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Irvine City Council delays decision on Great Park plan

November 13, 2013|By Paloma Esquivel

Following a meeting that stretched past midnight, the Irvine City Council voted Wednesday to delay for two weeks a decision on whether to allow a developer to build 688 acres of the Orange County Great Park in exchange for the right to construct thousands of additional homes around the site’s perimeter.

“It is clear from staff’s presentation tonight that they have conducted just a partial analysis of the impacts of this offer and more work is required,” said Mayor Pro Tem Jeff Lalloway.

The vote to delay came after an hours-long discussion that included detailed presentations from the developer and city staff followed by dozens of members of the public who took turns expressing views on both sides of the debate.

Many urged the council to take more time to consider the proposal. Others said the city had waited long enough.  

“No more reviews, no more studying and no more political posturing. Let’s build the Great Park,” said Dick Owens, a 27-year resident of the city.

A little after 1 a.m., with a few dozen observers still in the audience, the council voted 3 to 2 to delay the vote. Lalloway and council members Beth Krom and Larry Agran voted in favor of the delay. Mayor Steven Choi and council member Christina Shea voted no.  

“It’s time to build this park. We promised we were going to build this park,” Shea said. “We can find every excuse in the world for why we’re not going to build this park, and I’m not going to do it anymore.”

Lalloway said he “enthusiastically supports” the developer’s proposal but that details of the plan still need to be hashed out. He noted that he has questions about design features, construction progress and the park's operations and maintenance.

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