TIC open space

Courtesy of the OC Register

The Irvine Company is donating to the county 2,500 acres of open space in Anaheim Hills and east Orange, instead of building the up-to 5,500 homes they were entitled to develop.

From the OC Register:

The Irvine Co. will offer 2,500 acres of undeveloped land in Anaheim Hills and near East Orange that was once to hold 5,500 homes to the county today, in hopes of ensuring the massive swath remains open space forever, company officials said.

Documents of the proposal, which have been kept quiet, will be privately handed over to the Board of Supervisors concerning what likely would be the landholder’s last big gift of open space. The panel is not scheduled to discuss the proposal during today’s meeting.

“As we celebrate the 150th anniversary of the Irvine Co., this is the perfect opportunity to add to our open space and park lands legacy,” Irvine Co. Chairman Donald Bren said in a statement. “With this gift, we complete our open-space vision.”

It’s The Irvine Company’s land to do with as it wishes. The company’s generosity is remarkable, and Donald Bren’s commitment to open space preservation is genuine, not just about tax write-offs, as cynics claim.

At the same time, the subtraction of 5,500 homes from the county’s future housing stock won’t do much for affordability and opportunities for home ownership. That’s the key difference, in addition to the size of the donation, between this gift and The Irvine Company’s 2010 gift of 20,000 acres: the latter wasn’t entitled for homes and never would be.

Still, these new additions to the OC Parks inventory of open space will offer even more opportunities for the public to enjoy and experience the Orange County’s open space – of which there is far more than the environmentalist obstructionists and NIMBYs would have us believe.