This past Friday, our coalition received a copy of a letter dated August 16th which was written by Ronald S. Cortez, CFO and Vice Chancellor of UCI's Division of Finance and Administration. The letter was forwarded to us by P. Alberto Sandoval, UCI Senior Director of Strategic Communications & Public Affairs.
The letter is addressed to Mo Honarkar who is the potential buyer of the Rancho San Joaquin golf course, and who has proposed to build UCI student housing on the golf course property at University and Harvard. Read the letter from UCI
In the letter Vice Chancellor Cortez states the following to Mr. Honarkar:
"...As we discussed, UCI has many student housing projects in various stages of development, and we are positioned to accommodate the on-campus housing needs of our students. As such, we cannot partner with you or assist you in your development plans at this time." *
Vice Chancellor Cortez continues on and states:
"As we indicated previously, affordable housing for students in our community remains a priority. We remain supportive of affordable student housing projects; however, we are not in a position to endorse external housing projects." *
In addition, Mr. Sandoval who forwarded Vice Chancellor Cortez's letter to us, stated in an email to us:
"Thank you for your interest in the future of San Joaquin Golf Course and how it relates to UCI. As a result of your email, I investigated UCI’s position on the project. I can confirm that the university is not participating in the redevelopment of the golf course and is not endorsing the developer’s plans for student housing. The attached letter [from Vice Chancellor Cortez] makes our intentions clear." *
* Bold text added for emphasis
We believe Vice Chancellor Cortez makes clear that UCI has no interest in cooperating with Mr. Honarkar on his proposal to build "external" student housing on the RSJ golf course property.
Coupled with the Planning Commission's 5-0 vote on August 16th to reaffirm the General Plan and current zoning for the RSJ golf course, we hope this letter from UCI gives comfort to our Irvine community that UCI has no interest in student housing to be built on the golf course.
The potential buyer of the Rancho San Joaquin golf course has proposed to build an 800-unit housing development on 25 acres on the golf course at the corner of Harvard and University.
But what does 25 acres look like? And how much open space on the golf course will be taken up by this proposed development?
We took a satellite image of the golf course on Google Maps and used a common mapmaker tool that measures acreage drawn on the map, and here's what we came up with (view larger image):
You be the judge. But in our opinion, this would be a massive development in an existing community. Add to that 3,200 residents or students to the mix and you have a massive increase in traffic and congestion in addition to what Irvine residents and commuters are already experiencing along Culver, Harvard, Michelson and University.
Not only would this type of proposed development require a drastic change to the City's General Plan, it would require a major zoning change to Irvine's Planning Area 19, which encompasses the golf course.
This type of massive high-density development is totally incongruent to the existing Irvine villages of Rancho San Joaquin, University Town Center and University Park, and hopefully our Irvine City Council and our Planning Commission agrees.
Take action and write to our City officials and let them know that development on the RSJ golf course should not happen and they should not even consider changing the General Plan and zoning for Planning Area 19.
The potential buyer of the Rancho San Joaquin golf course has proposed to build a multi-story, 800-unit, high density student housing complex on 25 acres of the golf course property. But what might this look like?
At 800 units on 25 acres, we estimate that that's about 30 units per acre. Thus, based on this building density we looked around our local area to see if we could find a development that's close to what's being proposed for the golf course property.
And we came across an apartment complex that's 4 stories and is about the same density, 30 units per acre. Take a look and see what you think:
,Keep in mind that the level of detail, finish and exterior landscaping shown in the photos are probably at a higher level than one might find for something like a lower-cost development like student housing.
Aside from taking away our valued open space, a development like this will be totally incongruent to the “village” designs of Rancho San Joaquin, University Town Center, and University Park. And having 3200 additional residents will increase traffic on our already clogged streets, especially on Culver, Harvard, Michelson and University.
As they say, a picture is worth a thousand words as these four photos, unfortunately, prove.