Is the Fix in for the “Build the Great Park Now” Effort?

Balloon Ride at The Great Park Irvine

Balloon Ride at The Great Park Irvine

Hot off the press, this email from Matt Smith, the president of the Irvine Democratic Club, urging Irvine Democrats to attend a special Planning Commission meeting regarding a faux grassroots group called “Build the Great Park Now” that seems more intent on turning the Great Park into a massive sports complex instead of the master planned site that Irvine voters were pitched when the Airport was defeated.

Here’s Matt’s Letter:

Dear Irvine Democrats,

I just wanted to pass along the following message concerning development plans for the Great Park:

I know how much you care about Irvine’s future, so I wanted to make you aware of an urgent matter that has not been adequately covered in the local press.

There is a big push by Five Point Communities, private developer at the Great Park, to get approval for another 5000 houses. They have proposed building a sports complex in exchange for the entitlement, but my sense is that their real agenda is to gain control of the public park development. 

To advance that interest, a “faux” grassroots group called “Build the Great Park Now” was created to push for a massive sports park for big tournaments rather than the more community oriented and visionary plan for the park reflected in Ken Smith’s master-plan. Interestingly, the man heading up “Build the Great Park Now” is Guy Lemmon who was heavily involved in the plot to privatize and commercialize the OC Fairgrounds. This is all about what developers want — when the real question should be “how does this benefit the citizens of Irvine?”

Control the park. Create commercial features. Stick the next High School up near Musick Jail and a capped landfill…does that sound like “the Irvine Way?” 

The Council Majority of Choi, Shea and Lalloway seems ready to sign off, so it’s rush, rush, rush…

There is a presentation being made at Planning Commission tomorrow night and next Thursday a SPECIAL Planning Commission meeting has been scheduled when two Commissioners (the two “smart growth” commissioners) will be unable to attend.

This is such a departure from Irvine’s historic commitment to thoughtful planning and respect for process. Can you spell DONE DEAL?

If people don’t show up to demand that the Great Park Masterplan be respected, that the siting of the High School be resolved before any new entitlement applications are entertained and that the public process that has made Irvine America’s most successful planned community be driven, not by an artificial timeframe (developer wants approval by early December) they will claim that the people are with them

Can you attend the Planning Commission Meeting tomorrow night and next Thursday? Both meetings are at 5:30. Here’s the link to tomorrow night’s agenda: 

The Five Point Entitlement application presentation is up first. It was agendized by Choi’s Planning Commissioner.

If you know others who care about planning in Irvine and believe in the public vision for the Great Park, please encourage them to come. 

I don’t want to see the public park vision run off the rails and I don’t want to see major entitlement applications rammed through without public participation. If there is merit to the proposal, it should withstand public scrutiny. The people of Irvine have the greatest stake in the continuing success of our community.

Let me know if you are prepared to get engaged. Encourage others to do the same.