schools plus hotels, restaurants and retail space instead of park land. Just what we all need – higher density housing, more hotels, restaurants and retail space – never mind that the additional traffic and that the future of these kinds of businesses has become extremely clouded by the state of our economy. Could the city be chasing a mirage of sales tax revenue at the same time promised park acreage and facilities are evaporating before our eyes? Now, wouldn’t that be a surprise!


About Over But Not Out

A retired Orange County employee, and moderate Republican. The editor seriously does not know OBNO's identity as did not the former editor, but his point of view is obviously interesting and valued.