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Rancho Ortega Blog discusses matters of public interest in South Orange County, including the communities of San Juan Capistrano, Ladera Ranch and Rancho Mission Viejo.

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Huevos, Jamon and a Bottle of Chardonnay: Having Fun with Street Names

For half a century, Rancho Mission Viejo Company (and its predecessors) has been building communities in South Orange County.  With residential development comes the responsible to name the thousands of new streets built on Rancho Mission Viejo land.  At the outset, developers used simple Spanish words for the streets of Mission Viejo.  Many of those streets are familiar names to us now, and some of them have even made us scratch our head.  In the May 6, 1989 edition of the Pacific Stars and Stripes Newspaper (archive available here, and screenshot below), residents of Mission Viejo discussed some of the Spanish street names given to their town.  For example, while others may have scoffed, we think Huevos Circle and Jamon Lane made for a delicious sounding neighborhood.

Pacific Stars and Stripes Newspaper (May 6, 1989)

In Ladera Ranch, developers employed a combination of street naming conventions.  Some had geographic significance, like Narrow Canyon, Cecil Pasture, Potters Bend, or Bell Pasture.  There is a long tradition in South Orange County of naming streets in honor of prominent landmarks.  For example, Oso Parkway was named after the canyon that was filled to become Lake Mission Viejo.  The future Cow Camp Road is another example, memorializing an important and (probably) sentimental location at the heart of Rancho Mission Viejo.

Other Ladera Ranch street names are thematically relevant, including Basilica and Padre or Wood Barn, Barnstable and Farmhouse.  One can see other themes at work in the Ladera streets.  One neighborhood boasts a Vineyard, Sauvignon and Chardonnay.  Plant and flower names are always popular, and Ladera has no shortage of them:  Gardenia, Magnolia, Scotch Pine, Blue Spruce, Hydrangea, Sugarcane, Orange Blossom, Gilly Flower, Snapdragon and Daisy.  Covenant Hills has an island section, featuring Galaxy Island, Heavenly Island, Starlight Island, Moonlight Island and Stellar Island.  Borrowing place names from abroad is a common choice, resulting in street names such as Cambridge, Tuscany, Hampshire and Kent.

Not all street names are a success.  Consider the impossible-to-spell Italian street names that have been changed for the Warmington Homes Legacy Collection development (A map showing both the old and new street names is available in this article.  We are not sure why Vernaccia, Galgano, Chiusi and Tintoretto were originally selected.  Maybe someone enjoyed their trip to Tuscany?  Regardless, imagine how many times you would need to spell out those names?  We like the historically relevant street names Gaucho, Stockmen, Cowboy and Vaquero much better.

Of course there is an entire swath of streets in Covenant Hills that reads like someone’s family tree: Connor, John, Adele, Julia, Michael, Eric, David, Christopher, Kelly, Kathryn, Jack, Ali, Sam, Emmy, Jenny, Thomas, Rickie, Mathew, Lauren, Anna, Dennis, Roshelle and Jeremiah.  Come on!  Whoever was naming those streets was just reading off their Christmas Card list.

It’s not that far-fetched.  Using family names is a common street naming convention.  A Mother’s Day 2006 Orange County Register article identified Rancho Mission Viejo chief executive Tony Moiso as winning the “triple crown” of street naming.  After all, Alicia Parkway is named for his mother, Marguerite Parkway is named for his grandmother, and Melinda Road is named for his wife.  This article identifies some other O’Neill/Avery/Moiso family related street names, including Jeronimo Road and Jerome Lane (named in honor of Jerome Moiso), Avery Parkway (named for the Avery side of the family, including Douglas and Alice O’Neill Avery), and Antonio Parkway, named for Tony Moiso himself.  The original O’Neill Road was located in Mission Viejo but it was renamed to Olympiad in honor of Mission Viejo’s role in the 1984 Summer Olympics.  O’Neill Drive now meanders through the heart of Ladera Ranch, honoringthe O’Neill family’s connection to the land.

In all, the street names in Ladera Ranch are well chosen.  You can’t please everyone, and no one person has the whole say on street names.  Landowners, builders, consultants and government officials all have input and approvals.  In addition, street names cannot be confusing or duplicative of existing streets, posing a considerable challenge for today’s urban planners.

With the approval of the first final tract maps for the Village of Sendero, we are getting a glimpse into the street naming philosophy for the Village of Sendero.  For the major streets, at least, it seems as though Rancho Mission Viejo Company is returning to its roots and using Spanish translations of contextual words for the street names.  Below, we’ve annotated Rancho Mission Viejo’s map of Sendero with the street names that we know of:

Rancho Mission Viejo’s Map of Sendero, annotated with announced street names

From Ortega Highway, residents will enter Sendero on the existing Reata Road.  Reata will fork at a rotary.  A right turn leads to the appropriately named Ribera (which means a “bank” as in a riverbank), which runs along San Juan Creek and the creekside trail.  To the left is Gavilan Drive.  Gavilan dead-ends at El Prado, the community core, at Lindura Street.  Lindura means “loveliness.”  We have also identified the location of the Gavilan guard gate house, on Gavilan Drive, just beyond the rotary intersection with Reata and Ribera.  We are basing this on the final tract map’s demarcation of where Gavilan changes from a public street to a private street, indicating the transition to a gated community where the association is responsible for maintaining the roads.  Lindura will travel up the hill (towards Ladera) and bend to the left, becoming a residential street at the highest elevation in Gavilan.  We’ve also learned that the elevated cul de sac just below Lindura in Gavilan will be called Palomino Lane, named for the horse.

Sendero Way (or “Path” Way — get it?) will be the entrance to Sendero from Antonio Parkway.  You have probably already seen the signalized intersection and street signs.  In addition, Sendero Way will mark the entrance to the homes east of Antonio, including the Outpost community center.  At the bottom of the hill, Sendero Way will end in a rotary in front of the El Prado community core.  Running perpendicular to Sendero is Ascenso (“Ascent”).  In the vicinity of the Sendero Farm will be the charmingly romantic streets of Amado (“beloved”), Contigo (“with you”) and Florear (“to adorn with flowers”).  Running alongside the linear park to Ribera will be Brioso (“lively”).  We’ve also seen some of the street names for one of the builder tracts on this side of Sendero.  They are marked on the map as Cache Street, Lucido Street and Farra Street.  Lucido means “splendid” in Spanish.  But Cache and Farra are more interesting.  While cache has the same meaning in English and Spanish, cache is also an Argentine slang word that has the same meaning as “kitschy.”  Fortunately, there is a limited market of Argentine buyers for homes on Cache Street!  Farra has an interesting meaning, too – it has a meaning somewhere between a “party” or a “spree.”  In verb form, “ir de farra” has the same general meaning as “going out on the town.”   Maybe they’ve been spending a little too much time on Chardonnay Drive?

So far, so good.  We like the Sendero street names.  Thus far, they are simple without being gimmicky.  They convey the development’s lifestyle based themes without hitting you over the head with it.  They are easy to remember, say and pronounce.  But this has been a very long article.  We’re getting hungry, so we’re heading off to the corner of Huevos and Jamon.  Bring the Chardonnay and we’ll make it a farra.

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