Council Will Hear Plan to Develop 1,740 Acres in Tustin's Rural East Side

Times Staff Writer

Beyond the heart of Tustin, with its homes and stores and offices, lies another Tustin, this one of orange groves, hills and fields.

But the city's rural east side, much the same today as when the city was founded, soon will change. A mini-city of 7,950 homes, eight schools and three business and shopping centers is planned for 1,740 acres there.

The development would eventually increase the city's population, now about 41,000, by an estimated 50%.

The Irvine Co.'s $1-billion project also would include a golf course, seven parks and biking, hiking and equestrian trails.

The area, all of which has been owned by the Irvine family and now the Irvine Co. since the late 1800s, is bounded by the Santa Ana Freeway to the south, Myford Road to the east, Peters Canyon and the surrounding foothills to the north and unincorporated North Tustin and parts of the city of Tustin to the west.

In Works for Three Years

The project, which the Irvine Co. and the city have been formulating for three years, goes to the City Council tonight for a public hearing. The city Planning Commission approved the development Feb. 10 after a series of hearings.

If approved, construction probably will begin in 1987 or 1988, city Senior Planner Ed Knight said.

Under the plan, home owners and businesses in the development would pay for their public services through new assessment districts. Roger Seitz, Irvine Co. vice president for urban planning and design, said the mini-city would be self-supporting.

It is the last and largest of a series of city-Irvine Co. projects for 2,000 acres in the city's eastern area. An auto center under construction near the Santa Ana Freeway was the first project. Another is the planned construction of 1,000 single-family homes and apartments next to the auto center.

Although officials of Tustin and the Irvine Co. have expressed enthusiasm about their plan, parallel planning for the proposed Eastern Transportation Corridor, a freeway linking the Riverside and Santa Ana freeways, has caused some dispute.

The exact location of the freeway has been the subject of disagreement between Tustin and the neighboring City of Irvine for months.

Irvine Assistant City Manager Paul Brady said the location of the freeway will have an impact on the Northwood, Colony and College Park developments of Irvine. In addition, the huge development in East Tustin would also affect traffic patterns and density in Irvine.

The two cities, in negotiations over the conflict, have come within 600 feet of each other on an acceptable route, according to Tustin City Manager Bill Huston, but, he said, "it's a very important 600 feet."

Each city wants the freeway closer to the other, and representatives of each say they hope to find a compromise within the next few weeks.

Some Tustin residents near the proposed development also have expressed concern. Carol Shrider, president of the Foothill Community Assn., an organization of about 1,000 households in North Tustin, said her group has proposed that the density of certain sectors of development be reduced.

The association has also proposed that the golf course be built further west, closer to North Tustin, to provide a buffer zone between the new development and the existing communities. She said this request was rejected by the company and city officials.

The residents also are concerned about whether new roads will have a large enough capacity to handle new traffic generated by the East Tustin development without spilling over onto existing streets, Shrider said.

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