Irvine’s City Council was set to consider enacting a 300-foot buffer between protesters and private homes this week — but couldn’t vote either way since not enough members were present.

The dais was already down one on Tuesday, March 26, with the absence of Councilmember Mike Carroll. And when Councilmembers Tammy Kim and Kathleen Treseder left the chamber early, that meant the minimum number of councilmembers needed to make the meeting valid ceased to be met.

The ordinance, introduced by Treseder, would have prohibited demonstrations “directed at a particular residential dwelling or one or more occupants of a particular residential dwelling … whose occupants do not welcome such activity” within 300 feet of the property line of a residence. It was similar to a proposal in Santa Ana that split councilmembers split 3-3.

Irvine’s council wasn’t able to vote on its protester proposal, but Councilmember Larry Agran during the meeting pointed to Irvine’s free speech ordinance that says “no person should interfere with the exercise of free speech rights by persons in areas open to the general public, whether in shopping centers, apartment complexes and other private and public property open to the general public.” He questioned if banning protesting near residences would conflict with the free speech ordinance.

Treseder said she plans to place the item back on the agenda for the City Council’s first meeting in May. The council will not meet in April, Mayor Farrah Khan said, due to Eid al-Fitr, a Muslim holiday that ends Ramadan, and the Jewish Passover, which will begin on April 22 through the end of the month.

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Kim and Treseder said they left the meeting early over a dispute they had with Khan on whether the proposed ordinance should be removed from Tuesday’s agenda. Treseder and Kim had hoped for it to be removed due to Carroll’s absence and an already packed agenda; Khan, however, said no formal requests to pull the item were received.

“So at the time we were supposed to be discussing the items, I simply walked out,” said Treseder. “I didn’t have any other choice.”

For months, community members have been calling on local leaders to take stands in the Israel-Hamas war. Since November, City Council meetings have gone on for hours, some bleeding into the next day, largely due to individuals taking up a large portion of the meetings to present supporting or opposing views of a ceasefire in Gaza.

In February, the City Council in a split vote rejected a resolution that outlined action items city leaders could take to address the divisiveness in the community, with the majority saying the war in the Middle East is not a local issue that directly impacts Irvine residents.