Resident task force for Irvine’s $1B Great Park calls it quits

Group representing neighborhoods fulfilled its mission with approval of development plan

Resident task force for Irvine’s Great Park calls it quits
Mayor Farrah Khan with rendering of Great Park (City of Irvine, Public domain, via Wikimedia Commons, SWA Group, Getty)

A resident task force representing Irvine’s Great Park Neighborhoods has ended after completing its mission to guide the city’s $1 billion effort to establish one of the world’s largest municipal parks.

The city dissolved the Great Parks Task Force, composed of 15 appointed residents, saying it had completed its job after approval of the Great Park’s plan, the Orange County Register reported.

The goal of the task force, founded early last year, was to get a sampling of Great Park residents’ opinions about local projects. It was extended through the end of the year.

“The genesis of the Great Park Task Force was to have residents weigh in as we were building out the Great Park framework,” Kristina Perrigoue, spokeswoman for the city, told the Register.

The Great Park neighborhoods project involves major developers including FIvePoint, Lennar and Almquist.

The lack of an official, board-appointed group means that residents will have less direct access to information about the Great Park Neighborhoods as the city’s 1,200-acre Great Park is developed.

The project is set to include several shopping and dining concepts, including a plan helmed by Almquist to build a community commercial retail center on an 11-acre southern portion of the Great Park Neighborhoods. It is set to bring to the area a grocery store, two drive-through restaurants and other tenants such as a dry cleaner, nail salon and a dentist’s office. More dining options including both sit-down and fast-casual restaurants are also slated for the site.

The retail center’s southern end will connect with the Great Park via a separate proposed food and beverage-focused retail area also planned by the city.

Parisa Yazdani, co-chair of the task force, said not having a task force means that residents will have to rely on each other to get information about things happening in the neighborhoods —  and trust the city will inform them in a timely manner.

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“When we had the task force, we were meeting with city staff once a month and being let known, ‘Hey, this is what’s happening,’” Yazdani said. “And then we were able to funnel that to residents rather than us having to go look for information.

“There’s going to be a lot less access,” she said.

Yazdani and David Lingerfelt, another Great Park Neighborhoods resident, created a club within the homeowners’ association that is independent of the task force. The group, made up of 60 members, aims to encourage involvement by residents.

A task force isn’t required for residents to give their feedback, Lingerfelt said, as long as the city prioritizes residents’ comments.

“Speaking for myself, it’s hard to silence me,” Lingerfelt said. “I gave feedback before the task force (was created) and will continue to do so without it.”

Almquist has been good with resident outreach, Lingerfelt said, and the new club has already met with city staff and Almquist representatives to discuss retail plans.

— Dana Bartholomew

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