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.
Last night the Irvine Planning Commission held a Special Meeting immediately following their regular, twice-monthly meeting to discuss an emergency agenda item regarding the Rancho San Joaquin golf course. The Planning Commission proposed a resolution to uphold the City's General Plan with no changes to be considered for the RSJ golf course. The vote was 5-0 in favor of the resolution.
This decision means that if a General Plan amendment application was submitted to the Planning Commission by a developer to change the zoning of the RSJ golf course to allow additional development on the golf course property, it will be denied by the Planning Commission.
Here's what one of our Irvine residents observed during the meeting:
"The Irvine Planning Commission met last night in a special meeting to address the looming issue about the possible sale of the golf course to Mo Honarkar. About 100 pumped-up residents with signs packed the meeting room and spilled out into the halls.
After two hours of public comment (with dozens more waiting to comment, including me) the Chairman [Greg Smith] paused the meeting and told the crowd that he'd allow all comments to be heard but given that it was now 9:45 pm perhaps everyone would rather hear 'action' than additional comments. He hinted that the commissioners had heard enough and would like to move on to discussion and a vote. We applauded with a 'go-ahead.'
"They discussed for 10 minutes, then voted at 9:55 pm. It was a resounding 5-0 in favor of a motion proposed by Commissioner Anthony Kuo that said they would not consider any request for a zoning change of the golf course property. It means that any such application would die at their level.
"The Commissioners got a standing ovation. The Chairman said in all his years in City government he had never been applauded like that by attendees of a public meeting. His response to us was, 'This happened because you were organized, reasonable and of one voice.'"
Our RSJ Golf Course Coalition thanks Planning Commissioner Anthony Kuo for placing this item on the agenda. We also thank Chair Greg Smith for calling the special meeting. And, we thank ALL of the Planning Commissioners who voted to affirm the continued designation under the General Plan of the current zoning for the RSJ Golf Course site:
This same agenda item to uphold the General Plan will be on the City Council meeting agenda which will be held on Tuesday, August 28th. We ask for everyone's support to attend and/or speak at this next City Council meeting. Be sure to add yourself to our email list on the website's main page so that you can receive details on attending the August 28th meeting.
The Rancho San Joaquin golf course is part of a contiguous wildlife corridor for a variety of migratory birds and wildlife. Because of this, it's one of the best birding locations in Southern California. Over 282 bird species, including 170 regularly-occurring species have been observed in this area.
View just some of the 282 bird species spotted on the RSJ golf course by one of our Irvine residents who lives in Rancho San Joaquin. The photos of these beautiful birds were all taken at the RSJ golf course.
Here are some photos taken by our coalition's expert photographer :-) of the first of two meetings that were held for the community on Sunday, August 12th. The crowd was even larger at the second meeting!
Thanks to all who attended, and we especially thank our special guests: Councilmembers Christina Shea and Melissa Fox, Planning Commissioner Anthony Kuo, Community Services Commissioner Lauren Johnson-Norris, Transportation Commissioner Carrie O'Malley, and City Council candidates Kev Abazajian, Farrah Khan, Frank McGill, and Jaci Woods. (Anthony, Lauren and Carrie are also running for City Council.)
Also, view the presentation slides from the Community Meeting:
One of our Irvine residents who attended our Sunday, August 12th community meeting about the RSJ golf course, wrote to us and sent this photo he took that evening by the golf course.
"...I took this photo on my way home from this evening’s meeting, which shows a flock of Canadian geese on a twilight flight above the the golf course while the Crescent moon shines above."
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.
An Irvine resident hung a banner near the Rancho San Joaquin golf course. Looks like momentum is building from our Irvine residents who want to protect the RSJ golf course as an open space amenity!
Due to overwhelming response, we added a second session to our Community meeting on protecting the RSJ golf course. Same day, Sunday, August 12th but at a later time 6:30pm-7:30pm. (Same location too.)
The exact same presentation and information will be provided at this second session. Sign up by clicking on the button below.
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.
UPDATE August 7th: Due to overwhelming support, we just added a second session -- same day Sunday, August 12th but at 6:30pm-7:30pm. Register here for the second session
The Rancho San Joaquin Golf Course property is for sale. Attend this meeting to learn more about the sale and how you can help preserve this valued open space and recreational amenity for all Irvine residents.
You must Register for the meeting in order to attend. Only those who register will be admitted inside the venue due to the limited space.