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Irvine 'Sub-City' Plan Grossly Irresponsible

June 30, 2002

Re "Irvine 'Sub-City' Plan Attacked," June 10:

The city of Irvine has demonstrated gross irresponsibility in approving a plan for a "sub-city" in an area close to the former El Toro Marine air base. The city leaders fiercely fought against an airport in that area, claiming environmental concerns. The city, though, sees nothing wrong with inviting 35,000 new residents into an already densely populated area of Orange County. What are they thinking? An overwhelming number of cars would be making daily trips on freeways that simply cannot handle such an influx.

This is a warning to the county regarding Irvine's lack of concern for residents of Irvine and other cities. Keep in mind, these are the same people who are working hard to annex the El Toro base. How can we trust them to keep that huge piece of land safe from major over-development?

Lorrie Alexander

Tustin

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Re "Irvine Conundrum: People vs. Farmland," Letters, June 16:

Irvine Co. Senior Vice President Michael LeBlanc states that "the [Northern Sphere] project would add only between 2% and 4% to the traffic on that portion of Interstate 5 over the next 20 years."

The statement is misleading. For one, the concern is not over one portion of the freeway but beyond. Most critical is the segment west of Jamboree and onto the Costa Mesa Freeway. That segment is already operating at below standard. Even a 2% increase would exacerbate the stagnated traffic in the evening rush hours. The traffic study, however, indicated an increase of 5% in that segment from the project.

But one cannot neglect other projects expected to come on line--known and unknown. For known projects alone, the traffic level is expected to increase as much as 33% over the next 20 years, and 13% by as early as 2007. It is these levels of increase that we will encounter yet see no effective response from state or local agencies.

One cannot assume that an ever-increasing number of vehicles can be added to the Santa Ana Freeway without major modifications. But realistically, double-decking a road is no solution to traffic congestion and would not be acceptable to Caltrans, local residents or the city of Tustin.

The anticipated consequence is the inability of motorists to get onto the freeway, or for those "suspended" in traffic on it to abandon that route for adjoining roadways through neighboring communities. The only major roadway paralleling the freeway west of the project is Irvine Boulevard, which is already congested at rush hour. What we will eventually have are "linear parking lots."

David Melvold

Irvine

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Re "What Irvine Really Lacks Is a Sense of Irony," Dana Parsons column, June 19:

Parsons sort of disappointed me with his comparing the Irvine City Hall's resistance to the Northern Sphere development with its strong and long-drawn-out stand against the El Toro airport.

The airport was a one-on-one grudge fight, whereas the Northern Sphere project has another and better option. If City Hall presses for more restrictions and asks for many concessions, the Irvine Co. will just withdraw its development permit application and submit it to the county, which has far less strict requirements. Although the property is within Irvine's "sphere or influence," it is outside its borders. It is an unincorporated area.

The city staff and the council members did a terrific job of negotiating with the Irvine Co. for the benefits of the residents. And they should be commended. Out of the 7,100-acre project, more than half (4,600 acres) will be more parks and more open space. A total of 1,800 units of the 12,350 homes will be affordable housing.

Instead of trying to generate and connect an irony, Parsons and [task force member] Richard Deskin, who both knew about the county option, should have wondered why the Irvine Co. didn't go directly to the county and greatly padded its bottom line. The story on this angle would have given the readers a better insight.

Sam Castelo

Irvine

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Re "Group Wants Irvine Project Put to a Vote," June 21:

I'm a little confused. A spokesman for Newport Beach Defend the Bay says that people moved to Irvine "with the promise there would be open space and agricultural land.... Now to learn it's being taken away, people are mad."

If this is so important to the Defend the Bay folks, why weren't they screaming about building a 28-million-passenger airport right next to this land at El Toro? The airport would have added thousands of vehicle trips per day and dumped thousands of pounds of particulate matter over that area, which, it seems to me, would find its way into the bay they are supposed to be defending.

Steve Knoell

Irvine

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