Former school site slated for residential development

Irvine City Council OKs move that allows for 48 homes and generates more than $12 million for the school district.

October 01, 2011|By Sarah Peters

IRVINE — In one swoop that both generates more than $12 million for the school district and worry among some residents, the City Council cleared the way this week for 48 homes to replace a former elementary school.

The resolution to change the zoning designation of the former Alderwood Basics Elementary School site from institutional to residential was approved unanimously by the City Council after a two-hour staff presentation and public hearing.

"We believe that the project is very compatible with the surrounding community, and it represents a type of housing that the community told us that they would like to see built on the site," said Ken Coulter, spokesman for William Lyon Homes, the developer of the project.


While the development adjacent to Woodbridge Village will provide more than $12 million to the Irvine Unified School District, many of the village's residents turned out to the meeting to voice concerns over traffic, parking and proposed changes to neighboring Fallbrook Park.

Once built, the homes will be annexed into the Woodbridge Village Assn., according to a staff presentation.

"I can appreciate the schools' need for the funds, but the truth of the matter is that you cannot put that many homes there," resident Erin Regnier told the council on Tuesday night.

Regnier cited concerns over the proposed entrance to the development on Fallbrook, a narrow street already plagued by speeding motorists.

"It just cannot be sustained," she concluded.

The proposed 6.2-acre development would also diminish the amount of open green space adjacent to Fallbrook Park, which formerly served as the sports field for the elementary school.

Many of the attending residents asked developers to maintain the open space, while other public comments were directed at the Woodbridge Village Assn. to forego plans for lighted volleyball courts and a water "splash pad" at Fallbrook Park.

"The new homes will be new homes in a seasoned community, and the people living there now should not feel like they are guests in a community that was developed for 48 new families," Mayor Pro Tem Beth Krom said. "A community doesn't want to hear that they are whining about nothing — this is not nothing. These are your partners, they can be your friends or they can be your worst nightmare."

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