Irvine City Councilwoman Beth Krom: Liar?
At the Oct. 21 Irvine City Council candidates forum sponsored by the League of Women Voters, Councilwoman Christina Shea, in the middle of an unsuccessful campaign for mayor, said that Lennar Corp., which is building homes ringing the future Great Park, would be allowed to triple the 3,200 units called for in its original agreement with the city to develop parts of the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station.
Termed-out mayor Beth Krom, a political foe of Shea's who was in the middle of a successful campaign for a council seat, later that same evening denied there were plans to triple the number of Lennar units, characterizing the claim as a late campaign fear tactic. Remember this Krom quote, it's why Clockwork bolded it: "We are working with 3,200 homes and that's what there will be."
Two days after the Nov. 4 election, the Irvine Planning Commission – which is packed with Krom cronies -- backed Lennar's plan to up by 1,200 the number of Great Park Neighborhoods units. No, even using new math 4,900 units are not triple the original 3,200. But neither does it represent “3,200 homes and that's what there will be."
The City Council – which, come to think of it, is also packed with Krom cronies if you count Krom herself -- must still approve the plan. City staffers say the request is based on a state provision that allows the developer to automatically boost density if 15 percent or more of a residential project includes what is considered affordable housing.
If approved, this would not be the only example of the city allowing fiscally wracked Lennar to wiggle out of an earlier agreement. The original development plan had the developer tearing out the old military runways that cover parts of the Great Park project area. The city is now picking up the tab for the demolition work.
Nor is Irvine the only “progressive” city allowing Lennar to change previous (and very recent) agreements regarding massive, mixed-use residential/commercial/parkland development on land previously owned by the U.S. Navy. Sarah Phelan just wrote in the San Francisco Bay Guardian about the San Francisco Redevelopment Agency hastily convening a special meeting on Oct. 27, when a draft financing plan was pushed through that allows Lennar to build more units and reap more profits from its Hunters Point Shipyard/Candlestick Point development project.
Nearby residents wary of that project call themselves the “Bayview-Hunters Point Project Area Committee,” while those wary of the Irvine project call themselves “Republicans.” OK, that's unfair; some are former Agran Democrats.