More than 2,000 undeveloped acres will be turned over to the county today as part of a long-standing agreement with the Irvine Co. that calls for the dedication in exchange for new housing development. The land transfer involves three parcels. The largest expands the 600-acre Laguna Coast wilderness by more than two-thirds; the other two parcels, on the northwest and southeast sides of Newport Coast Drive, are expected to be open to the public eventually. The donated land features scenic ridge lines, canyons and natural grasses, and is home to a variety of wildlife.
The dedication, scheduled for 1 p.m. at the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, completes a large-scale land turnover by the Irvine Co. and becomes the largest park dedication in county history. It links a portion of Newport Beach by the San Joaquin Hills toll road to a system of ridges that overlooks downtown Laguna Beach. "It is a total of 5,215 acres that we've dedicated as a condition of our 2,600-home development along Newport Coast," said Irvine Co. spokesman Paul Kranhold. The county is expected to approve that development today.