The City of Irvine is famous for its committment to planning. A crucial part of good planning is public input. You can help us with an important planning decision by giving us your input on a significant project in the Irvine Business Complex (IBC).
The Irvine Business Complex has transformed into an area with diverse land uses, providing the opportunity to live, work, and shop locally. This transformation has created a need for additional connections and new facilities for walking, bicycling, and recreation.
The objective of the Jamboree Pedestrian Bridge Feasibility study is to determine the possibility of constructing a
pedestrian bridge that will cross over Jamboree Road.
The study will identify and evaluate potential locations along Jamboree
Road in between I-405 Freeway and Barranca Parkway.
The bridge will provide a direct crossing for pedestrians over the roadway, separated from vehicular traffic.
A convenient pedestrain/bicycle bridge would also serve to encourage walking and biking and reduce traffic congestion in the area.
The City is looking at the best precise location for the pedestrian bridge. You can help us make this important decision bytaking a short surveyhere.
You can learn more about the project by watching the video of the public informational meeting held on September 10, 2020:
Please share the survey link with your friends and neighbors who may be interested in the project.
I urge my friends in the City of Orange to stop the dangerous Santiago Creek development. Vote No on Measure AA.
The proposed development — which would squeeze 128 expensive homes on 40.9 acres just south of Santiago Creek, near the already excessively congested intersection of Santiago Canyon Road and Cannon Street — is too dangerous to be approved.
The area of the proposed development is prone to wildfire and has few evacuation routes. Those few evacuation routes are already excessively congested. During the recent 2017 Canyon II Fire, cars were backed up for miles with people trying to flee. This proposed development will create even more congestion, which could prove fatal in the next wildfire.
The area of the proposed development is subject to serious flooding danger. The area is in a flood plain and has a history of dangerous flooding. Major floods in Orange County have occurred in 1810, 1815, 1825, 1884, 1891, 1916, 1927, 1938, 1969, 1983, 1993 and 1997. In February 1969, heavy rains led to catastophic flooding of Santiago Creek that washed out bridges and roads, destroyed homes and cars, and caused hundreds to be evacuated. The danger of flooding in the area remains unabated.
The proposed development is on a known fault line and subject to liquefaction in an earthquake. In addition, two earthen dams upstream of the proposed development are also on a fault line and subject to liquefaction, increasing the danger of catastophic flooding.
There are active methane vents next to the site. The homes built on the proposed site will require methane gas detectors to monitor dangerous levels of methane. The release of methane into the air can cause debilitating health problems, ranging from rashes, nosebleeds and wheezing to headaches, nausea, vomiting, brain injury and death.
The development project is also an affront to democracy. Residents of the area have opposed the development for years, yet the developers and the Orange City Council has ignored their concerns. Despite the people’s opposition, the Orange City Council pushed ahead with approving this project, putting the financial interests of the developers ahead of the wishes and the safety of the people. When this most recent development plan came before the Orange City Council, more than 80% of the Orange residents who spoke at the public hearing opposed the project. The Orange City Council approved it anyway, forcing the residents to overturn their decision through the referendum process. Residents then collected more than 13,000 signitures — nearly double the number needed — in less than 30 days to put Measure AA on the ballot. The people do not want this project!
However, since I have joined the Irvine City Council — and been appointed Vice Chair of the Orange County Great Park by my colleagues — we have succeeded in making a tremendous, positive turn-around in the Great Park’s development. Real, substantial, and exciting progress has been made.
As the Orange County Register recently wrote, ” If you haven’t visited the Orange County Great Park – where you see that big orange balloon from Interstate 5 – in the past few years, you may be surprised by the amount of construction going on and how quickly things are getting built there.”
We are now fulfilling the promise of a truly Great Park that all of us can feel proud of and enjoy!
Here are some of things we’ve already accomplished:
Groundbreaking for new Anaheim Ducks’ 270,000 square-foot community ice skating and practice facility in the Great Park (largest public ice skating facility in the West).
Opened new 5,000-seat Championship Soccer Stadium and numerous other sports fields and facilities in the first phase of 194-acre Great Park Sports Park, the largest of its kind in Orange County — larger than Disneyland and Disney California Adventure combined.
