The city of Irvine is suing its hometown university over plans for a $ 1 billion medical complex with a new hospital off campus. City officials and Irvine UC assume, however, that they can work out their differences amicably.
UC Irvine received approval from UC Regents on Jan. 21 to build the complex, which will include a 144-bed hospital and will be located near Birch Street and Jamboree Road. In a lawsuit filed in the Orange County Superior Court on Feb. 8, the city argued that the UCI and the regents wrongly ignored Irvine’s land use rules, disregarded state environmental law, and disregarded their own long-term plans that the university a should pay fair share of road and traffic improvements.
While city officials have previously said they welcome the jobs and improved access to health care that the project would bring, they have also raised concerns about the increased traffic, construction noise and the added burden on the city’s police and fire departments . The lawsuit reflects these concerns.
Despite the lawsuit, city officials and the UCI appear optimistic that they can reach an agreement.
“While we are unable to comment on upcoming legal activities, we are working well with the City of Irvine and believe that we can resolve these issues quickly,” said Tom Vasich, spokesman for UC Irvine, in a per E -Mail sent statement.
“The medical center project remains on track to begin caring for patients over the next year and providing thousands of jobs and essential health services to the city of Irvine.”
Irvine’s Mayor Farrah Khan made a similar comment, saying in a text message, “While I cannot comment on any pending litigation, we work well with UCI and believe we can resolve these issues quickly.”
In the lawsuit, Irvine calls for the UC regents’ approval of the medical centers project to be revoked, for the UCI to comply with city and state regulations and its own pledges to offset the effects of the project, and for the project to stop until the case is resolved.
The next trial in this case is March 5th. College officials previously said construction is expected to begin within months, and the first facilities are expected to open in 2022.