According to Great Park Executive Director Pete Carmichael, as of Wednesday, Nov. 15, all asphalt production operations at the All American Asphalt facility in Orchard Hills will halt, as the company prepares to vacate the land.
On Tuesday, Nov. 14, Carmichael gave an update to the Irvine City Council regarding the progress of the city’s $285 million purchase of the 11-acre property utilized by the All American Asphalt company in Irvine, adding that All American Asphalt has committed to ending its operations in Orchard Hills by close of business on Wednesday.
“By end of day tomorrow we received a commitment from All American Asphalt that all asphalt production will cease at the plant,” Carmichael explained. “After that first quarter of next year, likely February, the sale will close and the city will take ownership of the plant. Dismantling remediation will commence and then the plant property will be rolled into the larger gateway open space area.”
In the years to come, Irvine will transition the land into the 700-acre Gateway Preserve, which will feature more than 375 acres of dedicated open space and will simultaneously connect Limestone Canyon to Blackstar Canyon, and eventually stretch into the Cleveland National Forrest.
The Gateway Preserve will also feature more than 70-acres of land for residential use. In terms of a timeline, Carmichael explained that the city is currently working on regulatory paperwork that will be submitted next year.
“This part of the project is created by knitting together several different properties,” he said. “The city, through our Community Services team, is also working closely with Irvine Ranch Conservancy on [the] preparation of the Preserve plan — exactly how it will be used, trails, interpretive areas, parking, etc. They’re working on a document called the Recreation and Recreation Management Plan which will be the regulatory document that goes through the various regulatory agencies for approval likely next year.”
Originally built in 1993, the asphalt production facility in Orchard Hills became the source of complaints for residents living in the area, who say they became inundated with foul odors emitting from the plant’s emissions.
Many residents spoke publicly about their experiences living with the odors at city council meetings, adding that the city provided residents with few resources to file reports. Even potential homebuyers say they were not told about the existence of the facility when purchasing a home.
Now, the closure of the north Irvine hot mix asphalt manufacturing plant, spurred by the city’s purchase of the property in April, effectively ends years of frustration from Irvine residents who repeatedly voiced concern over smelling noxious odors being produced by the asphalt plant inside their homes.
While the closure of the facility will undoubtedly bring relief to many worrisome Irvine residents, a class-action lawsuit, which has been preliminarily approved by an Orange County Superior Court judge, could help establish compensation for more than 2,000 households living within two miles of the Orchard Hills facility between 2018 and present.
Liddle Sheets Coulson, a law firm based in Detroit, Mich., published a copy of the official complaint on its website and included opt-in information for potential class members, which are defined as “All owner/occupants, tenants, renters or lessees of residential property residing within two (2) miles of the Facility’s property boundary between March 9, 2018 and the present.”
The lawsuit, Elmira Rad, et al. v All American Asphalt, was filed in 2021 and is seeking a cash fund settlement of $1.25 million.
Specifically, according to the official complaint, Rad alleges that the All American Asphalt “unnecessarily emits noxious odors into the nearby residential community.” Adding that “Due to Defendant’s inadequate efforts to prevent Facility emissions from escaping into the adjacent residential neighborhood, Plaintiffs’ property has been and continues to be physically invaded by noxious odors.”
The complaint also alleges that the Plaintiff’s claims are supported by more than 800 reports of foul odor to South Coast Air Quality Management District between 2019 and 2020.
This is a developing story.
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