NEWPORT BEACH : Planners Approve Irvine Co. Project

The County Planning Commission on Tuesday approved plans for the 372-acre San Joaquin Planned Community near Newport Beach, despite complaints that the project will not include enough affordable housing.

The plan, which still needs the Board of Supervisors’ approval, calls for 2,550 housing units, some commercial developments and 101 acres of open space.

The Irvine Co., developers of the project, also agreed to include 255 “affordable” apartment units that will be available, for a period of five years, to families whose household income is 80% of the county median. Under current rates, those units would rent for about $1,100 a month, Irvine Co. and county officials said.

The county’s land planning guidelines have allowed developers to voluntarily set aside portions of their new projects for affordable housing. But representatives of the Orange County League of Women Voters and the Orange County Housing Now Coalition said the standard the Irvine Co. is using is not priced low enough.


“This doesn’t adequately meet the needs of the people who will be employed in the new hotels that will be built around here,” said Patricia Harrigan of the League of Women Voters, referring to the Irvine Co.'s plans to build two hotels nearby. “What about busboys, housekeepers and clerks at hotels?”

Residents of the posh Spyglass Hill community, which abuts the proposed community on the west, complained that the Irvine Co. was going to build cheaper and more densely packed neighborhoods next to theirs. In the final plan approved Tuesday, the Irvine Co. agreed that San Joaquin homes closest to Spyglass Hill would be built on 7,000-square-foot lots. Most homes in the Spyglass Hill area are on lots about that size.

The development, which is expected to go before the Board of Supervisors next month, is roughly bordered by San Joaquin Hills Road on the south, Newport Coast Drive on the east, the proposed San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor on the north and MacArthur Boulevard on the west.