County Says Thanks For Irvine Co.’s 2,500-Acre Gift
The land could be used for hiking, biking and other recreation when the deal closes, if one supervisor gets his wish.
Nancy Luna & Joanna Clay | 20 November 2014
A 2,500-acre land gift from the Irvine Co. to the county marks the developer’s last large grant and nearly 100 years of open space partnership between the two.
This week, the Board of Supervisors agreed to take the land once slated for more than 5,500 homes in Anaheim Hills and East Orange. The land deal could be completed by late this year or early 2015.
Supervisors considered what it would take to maintain the donated land as permanent open space and whether an endowment provided by the Irvine Co. would be sufficient to manage the land in perpetuity.
Supervisor Todd Spitzer, who oversees the Third District in which the land donation lies, said a previous $3 million endowment from the Irvine Co. in 2010 when the county received 20,000 acres of wilderness in Black Starr Canyon already helps fund the new donation. In addition, the Irvine Co. is giving another $850,000 endowment to OC Parks for the new donation.
Spitzer wants to see the land open to the public hiking, biking and horseback riding immediately.
“It’s a different world in these canyons,” Spitzer said. “Most people don’t even know it exists. I want everyone to enjoy this amazing gift.”
“The acceptance of this gift builds on a more than 100-year open space partnership between the Irvine Company and the County of Orange,” said Dan Miller, senior vice president of the Irvine Co.
In 2001, the company gave 11,000 acres of open space. In 1989, the developer worked with Orange and Anaheim to preserve 6,000 acres of land, creating regional open space from Limestone Canyon through Weir and Gypsum canyons to Coal Canyon. When the deal is done, 55,000 acres of the Irvine Ranch’s original 93,000 acres will be protected, natural landscape.
THIS IS HOW THE 2,500-ACRE GIFT BREAKS DOWN:
- Acres: 1,073.9
Where: Near the 91 Freeway and 241 Toll Road in Anaheim, it is surrounded on three sides by land already owned by the county and managed by OC Parks. The land was previously entitled for development of about 2,500 homes.
Santiago Hills II
- Acres: 16.2
- Where: Directly adjacent to Irvine Regional Park in Orange, this will be an addition to California’s first regional park.
East Orange Area I
- Acres: 469.2
- Where: West of Irvine Lake along Santiago Canyon Road and the 241 Toll Road in Orange, this land was previously slated for 2,200 homes.
East Orange Area II
- Acres: 936.5
- Where: This parcel includes land southeast of Irvine Lake in the city of Orange and is directly adjacent to county-owned portions of Black Star Canyon.