The City of Irvine is finalizing its Housing Element plan, which will be the city's guide on where its future housing will be built -- especially affordable housing -- for its growing population. (All cities in California are required to file an Housing Element plan with the state.)
One of our Coalition to Protect Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course members, Ford Fujii, spoke at the city's Planning Commission meetings on July 1st and July 15th at Irvine City Hall to advocate to protect our recreational amenities such as the RSJ Golf Course and the Racquet Club of Irvine (RCI).
As a result, the Coalition confirmed that both the RSJ Golf Course and RCI properties will not be included on the city's list of inventory sites for future housing development as part of the city's Housing Element plan.
This means the commercial recreation zoning for the RSJ Golf Course and RCI is unlikely to change -- though we will need to remain vigilant.
View the video clip below in which Marika Poynter, City of Irvine Principal Planner, states at the July 15th Planning Commission meeting that the RSJ Golf Course and RCI are excluded from the city's Housing Element plan's list of inventory sites for future housing:
Video Clip of Marika Poynter, City of Irvine Principal Planner
At the July 15, 2021 Planning Commission Meeting
And view the video clip below of Coalition member Ford Fujii speaking at the July 15th Planning Commission meeting during the public comments session to advocate for our existing recreational amenities.
Video Clip of Ford Fujii, Coalition to Protect RSJ Golf Course Member
At the July 15, 2021 Planning Commission Meeting
"South Irvine has a limited amount of recreational open space and once it is gone, it is gone forever."
Irvine is blessed with recreational amenities for our residences, and we have learned from the Covid pandemic that residences need an outlet for outdoor recreation such as golf, tennis, hiking, and just communing with nature.
As Irvine's population continues to grow past 300,000, opportunities for recreation are even more important for our residences who have chosen to live in Irvine because of its amenities.
The Coalition to Protect RSJ Golf Course appreciates the continued support for our recreational amenities from the Irvine city staff, the Planning Commission, our Irvine City Council -- but especially our Irvine communities and the many residences who spoke out to protect the RSJ Golf Course and other recreational amenities!
As Irvine residents, we have much to be thankful for: Irvine award-winning schools, a world-class university at UC Irvine, excellent master planning from our city staff, and open space and commercial recreation amenities that are second to none.
ALL of these features are what makes Irvine a great place to live!
It's been 3 years since we successfully protected the RSJ Golf Course from redevelopment. Unfortunately, our community is facing a new, similar threat as the Racquet Club of Irvine seeks to (again) rezone and sell off part of its property for a high-rise development. Read on for more details and on how you and your neighbours can help!
As reported in a recent Irvine Watchdog article "Attempt To Rezone RCI, Part 2: 'Putting Lipstick On a Pig'", the owner of the Racquet Club of Irvine, which is located next to the Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course, is again trying to rezone his property to build a 5-story "luxury" senior living facility.
But to do this, the owner must convince the Irvine City Council to overturn a council resolution passed in 2019 that upholds RCI's commerical recreation zoning.
How does this affect the RSJ Golf Course?
Thanks to your help, the City Council unanimously passed a similar resolution in 2018 to uphold the recreation zoning of the golf course. At that time, the golf course coalition and the community were grateful knowing that the City Council values and wants to protect the RSJ golf course.
In 2019, the Irvine community spoke up again when the RCI owner tried to rezone his property and sell it to KB Homes for a multi-story development. Again, the City Council supported the community by unanimously passing a resolution to uphold RCI's recreational zoning.
But this could change if we don't remain vigilent and continue to speak up to the City Council.
If the City Council allows RCI to be rezoned for development, the Council will have to void their resolution that upholds the RCI's recreational zoning.
If the City Council voids the RCI resolution, we will have no assurance that we can rely on the Council's promise to continue to retain the RSJ golf course resolution and its current zoning.
Take 5 minutes and email the City Council -- TODAY!
Send an email to the Irvine City Councilmembers and urge the councilmembers to continue to protect RCI and Irvine's other recreational amenities:
If you need help on what to say, use one or more of these talking points. But write the email in your own words. Including a personal story on how RCI and other recreational amenities benefit you & your family is a bonus. 😊
Thank you for your support for the RSJ golf course, and please write the City Council to urge them to protect ALL our recreational amenities including RCI and the RSJ golf course!
The new owner of the Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course has been making numerous improvements to the golf course, including:
The Protect RSJ Golf Course Coalition thanks the new owner for investing in a recreational amenity that is valued by the residents of Irvine, and to make RSJ Golf Course one of the best places to play golf in Orange County!
"A prominent Laguna Beach real estate investor is on the brink of foreclosure on a $195.5-million loan backed by a portfolio of 19 properties, including the Hive complex, Royal Hawaiian restaurant, and Holiday Inn on South Coast Highway.
"4G Ventures CEO Mohammad Honarkar was supposed to pay the approximately $133 million remaining on the loan, held by Delaware-based LCC Warehouse, by Dec. 9, but he did not do so, according to a lawsuit filed in Orange County Superior Court against Honarkar’s companies earlier this month.
"The lawsuit, along with a report filed in a separate case by an attorney who acted as a court-appointed receiver in Honarkar’s divorce proceedings, detail an empire of assets that’s mired by debt, lags behind on many months of bills and is close to financial collapse."
