Irvine Great Park plan gets planners’ OK

By Kimberly Pierceall

IRVINE – Developer FivePoint Communities’ earlier approved plan for sports fields, a golf course and trails for 688 acres at the Great Park was given the technical go-ahead Thursday with a 3-2 vote by Irvine’s Planning Commission.

The developer’s plan, approved late last year by the Irvine City Council, required the Great Park’s original master plan designed by New York landscape architect Ken Smith to be modified before the company could seek permits to start construction.

The approval prompted the usual devisive discussion of the Great Park’s development history and merits of Smith’s original master plan (or lack thereof).

Planning Commissioner Harvey Liss called the process of approving the master plan modification after the City Council’s approval of the plan late last year, a “sham” and FivePoint’s plan itself a “complete overthrow and destruction” of the original plan.

Commission Chair Anthony Kuo disagreed with the characterization.

“Frankly, what I call a sham, is calling what’s out there right now a Great Park,” Kuo said.

Planning Commissioner Mary Ann Gaido said Thursday’s approval was another example of helping developer FivePoint boost its home values at the expense of the public. Liss said it was tragic to see a public resource turned over to the needs and desires of a private developer.

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