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Open House Review: 8 Brena

Jun 28th, 2012 by Karen 

It is rare to come across a six bedroom home under $1,000,000, but I found one today at 8 Brena.  While the house originally had four bedrooms and a bonus room, the bonus was converted into two additional bedrooms.  Having been in the original floor plan numerous times, I was excited to see how this one was changed.

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IRWD Water Rate Will Increase in July - Why?

Jun 27th, 2012 by Sylvia Walker 

“Over the past five years, imported water costs have increased approximately 65%.”—Orange County 2011 Community Indicators Report (

 “Water is heavy (62.4 pounds per cubic foot) and tends to resist moving uphill. It takes a lot of energy to move water, but also to treat it, and then treat it again after we use it.”—19 Percent: The Great Water-Power Wake-Up Call,” KQED (

“We’re also developing alternate waste supply strategies to further reduce the need for costly imported water.”—Beth Beeman, IRWD Director of Public Affairs


Starting July 1, rates for customers of the Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD) will increase by .02cents per one hundred cubic feet of water. In addition, the service charge will increase by 55 cents. You might think that this is due to the recent snow pack level which was only 40% of normal. However, reports are stating that this year’s water supply is adequate since last year’s snow pack was well above normal.

So, if water supply is adequate, why are the water rates increasing? Approximately, two-thirds of the IRWD water is from local sources such as ground water wells, reservoirs, and recycled runoff. However, the other third is imported water that IRWD purchases from the Municipal Water District of Orange County (MWDOC). MWDOC purchases this water from Metropolitan Water District of Southern Californian (MWD). The infrastructure cost associated with this imported water is the primary reason given for the need to increase IRWD water bills.

MWD gets it water from the Colorado River or the State Water Project. The Colorado River aqueduct, which is needed to transport the Colorado River water to southern California, was built in 1939, and the State Water Project system, which transports water from the northern California delta and the Sierra snowmelt by means of the California aqueduct, is out of date. Both these systems are in need of infrastructure updating. For example, the bay delta system, which is just a portion of the State Water Project system, is anticipated to need an estimated $27.8 billion in retrofits.

In addition, IRWD is responsible for maintaining 1,500 miles of pipelines, 53 reservoirs, and two wastewater treatment plants. Over 40% of MWD facilities are over 60 years old and need repair or replacement. For example, Yorba Linda’s Diemer water treatment plant, built in 1963, and La Verne’s Weymouth treatment plant, completed in 1940, are scheduled for $143 million in retrofits in the next two years.

IRWD was criticized by a recent grand jury for holding too much money in reserves ($225 million). However, Beth Beeman, IRWD director of public affairs, said, “These are not reserves.” Beeman also said, “That money is designated for infrastructure maintenance and improvements that will be needed in the future. It’s like putting money away for your kid’s college. It’s there when you need it.”


“Water rate hikes could be worst,” Tina Richards, Foothills Sentry (

Irvine Ranch Water District (IRWD) (

Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Robert B. Diemer Water Treatment Plant Update (

Discuss below or on Talk Irvine.

Posted in News

Open House Review: 243 Terra Cotta

Jun 26th, 2012 by SMS 

Condo Contrasts on Quail Hill     243 Terra Cotta, $769,000

As I exited the San Diego Freeway and made my way up Quail Hill my first impression was how remarkable the contrasts are in this community.  Moving off the packed lanes of the San Diego Freeway,   I drove past rolling open fields, and then approached  the door of a sleek condominium at the end of a quiet cul de sac.

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Kings of their domain

Jun 25th, 2012 by Cubic Zirconia 

Is it enough if a school has a API rank of 10, or do growth scores govern the home prices of the school’s boundaries?  Today we look at two properties in two different villages of Irvine. Both have API 10 schools, but one has better growth rate than the other. Both properties have a good walk score to the assigned schools.  But for the same listing price, one of them has listed a single family home with four bedrooms and the other one is a detached condominium with three bedrooms.

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Open House Review: 6 Urbino

Jun 21st, 2012 by Karen 

This week, I decided to check out an older house with lots of upgrades to see how it compared to the newer homes I have seen recently.  I went to 6 Urbino in the Windstream neighborhood in Northwood.  The homes in Windstream are among the biggest and nicest in the older part of Northwood.

The basics:

Asking Price: $948,888

Bedrooms: 4 + Large Bonus Room

Bathrooms: 2.5

Square Footage: 3,268

Lot Size: 5,500

$/Sq Ft: $290

Property Type: Single Family Home

Year Built: 1979

Community: Northwood, Windstream

HOA dues are $174 per month and there are no Mello Roos.

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Irvine Housing by the Numbers - June 2012 Update

Jun 20th, 2012 by Sylvia Walker 

Here is an updated list of the housing numbers for each of Irvine’s neighborhood. Of note, the Airport (IBC) area, Orange Tree, Shady Canyon, Turtle Ridge, Turtle Rock, University Park, University Town Center, Walnut, and Westpark have a year-over-year increase in the price per square foot for homes that sold in May in these areas. All other neighborhoods in Irvine had a decrease.

Overall Irvine’s May year-over-year price-per-square-foot selling price was down 4.6%.

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Posted in News

Open House Review: 10 Windflower

Jun 19th, 2012 by SMS 

A Winning Viewpoint:  10 Windflower, $1,350,000

In my last two Open House Reviews, I visited million dollar Turtle Rock properties and I wondered how a third property might compare.  I found an intriguing answer at 10 Windflower.

Last week I saw the possibilities of 11 Bethany with a 90% remodel and quality upgrades. The week before I saw the potential in 18762 Via San Marco with a 10,000 sq. foot lot and multi bay window views  of a private green hillside.

Now, as I walked up to 10 Windflower, I was looking for a competing viewpoint.

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