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Christ College's Plan to Build Apartments

December 04, 1988

Most people in Irvine know that UC Irvine is truly a beautiful landmark, with large shady lawns and beautiful buildings. Many, however, may not be aware that Irvine has another very beautiful school, Christ College of Irvine, a secluded hilltop campus off Ridgeline and University, overlooking the east end of the new addition to Mason Park.

The quaint little chapel is all that is visible from below. The school has recently completed construction on an impressive Library and Arts Building and a truly spectacular 600-seat circular auditorium. There is a very large athletic area on the south side containing spacious fields of manicured grass, a very fine track-and-field setup and one of the better baseball fields in the area. To the west is an open, undeveloped space of about 18 acres that separates the campus from the upper middle class town homes of Turtle Rock, and about 35 acres to the east along Ridgeline Drive. The campus is ideally buffered on all sides.

But what about the future? The school wants to have the 18 acres of undeveloped space rezoned for a high density (possibly upward of 400 units) apartment rental complex in order to generate additional revenue. The first hearing on its request to change the zoning from institutional goes before the City Council in the near future. What a tragedy it would be if the city of Irvine forsakes the Master Plan and allows the school to proceed with such a mistake.

Volumes could be filled with the negative impacts such a development would have on the school, the neighboring housing areas and the city services of Irvine. We the citizens of Irvine insist that the Irvine City Council reject the rezoning request. It will take active participation by all to convince the council.

Yes, a small private school such as Christ College is continually faced with a need for money to support its operations and the fine programs it offers. The Missouri Synod of the Lutheran Church, which owns the college, the commercial and private sectors of Irvine can join together to come up with alternate ways to support the financial needs of the college.

The entire community of Irvine with all its wealth and talents surely can and must come to the aid of the school now. Christ College should not have to ruin its beautiful campus, lose its small-college ambiance, and suffer the overall pollution thrust on it by the "fast buck" game of high-density housing. It's a lose-lose situation for school and community.



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