Great Park Sports Complex presented with the Orange County Business Council’s Turning Red Tape into Red Carpet Award for Public-Private Partnership.
Great Park Championship Stadium became home of Orange County Soccer Club, Orange County’s only professional soccer team and official affiliate partner of the Los Angeles Football Club (LAFC) of Major League Soccer (MLS). Orange County SC is a part of the United Soccer League (USL), the fastest growing Division II professional soccer league in the world comprised of 34 teams across the United States.
Begun construction of a 2.5 mile nature corridor at the eastern end of the park. It is intended to be a pathway for bobcats, coyotes, California gnatcatchers and other wildlife species to move safely between the Santa Ana Mountains and the coast. The corridor, accessible only to wildlife, is expected to open mid-2019.
101 acres of Great Park Sports complex completed, including six new soccer/lacrosse fields; a natural turf flex field that can accommodate four additional soccer fields, four basketball courts available for drop-in use, and more.
At our last Irvine City Council meeting, the Great Park’s Interim Director, Pete Carmichael, presented us with the latest Great Park Progress Report, which I want to share with you.
You can positively impact the next phase of development by the Great Park Cultural Terrace by becoming involved in the grass-roots organizations that are working toward a Great Park botanical garden and a natural history museum:
As you can see, we’ve accomplished a lot. I am very proud of our residents, our city staff, and our community partners for all we’ve done so far, and I look forward to continuing to fulfill the promise of a truly Great Great Park!
The leaders of the distinguished environmental group Laguna Greenbelt recently issued a strong statement urging voters to support Yes on Irvine’s Measure B in order to facilitate the creation of a veterans cemetery on the site known as the strawberry fields.
Laguna Greenbelt is a grassroots organization that has worked ceaselessly to protect wildlife habitat in Orange County since 1968. Over the last fifty years, it has led efforts to preserve a coastal wilderness area that is now 22,000 beautiful acres. Today Laguna Greenbelt continues to defend this iconic landscape for the sake of its wild inhabitants and the people who love it.
The Measure B Strawberry Fields Veterans Cemetery site is bisected by the lower part of the “Central Reach” of the Nature Greenbelt, which is crucial to preserving our environmental heritage.
One of Laguna Greenbelt’s major projects has been the creation of an essential nature corridor across Irvine to connect the coastal wildlife habitat west of the I-5, to the much larger open space of the Santa Ana Mountains, including the Cleveland National Forest.
Last March, I had the opportunity to join Laguna Greenbelt President Elisabeth Brown, Ph.D, along with Irvine Mayor Donald P. Wagner and Councilwoman Christina Shea at the groundbreaking ceremony for the Orange County Great Park Wildlife Corridor.
As envisioned by Laguna Greenbelt, this nature corridor will link our coastal wilderness with the Santa Ana Mountains/Cleveland National Forest and will ensure the health and future of wildlife and their habitat in our region’s 22,000 acres of coastal parks.
As the leaders of Laguna Greenbelt noted, “A cemetery built on the strawberry-growing site [i.e., the Yes on Measure B site] would be bisected by the wildlife corridor, greatly increasing the amount of green space available to the animals. The lush greenery of the cemetery would help support wildlife to feed and mingle before moving on. In contrast, the original cemetery site on Irvine Blvd is not near the wildlife corridor, and would have no benefits for wildlife movement or encouraging genetic mixing. Animals moving downslope from the mountains that found their way to the cemetery across busy Irvine Blvd would be blocked from moving safely inland or seaward. Surrounded by urban development and Irvine Blvd on all sides, the cemetery would be just another isolated fragment of open space”
For this reason, they “urge Irvine voters to approve the land swap in June, and vote yes on Measure B.”
“Last September, the City of Irvine agreed to a land swap with developer Five Point Communities. This moved the cemetery site to land near the Spectrum V development and the I-5/I-405 interchange. The gently sloping new site is currently being used as agricultural land to grow strawberries. In exchange, the city deeded over the parcel along Irvine Blvd, where the cemetery was originally planned. After the land swap was completed, the City deeded the new site to the State of California, which is responsible for building the cemetery.
