IRVINE The City Council will decide whether a mixed-use project with a 389-room hotel and 15-story office building across the street from the John Wayne Airport can move forward.
Proposed by Far East LLC., the seven-acre development is planned for the 18000 block of MacArthur Boulevard, with Douglas to the north and Campus Drive to the south. Addresses associated with the project include 18872, 18912, and 18952 MacArthur Blvd.
Following the recommendation from city staff, the Planning Commission unanimously approved the project at its June 15 meeting.
In January, the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) issued determinations of “No Hazard to Air Navigation” for the proposed 253-foot-high office and 204-foot-high hotel buildings on the project site.
However, the seven-member Airport Land Use Commission for Orange County on April 20 disagreed with the FAA’s findings and unanimously opposed the project.
In a letter to the Planning Commission, the Land Use Commission recommended that the height for the hotel be reduced by 47 feet and the height of the office building by 95 feet.
The Land Use Commission looked at flight-track data for three separate dates. The data showed that low-flying aircraft were flying as low as 305 feet over the proposed project area, raising safety concerns.
“The flight track information suggests it might be prudent to reduce the proposed project building heights,” the letter stated.
The City Council has the authority to override the vote of the Land Use Commission and allow the project to move forward.
Should that happen, the airport “would be immune from liability for damages to property or personal injury caused by or resulting directly or indirectly” from the council’s decision, the letter stated.
Great Far East LLC can also redesign the project so the hotel and office building meet the recommendations of the Land Use Commission.
No date has been set for the council meeting.