Drive Shack Inc., the owner of Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course, announced on Monday, October 19th that they have sold the RSJ golf course to a private investment group for $34.5 million.
American Golf, a subsidiary of Drive Shack, will continue to operate the RSJ golf course under a management agreement for now.
The Coalition to Protect Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course will continue to monitor the situation and we will share updates with the Irvine community on this sale once it becomes known and is verified by the coalition.
But the Coalition welcomes the new owner of RSJ golf course to our Irvine community!
The Save RCI group is asking the community to attend this coming Irvine City Council meeting, which is on Tuesday, August 13th. Those attending should plan to arrive by 5pm.
The Council will consider a resolution to affirm that "it has not intent to change the General Plan and/or Zoning Ordinance designations applicable to the RCI property."
City Councilmember Mike Carroll, along with Mayor Christina Shea announced at their July 11th town hall meeting on their plans to introduce this resolution at the CC meeting. And the Save RCI group hopes that Councilmembers Anthony Kuo, Farrah Khan and Melissa Fox will also vote in favor of the resolution.
Read the City of Irvine memo on this proposed RCI resolution.
The Save RCI group reported that the RCI property owners, the Spearman family and KB Home withdrew their application to build 123 condos/homes on the property, but have since been talking to City Council members and others about building 49 homes.
But the Save RCI group states that they "do not believe that this attempt to coopt the [RCI] resolution has affected the resolve of any of the City Council members."
The Save RCI group further states that those who plan to attend the August 13th CC meeting should wear a yellow neon shirt to show solidarity.
And if any attendees plan to speak, to keep it respectful and short. The group will pass out yellow-colored flyers saying "Save RCI!" to hold up in the audience.
For more information on the RCI zoning resolution and the August 13th CC meeting, visit the SaveRCI.com website.
According to the Save RCI group, Irvine City Councilmember Mike Carroll, along with Mayor Christina Shea, announced that they will place a resolution on the agenda for the August 13th City Council meeting to "1) confirm there is no intent to change the General Plan or Zoning Code and 2) reaffirm that the [Racquet Club of Irvine] site shall remain designated for recreation."
Below is Councilmember Carroll's full statement that was published on his Facebook page at www.facebook.com/IrvineMikeCarroll:
"Last night, I held my first Town Hall meeting, joined by Mayor Christina Shea and over 200 residents. The topic was the proposed re-zoning of the Racquet Club of Irvine (RCI) site from commercial recreation to residential housing. We were moved by amount of citizen participation and thank everyone for attending. The path forward is clear. Today, we are placing a Resolution on August 13, 2019 City Council meeting agenda to (1) confirm there is no intent to change the General Plan or Zoning Code and (2) reaffirm that the site shall remain designated for recreation."
A memo dated July 12th detailing this decision has been issued by Councilmember Carroll and Mayor Shea, which is addressed to City Manager John Russo. The memo instructs the City Manager to place the resolution on the August 13th City Council meeting agenda. Read the memo
For more information on Carroll's and Shea's announcement regarding the RCI property, visit the SaveRCI.com website.
Members of our Protect RSJ Golf Course Coalition have recently learned that the developer KB Homes has submitted an application to the City of Irvine to change our city's General Plan to build 123 homes on the Racquet Club of Irvine (RCI) property.
The RCI property is about 11 acres near the intersection of Culver and Michelson, and is currently the home to a popular tennis club in south Irvine. In January, the owner of RCI wrote a letter stating that he is exploring a zone change for the property for possible sale to a developer.
Satellite map of RCI property near Michelson & Culver
Based on the size of the property (11 acres) and KB Homes' intent to build 123 homes, we believe the development may consist of a combination of 3-story attached townhomes with some attached single-family and/or duplex homes, all offered at market-rate prices.
A change in our city's General Plan to build more homes that go beyond the current General Plan will:
What Can I Do To Help?
The Irvine City Council and the City of Irvine Planning Commission wants to hear from YOU, the community, on KB Homes' proposed General Plan change, as well as their wish to build 123 homes on the RCI property.
Here's how you can help:
Your voice will make a difference! Especially when it comes to our city's master planned community which is guided by our city's General Plan.
Tips on Speaking at a Meeting
Thank you for your continued support and we hope to see you at either the Planning Commission meeting or the City Council meeting!
Questions? Contact us
Each year, the City of Irvine Mayor presents a "State of the City" address to the public at Irvine City Hall. This year's address took place at the February 12th city council meeting.
During Mayor Don Wagner's speech, he mentioned the City Council protecting the Rancho San Joaquin golf course from unwanted development as being one of the key highlights from this past year. Observers thought this got the loudest applause from the mayor's speech! Watch the short video clip below.
A few members of our Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course Coalition met recently with a representative from KB Homes on their interest in potentially purchasing the RCI property for a proposed residential development.
Part of the meeting was spent discussing the expected community opposition to any application to change the city’s General Plan and zoning to allow residential development on the RCI property.
Toward the end of the meeting, as part of KB Homes' due diligence they indicated that they found it unsuitable to move forward with the acquisition of the RCI property.