An article in the L.A. Times highlights Irvine’s recent housing boom, especially the rise of enormous apartment complexes — “so large that you can see them from space.”
The Times article points out the spectacular recent growth of housing in Irvine and the consequent explosion of Irvine’s population. Some facts: Irvine accounts for more than half of all the new houses, condos, and apartments built in Orange County in the last six years. More than 4,500 apartments were built in Orange County in 2015, a nearly 60% increase from 2014, most of them in Irvine. “Irvine now has nearly 260,000 people, but long-range estimates top 300,000. This type of staggering pace is not new. From 2000 to 2012, Irvine’s population grew at 56%, far outpacing nearby communities . . . In its 2013-2021 housing element, the city of Irvine expects about 13,000 new residential units, with more than 5,000 in high-density zones that have more than 30 dwelling units per acre.”
Unquestionably, Southern California, and specifically Irvine, needs more housing, especially affordable housing. As Irvine’s economy grows, our housing must also grow. Younger families and Millennials too often priced out and feel left out of Irvine’s economic and housing boom.
How Irvine manages its housing and population growth will determine whether Irvine remains a great city to live, work and raise a family.
In fact, Irvine’s biggest challenge is ensuring that our infrastructure and public services – roads, schools, shopping, police, recreation, and utilities – keeps up with the city’s explosive housing and population growth.
Growth is good, when there is proper planning and adequate infrastructure. But in Irvine we have seen too much runaway development without regard to planning, infrastructure, or quality of life. The result has been snarled traffic and overcrowded schools, lack of local shopping and crowds everywhere. Every Irvine resident knows that Irvine’s increasing traffic congestion is taking a toll on our quality of life, economic competitiveness, driving safety and air quality.
This recent abandonment of thoughtful long-term planning is very un-Irvine. Smart growth has been our tradition in Irvine for decades. Our general plan provides for local villages with their own close-by schools and retail centers. We appear to have forgotten one of the main reasons that Irvine is so special — the principle that growth must be properly planned and balanced so as to preserve and improve our quality of life. We need to return to that highly successful model as we build out the remaining city areas. We need to return to well planned, balanced development in order to preserve our quality of life, prevent unnecessary taxation, keep the local cost of living in check and maintain healthy positive economic growth.
When I am elected to the Irvine City Council, I will fight for development decisions based on proper planning and concern for the quality of life of Irvine’s residents.
Please visit my website — votemelissafox.com — to learn more about my campaign for Irvine City Council and how you can help Irvine return to balanced, smart growth — so that our quality of life is sustained and enhanced as Irvine grows.