irvine ranch

(Orange County Register photo)

Prominent developer The Irvine Co. has proposed to give 2,500 acres of undeveloped land to Orange County as a gift, with the hope that it will remain open space in perpetuity. The land is located on Irvine Ranch in Anaheim Hills and east of Orange.

Original plans for the land, which were formulated in the early 1990’s, was for it to be developed into 5,500 single-family homes. However, the impact of the last recession and other factors led to the project to fall out of favor among a variety of constituencies, reports the Orange County Regiser. As a result, The Irvine Co. has offered to give the land back to the county for preservation. 

County officials have not yet met to decide on if they will accept the offer. It could take months, but it’s widely believed the county will eventually agree.

The Irvine Co. previously gave the county 20,000 acres of land at Irvine Ranch, which today is used for recreation by up to 2 million people a year. Company officials believe this latest gift would be a perfect complement Protected areas of Irvine Ranch are used by bikers, hikers, joggers and horseback riders. There are also nature tours and nature classes provided on the land and that would also be the case with the new section, the Register reports.

This proposal would also mean that 60% of the Irvine Ranch would ultimately be kept as open space. That’s a far cry from the original plans from the 1960’s of just 11%.