After the City Council approved a land exchange agreement and required zone text amendment to bring a State Veterans Cemetery to the Strawberry Fields/Bake Parkway site, a voter referendum placed the zone text amendment on the June 5, 2018 Irvine Special Election ballot. Measure B to approve the zone text amendment was defeated.
At its July 10, 2018 meeting the City Council requested additional information about the ARDA site for review by several Commissions (listed below). A subsequent Memo from Mayor Pro Tempore Shea and Councilmember Fox asked that the area within the Great Park planned for a golf course also be studied.
Staff is preparing requested cost, financial impact, timeline, traffic, agreement review, and more regarding the Amended and Restated Development Agreement (ARDA) site adjacent to the Great Park and the proposed golf course site in the Great Park. The Finance, Transportation, and Planning Commissions have discussed. On July 23, 2019 the Irvine City Council approved 4-1 that it designate up to 100 acres of land located on the site of the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro adjacent to the Agua Chinon, commonly known as “Golf Course Site” in the Orange County Great Park for development of a Southern California State Veterans Cemetery. View map locations:
- City Council and Orange County Great Park Board Joint Meeting Agenda – July 23, 2019
- Finance Commission Agenda – July 15, 2019
- Finance Commission Agendas – See November 19, 2018 and February 4, 2019
- Transportation Commission Agendas – See November 20, 2018
- Planning Commission Agendas – See December 6, 2018 and February 7, 2019
To receive future notices regarding City meetings discussing the proposed State Veterans Cemetery, please click HERE, enter your email address, and check the Southern California Veterans Cemetery topic.
Site Studies, Information Requests, and Next Steps
On July 10, 2018, the City Council approved the following motion on a 3-2 vote (Item 4.4):
Direct the Planning Commission to:
- Work with the City's legal team, to prepare a comprehensive review of contractual agreements with our development partner and any other legal constraints, so that we might understand our Great Park construction obligations; and,
- Prepare an accurate time line for clean-up and first phase development and if in fact the first phase can be built and opened by November 11, 2020, as described in Councilmember Lalloway's memo.
- Direct the Finance Commission to:
- Review all available sources of potential cemetery funds, (including Great Park Fund 180's presently and expected future receipts);
- Analyze the impact to the Great Park construction of removing $80 million from Fund 180; and,
- Prepare an update of expected cost of demolition, clean-up, design, and construction of the first phase of the proposed cemetery plan (as described in the 2016 Concept Plan).
- Direct the Planning Department staff to prepare a report of any known hazardous contaminants at the ARDA site and suggest how best to quickly address those matters with the least impact on City funds. (If outside consulting support is needed, staff is to bring to Council, within 60 days, a request for consultant approval, a description of the anticipated scope of work, and needed budget adjustments for Council review and authorization of this special environmental consultant.)
- Direct the Transportation Commission to complete a comprehensive traffic study for the proposed cemetery at the ARDA site, for the complete build out of the 125 acres.
- Direct the Mayor to work with the OC Veterans groups, the State Legislature, CalVet, the Federal VA Department, and the County of Orange to:
- Gather all available pertinent information regarding the proposed ARDA site idea regarding full build out costs, including maintenance responsibilities, oversight of undeveloped acreage, responsibilities for construction of the additional phases of the cemetery, and impacts of internment services on the surrounding schools, and property owners (e.g. funeral processions, gun salutes);
- Amend legislation to change the designation of the site and put money into the FY 2019-2020 state budget for the first phase of construction; and,
- Evaluate and report to the City Council on the question of Irvine participation in potential other Orange County sites.
- Direct the City Manager to:
- Meet and confer with the County CEO and appropriate County staff members to receive updates about its plan to consider construction of a Veterans Cemetery on County land; and,
- Report regularly to the City Council and the public for ongoing review, discussion and deliberation.
The proposed golf course site was added for review with the attached July 16, 2018 memo.
The Irvine City Council identified the ARDA site for a State owned and operated Veterans Cemetery in July 2014 (Resolution 14-92). The City Council rescinded the ARDA site and identified the Bake Parkway/Strawberry Fields in June 2017 (Resolution 17-39).
The City Council approved a Veterans Cemetery Land Swap Agreement, signed in October 2017, for the City to acquire the privately owned Bake Parkway/Strawberry Fields site in exchange for conveying the ARDA Site to the private property owner. The City Council also approved a zone text amendment (Ordinance No. 17-08) required for the Agreement. A voter referendum placed the zone text amendment on the June 5, 2018 Irvine Special Election ballot, Measure B, which was defeated. July 16, 2018 Letter to CalVet from Mayor Wagner regarding Strawberry Fields and related press release.
California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) Status
- The State Budget includes approximately $4.5 million in the Southern California Veterans Cemetery Master Development Fund, allocated in FY 17-18.
- The FY 2019 Federal Priority List of Pending Veterans Cemetery Grant Pre-applications ranks the Southern California Veterans Cemetery in Group 2 (72) to construct Phase I (establishment grant). The ranking is based on CalVet’s June 2016 submittal for the ARDA site, since its June 2018 submittal for the Strawberry Fields site was withdrawn after the election results (see Letter)
Additional information is available via the following links: