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Court faults Irvine in suits

Court: Irvine did not do proper research on how two large-scale housing developments would affect Newport, Tustin.

April 28, 2008|By Brianna Bailey

An Orange County Superior Court judge has ruled in favor of Newport Beach and Tustin in two lawsuits challenging two Irvine housing developments near John Wayne Airport. Newport received word of the ruling Friday.

In both suits, Newport and Tustin argued Irvine violated state law and approved building projects in the area known as the Irvine Business Complex near John Wayne Airport without doing the proper research on how it would affect the environment. The court agreed Irvine officials did not properly address what environmental impact the projects would have on Newport and Tustin.

Newport officials were concerned the Martin Street Project, a more than 400-unit condominium development in Irvine, and the 290-unit apartment Avalon Bay complex at 2851 Alton Parkway would add traffic on Newport streets and tax city parks.

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“They [Irvine] said, ‘Trust us, we’re known for good planning, and we know what they’re doing.’ But that wasn’t enough for us,” Newport Beach Mayor Ed Selich said. “...We didn’t want to litigate — they simply forced us to.”

The court ruling leaves the fate of the two housing developments up in the air, Irvine Assistant City Atty. Jeff Melching said. The ruling doesn’t state with any certainty what will happen with the two building projects, he said.

“Obviously we’re disappointed with the outcome, and we’re studying the judge’s rationale,” Melching said. “We will have to form a recommendation on where the city will go next.”

Newport Beach has continued to monitor development in the Irvine Business Complex since filing the two suits, vigilant to how such projects could affect Newport, said Newport City Atty. Robin Clauson.

“A lot of what we do from here will depend on where Irvine goes in response to this recent court opinion,” Clauson said.


BRIANNA BAILEY may be reached at (714) 966-4625 or at brianna.bailey@latimes.com.

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