Some homeowners say that plans for construction of 17 large two-story houses are out of character with their 20-year-old Parkside neighborhood and could significantly lower property values.
Standard Pacific Co. is seeking a zoning change to construct the houses on a 3.2-acre lot at University Drive and Yale Avenue. The property, owned by the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, is zoned for institutional use.
When the property was sold by the Irvine Co. in 1974 to the church, it was intended to be a church site, said resident Bill Cogen, who is leading the opposition to the development.
"The people who bought homes here in 1974 were told that it would be a church," Cogen said. "There is a moral and ethical responsibility that the site be used for its original purpose."
The deed includes a 25-year prohibition against construction of anything but a church on the property, according to a letter sent by Irvine Co. attorney John E. Pope to Cogen last month. But the Irvine Co. is willing to allow the building of homes on the property, Pope said.
At a homeowners association meeting in May, residents voted 64-50 against granting the zoning change.
But Bill Cote, president of Parkside Community Assn., said Standard Pacific has made numerous concessions that will limit the effect of the development on surrounding homes. Cote said the association's directors are in unanimous support of the project.