Orange County


Irvine Embraces Infill

Jamboree Road might not become the next Park Avenue, but a new vision plan recently completed by the City of Irvine signals a major shift away from the suburban lifestyle of Orange County. One of the early cities to pioneer the strict segregation of office-park style commercial development from master-planned residential areas, Irvine will be allowing thousands of new residential units into its business core in the coming decades. 

Liquidation of State Property Puts Costa Mesa Voters in Control of Fairgrounds

Whether or not the state’s “fleet reduction” plan to sell 11 properties for an estimated $2 billion makes the slightest bit of fiscal sense remains to be seen (see CP&DR Blog April 29, 2010). As the state wallows in a $20 billion deficit, the most palpable impacts of the sale may fall someplace other than Sacramento, including Costa Mesa.

Wary of intensive development of the 150-acre site of the Orange County Fairgrounds, residents of the City of Costa Mesa will vote on whether to amend the city’s general plan requiring voter approval for any future zoning changes or major developments. The intent of the plan is to ensure that any future, post-sale uses will remain consistent with the site’s historical uses.

Another OC City Considers Vesting Zoning Power in Voters

As residents of one of the nation’s oldest master-planned cities, Mission Viejo voters will be asked, essentially, to decide whether the city’s planners got it right the first time.

Measure D, billed by its backers as the “Right to Vote Amendment,” would update the city’s general plan to require all projects seeking a “major amendment of planning policy documents” to not only go through the city’s existing approvals process but also receive final approval via a popular vote. The measure is intended, say backers, to provide an extra layer of protection against projects that might be inconsistent with or detrimental to the city’s character.

Cash-Strapped City Spares No Expense on Lawn Police

If California cities are truly running out of money, how can some of them afford to maintain the yard police?

That’s what I kept thinking when I read the new stories about the City of Orange prosecuting homeowners who replaced their lawn with drought-tolerant plants and bark.

Public Agencies Want OC Fairgrounds Property

With concern rising that a private entity may attempt to purchase the Orange County Fairgrounds for development purposes, public officials are hurrying to put together bids of their own for the 150-acre site just west of the Costa Mesa Freeway.

Irvine, Newport Beach Settle Lawsuit Over Housing Plan

The City of Irvine has agreed to pay the neighboring City of Newport Beach $3.65 million to settle a lawsuit over Irvine’s approval of a mixed-use plan for 2,760 acres. The Irvine Business Complex plan seeks to bring as many as 15,000 housing units in mixed-use developments to an area near John Wayne Airport that is currently dominated by office buildings and industrial parks.

In Brief: OC Planning Department Crisis Continues

In this roundup of news: The Orange County planning director resigns only days after the Board of Supervisors ordered a task force to overhaul the department; Irvine amends its agreement with developers of the old El Toro base; Stockton's downtown redevelopment takes a hit; Santee sues San Diego County over jail expansion; Palo Alto adopts a private street ballot initiative.

OC Planning Department In 'Critical Condition'

Orange County’s Planning & Development Services department “is in critical condition,” according to an internal county audit released in late July.

Public Officials Win Attorney Fees For Suing Own Board

Two members of the board overseeing the Orange County Great Park who sued the public agency over access to executive recruitment information should have their attorney fees paid, the Fourth District Court of Appeal has ruled.

Court Refuses To Consider RHNA Lawsuit

A courtroom is not the location to settle disputes over regional fair-share housing allocations. So ruled the Fourth District Court of Appeal on June 30 in a closely watched case involving the City of Irvine. As a result of the ruling, the city apparently is stuck with having to plan for development of 35,000 additional housing units — equal to about half of its existing inventory – over the next five years.