There is now controversy over whether the land swap is in the best interest of the City of Irvine. Political squabbles aside, Laguna Greenbelt, Inc., would like the public to consider the land swap’s merits through the lens of land use principles, open space preservation, and wildlife movement.
Representatives of Laguna Greenbelt, FivePoint, and the City of Irvine at the groudbreaking for the Great Park Nature Corridor in March 2018.
Our grassroots organization has been working with the City of Irvine since before 2000, and since 2012 also with the developer Five Point Communities, to design and complete an essential wildlife corridor across Irvine to connect coastal wildlife habitat west of the I-5, to the much larger open space of the Santa Ana Mountains (including Cleveland National Forest). This wildlife corridor, that we have come to call the Coast to Cleveland Wildlife Corridor, is currently taking shape on the only possible route that will ensure that the coastal wild lands, including Shady and Bommer Canyons, and several other parks and preserves, will not wither and die over time (ecologically speaking), throwing away hundreds of millions of dollars that the community has invested over the many decades it took to set aside and manage our parks and preserves.
In mid-March, as a community, we celebrated the groundbreaking of the last stretch of the wildlife corridor between the Santa Ana Mountains and the coastal open space. In short, it’s a dating corridor for wildlife, at a time when they are increasingly isolated from one another by multi-lane roadways and urban development.
The event was important; the corridor is about 6 miles long, and the stretch under construction will be almost half of that, as it crosses Irvine between Irvine Blvd and the I-5. The so-called Great Park stretch will be entirely on the former Base, but not near the park. Instead, it will be adjacent to future urban development around the park on the East side, and, depending on the June fifth vote, it might meet the Veterans Cemetery.
When considering land uses that will be neighbors of habitat and wildlife corridors, it’s clear that some are better than others. Animals exploring for food, cover, and water are spooked and avoid moving towards noisy areas with human activity, lights, cars, unfamiliar smells, and domestic pets. Land uses that are quiet at night and minimize human activity near a wildlife corridor are favorable for animals moving through the area, allowing them to continue on their journeys.
In general, a cemetery is one of the best complementary land uses for natural areas and wildlife; a dark and quiet place at night, when many animals are active. However, in real estate, it’s all about the location, and one of the sites proposed for the Veterans Cemetery is much better than the other for animals traveling along the corridor.
A cemetery built on the strawberry-growing site would be bisected by the wildlife corridor, greatly increasing the amount of green space available to the animals. The lush greenery of the cemetery would help support wildlife to feed and mingle before moving on.
In contrast, the original cemetery site on Irvine Blvd is not near the wildlife corridor, and would have no benefits for wildlife movement or encouraging genetic mixing. Animals moving downslope from the mountains that found their way to the cemetery across busy Irvine Blvd would be blocked from moving safely inland or seaward. Surrounded by urban development and Irvine Blvd on all sides, the cemetery would be just another isolated fragment of open space.
The health and future of wildlife and their habitat in 22,000 acres of coastal parks rides on the success of the wildlife corridor. The land swap supports the bottom line, too: In sheer dollars, so much has been invested in our public lands, don’t we want to protect our investment? We urge Irvine voters to approve the land swap in June, and vote yes on Measure B.”
Learn more about the Coast to Cleveland Corridor here.
Elisabeth M. Brown, PhD is a biologist and the president of Laguna Greenbelt, Inc. She has resided in Orange County for 51 years. Elisabeth’s involvement in managing local wildlands has included founding roles in the Nature Reserve of OC and the Coastal Greenbelt Authority.
Gabriela Worrel is the outreach coordinator at Laguna Greenbelt, Inc and a freelance writer. She is a Southern California native currently living in Los Angeles, and holds degrees in biology (Westmont College) and urban planning (UC Irvine).
To learn more about why it is so important to Vote YES on Measure B, please see:
As the daughter of an Orange County Korean War combat veteran, I am proud to have participated in making sure that Orange County’s veterans – who have sacrificed so much for us – will at last have a final resting place close to their families and loved ones.