The Newport Beach City Council focuses a great deal on the upkeep of their city. Keeping their beaches clean and developing new parks is a major issue that they continue to look for new ways to improve upon. The Republican majority City Council recently approved a deal with a developer to push through a new space for a park. They recently approved the Environmental Impact Report for the Banning Ranch, which according to Councilwoman Nancy Gardner “is about 400 acres of oil fields and open space. In return for allowing the development of 1300+ homes, the developer will deed over half the property for parks and open space as well as remediate the oil fields.”
This model of public-private partnership has its pros and cons. Yes, you are getting a new park for your city, but you are also cutting a deal that leaves you less space than you may have originally wanted. Nonetheless, the Republican city council of Newport Beach deemed this to be a good deal and we will have to wait and see just how big the trade-off will be.
This model of public-private partnership, however, is something that the city of Irvine is looking to do as well. Irvine Mayor Pro Tem Jeffrey Lalloway has said that he wants to look into “public-private partnerships” in regards to furthering along development for the Great Park. Is the Irvine City Council hinting at wanting to follow the model of Newport Beach?
It would certainly further along the development of the Great Park, but at what cost? This would give the developer a great deal of say over the park and take a lot of the decision making away from the public. It would surely mean less park space than originally promised, as whatever developer that gets the deal would be sure to get their money’s worth. This blueprint that the Newport Beach city council uses seems to be the same way Irvine is leaning towards. Lets hope the new Republican majority city council doesn’t make too much of a trade off so the Great Park stays big enough to justify the name “Great Park.”