Irvine Allows 2.4-Acre SCE Electrical Substation in Spectrum
Won't Enforce Zoning Codes & Permit Laws; Surrenders Residents' Quality Of Life
UPDATE 8/17/2016 : Community rallies against SCE electrical substation project & Irvine's failure to enforce city zoning codes.
UPDATE 8/6/2016 : Southern California Edison begins construction on electrical substation project in Irvine Spectrum 5 Business Park.
SUMMARY : The City of Irvine is allowing Southern California Edison (SCE) to build an electrical substation in the middle of Irvine Spectrum 5 Business Park (Planning Area 34), without a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) or enforcing their own Zoning Codes. As a result, existing property owners and businesses have already started suffering consequences, such as loss of employees, loss of tenants, loss of revenue, and in severe cases moving to preserve their company.
LOCATION : SCE's "Safari" Electrical Substation Site comprises of 2.4 acres located between Irvine Center Dr. & Wald, south of Tesla, and north of Scientific (see map below).
LEGAL ISSUES :
· The City of Irvine's Zoning Codes state that a Conditional Use Permit (CUP) is required to use this land for utility buildings and facilities. This requirement is to ensure utility companies do not abuse their authority and place substations, power lines, and other facilities wherever they want without the city's prior approval. SCE currently does not intend to file for a CUP, and the City of Irvine does not seem interested in enforcing this requirement.
· The Irvine Company's Declaration of Covenants, Conditions, and Restrictions (CC&R's) directly prohibits any use or operation that is "out of harmony with the development or operation of the business conducted on any of the Property or any of the Sites therein" within the Spectrum 5 community. This is meant to create cohesive areas of similar business and/or industry classifications (i.e. Research & Development, Storage, and/or Limited Manufacturing) that are compatible together and can operate in harmony without negative interference with one another (i.e. High-Voltage Power Station next to a Maternity Clinic). Building a substation within the Spectrum 5, Planning Area 34 community would violate this condition.
· The Irvine Company’s CC&R's directly stipulate that any electro-mechanical or electro-magnetic disturbance radiation (i.e. EMF/EMR) creation and/or use is a "prohibited operation and use" within the Spectrum 5, Planning Area 34 community. This (and the other specific use restrictions in this CC&R section) are meant to protect existing property & business owners from incompatible and potentially hazardous operations & uses within the community. Building a substation within the Spectrum 5, Planning Area 34 community would violate this restriction.
MORE CONTROVERSY :
· Evidence shows that SCE was planning on building an electrical substation at the chosen location as early as 2014 (if not earlier). In October 2015, SCE quietly completed its land purchase from The Irvine Company (with the City of Irvine's approval). In August 2016, SCE began construction on the underground conduits and vaults for this electrical substation along Tesla and Wald (segmenting the project), and is determined to complete this project regardless of opposition. At no time was the Spectrum 5 businesses and property owners notified of SCE's plans to build an electrical substation at this location by SCE, The Irvine Company, or the City of Irvine. As of 8/13/2016, there still has been no public announcement, public notice, public disclosure, public hearing, or public transparency regarding this project.
· The Irvine Company needs electricity for its planned future developments north of Bake Pkwy. and elsewhere. The estimated $6.3 million purchase price they received from SCE was well above market-rate for this parcel of land that they have been trying to sell for the past 10 years. Moving this substation project to alternative compatible (and some say more suitable) locations would most likely cause adjacent The Irvine Company property values & future renting/selling prices to suffer.
· The City of Irvine doesn’t appear to be interested in enforcing their own Zoning Codes and requiring SCE to apply for a Conditional Use Permit (CUP). The City of Irvine has been advised that they have the power and authority to enforce their own Zoning Codes on upon SCE, but they are still stalling.
AS A RESULT :
· Several businesses and individuals in the Spectrum 5 area have already expressed concerns for their health & safety relating to: Electro-Magnetic Fields (EMF's), Electro-Magnetic Radiation (EMR), equipment fires & explosions, increase in crime & theft, and other risks and hazards.
· Businesses (especially small businesses) will face limitless economic hardship: some have already confirmed losses of business opportunities, revenue, tenants, and employees directly linked SCE's electrical substation project. Two (2) businesses have already moved out of the area, and others are on the brink.
· According to independent studies in the U.S. and government-sanctioned studies in other first-world countries, building & property owners will face significant loss of up to an estimated 37.5% of their property values after the substation is built. This amount may be more depending on the proximity, capacity, and size of the substation.
WHAT YOU CAN DO TO HELP :
As a community, we need to convince the City of Irvine to stop siding with large corporations and utilities at the expense of our small businesses and our community. To do so would be a dangerous precedent and small businesses in Irvine will suffer unconditionally.
DEMAND THE CITY OF IRVINE TO FOLLOW THEIR OWN ZONING CODE AND REQUIRE SCE TO APPLY FOR A CONDITIONAL USE PERMIT (CUP).
1. Make phone calls, send emails, and mail letters to your local representatives to voice your support :
IRVINE CITY COUNCIL
Meets 2nd & 4th Tuesday @ 4:00 PM
Steven Choi (Mayor) firstname.lastname@example.org
Lynn Schott (Mayor Pro Tem) email@example.com
Beth Krom (Councilmember) firstname.lastname@example.org
Jeffrey Lalloway (Councilmember) email@example.com
Christina Shea (Councilmember) firstname.lastname@example.org
IRVINE PLANNING COMMISSION
Meets 1st & 3rd Thursday @ 5:30 PM
Anthony Kuo (Chair) email@example.com
Greg Smith (Chair Pro Tem)
Mary Ann Gaido
IRVINE COMMUNITY DEVELOPMENT
Susan Emery (Director)
CITY OF IRVINE (CITY COUNCIL MAILING ADDRESS)
City of Irvine
ATTN: City Council
1 Civic Center Plaza
P.O. Box 19575
Irvine, CA 92623-9575
2. Share this news story on social media (Facebook, What's App, Hangouts, Twitter, WeChat, QQ, LINE, etc) and spread the word.
3. Attend City of Irvine City Council and Planning Commission Meetings and voice your support.
NEXT IRVINE PLANNING COMMISSION MEETING
Thursday, 9/1/2016 @ 5:30 PM
City Council Chamber
1 Civic Center Plaza
Irvine, CA 92606
NEXT IRVINE CITY COUNCIL MEETING
Tuesday, 9/13/2016 @ 4:00 PM
City Council Chamber
1 Civic Center Plaza
Irvine, CA 92606
For more information on how you can help, please contact:
949 - 436 - 8588
Facebook Page (latest updates) : https://www.facebook.com/NoSubstation
Upcoming Meetings 9/1/2016, 9/13/2016 : http://www.nosubstation.com/Wald_Electrical_Substation_Meeting_Flyer_4_(08-13-16).pdf
Orange County Register Article 8/23/16 : http://www.ocregister.com/articles/substation-726737-city-edison.html
Irvine City Council Meeting 8/9/2016 : https://irvine.granicus.com/MediaPlayer.php?view_id=68&clip_id=3886 (topic begins 01:13:18 - 02:04:55)
Press Release 8/8/16 : http://www.nosubstation.com/Press_Release_(08-08-16).pdf
Letter To Affected Residents 5/3/2016 : http://www.nosubstation.com/Letter_to_Affected_Neighbors.pdf