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Proposed Southern California State Veterans Cemetery
The Irvine City Council has been committed to providing land for a State Veterans Cemetery since 2014. The Irvine City Council signed a Veterans Cemetery Land Swap Agreement (Agreement) in October 2017 for the City’s acquisition of the approximately 125-acre Bake Parkway/Strawberry Field site in exchange for its conveyance of the ARDA Transfer site to the private property owner. Agreement implementation is pending a referendum vote on the June 5, 2018 Irvine special election and adjudication of a lawsuit. 

Land Exchange Agreement
  1. Agreement:  Land Exchange Agreement and Ordinance No. 17-08 approving a Zone Change required for the Land Exchange Agreement.
  2. Maps:  The Land Exchange Map shows the two sites to be exchanged (City-owned ARDA site for privately owned Strawberry Fields/Bake Parkway site).  The Strawberry Fields/Bake Parkway Site Map shows the site designated by the City for a State Veterans Cemetery, pending ownership transfer to the City with the land exchange.
  3. City Land Transfer to State:  The City Council directed that the entire 125-acre Strawberry Fields/Bake Parkway Site be dedicated to CalVet immediately upon City ownership, after the land exchange, for use only as a Veterans Cemetery and interim agriculture uses.

June 5, 2018 Ballot Measure - Referendum Petition Against Ordinance No. 17-08

For more information regarding the special election: June 5, 2018 Special Election Information

The City of Irvine received a “Referendum Petition Against Ordinance No. 17-08.”  On January 9, 2018, the City Council received the Orange County Registrar of Voters certification that sufficient petition signatures were received.  The City Council also scheduled the referendum to be presented to Irvine voters at a special election to be consolidated with the Statewide Primary Election on June 5, 2018.  

Lawsuit

  • Claims lack of appropriate environmental review for the zone text amendment (Ordinance 17-08)
  • Claims the City did not comply with the Development Agreement statute, claiming that the Land Swap Agreement amended the Amended and Restated Development Agreement with Heritage Fields.
  • It is difficult to provide timing information for a court case.

Irvine City Council Actions – Land Exchange

  • June 6, 2017: Adopted Resolution 17-39 (by a 3-2 vote) to: pursue a mutually satisfactory land exchange of the City-owned ARDA site for the Heritage Fields’ owned Strawberry Fields/Bake Parkway Site (formerly District 2); and convey up to 125 acres of the Bake Parkway site (after exchange) to the State to create the Southern California Veterans Cemetery. City staff immediately proceeded to implement this direction. Both parcels are on the former Marine Corps Air Station El Toro, just outside the boundaries of the Orange County Great Park, about equal in size.

  • September 26, 2017:
    • At its Special Meeting, took action (by a 3-2 vote) to dedicate the entire 125-acre alternative Strawberry Fields/Bake Parkway Site to the California Department of Veterans Affairs (CalVet) immediately upon its transfer to the City, for use only as a Veterans’ Cemetery and interim agriculture uses; direct the proposed land swap with Heritage Fields be completed; grant authority to staff to finalize the document consistent with the direction provided at the meeting (including making the document available on the City’s website for five to seven days prior to execution, which was done); and authorize execution of the agreement by the Mayor upon completion.
    • At its Regular Meeting, approved item 3.1 (by a 3-2 vote), approving a Zone Change, a  necessary step for the land exchange of the City-owned ARDA site for the Strawberry Fields/Bake Parkway private property owned by Heritage Fields.

  • October 10, 2017: Adopted Ordinance No. 17-08 approving a Zone Change required for the Land Exchange Agreement to facilitate a State Veterans Cemetery.

  • On January 9, 2018, the City Council received and filed the Orange County Registrar of Voters certification that sufficient petition signatures were received.  Additionally, the City Council scheduled the referendum to be presented to the qualified voters of the City at a special election to be consolidated with the Statewide Primary Election on June 5, 2018. 

CalVet Next Steps

  • On December 12, 2017, CalVet and DGS held a kick off meeting for State staff and consultants to gather information and visit the Strawberry Fields/Bake Parkway site for the State Veterans Cemetery.
  • CalVet continues to target the July 1, 2018 deadline to submit a pre-application requesting Federal Cemetery Grant funds for the Strawberry Fields/Bake Parkway Site.
  • The FY 17-18 State budget:
    • Authorizes CalVet to acquire, study, design, develop, construct, and equip a state-owned and state-operated Southern California Veterans Cemetery at the Strawberry Fields/Bake Parkway site. 
    • Allocates $5 million to the Southern California Veterans Cemetery Master Development Fund, including $500,000 for CalVet to complete site studies, a concept plan and Phase I cost estimates for the Strawberry Fields/Bake Parkway Site.

Additional information is available via the following links:

    Background and Project History

    Reference Information Including Location Maps
 
    Contact Information