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Third Time a Charm or Three Strikes You’re Out? SJC City Council to Consider Third Development Proposal for The Oaks

According to its published meeting agenda, tonight the San Juan Capistrano City Council will consider another application to develop residential housing at “The Oaks” — the equestrian property that belongs to Joan Irvine Smith.  This proposal — the third developer to submit a proposal for building homes on the property — contemplates 32 single family homes on the Ortega Highway side of the property and a smaller equestrian center along the San Juan Creek Trail side of the property.  A proposed site map is below (full size image):

Proposed Site Plan for The Oaks (image source: Tentative Tract Map/City of San Juan Capistrano)

The SJC Patch has a story here.  According to the City’s staff report:

Source: City of San Juan Capistrano

Architecturally, the applicant has proposed a design consistent with the rural and equestrian nature of that area.  The 32 homes will be single-family homes with varying front yard setbacks along an internally looped private street.  The developer has proposed three home models, a 3420 square foot single story plan 1, a 3890 square foot two story plan 2 (with alternative plan 2X) and a 4215 square foot two story plan 3.  Home designs will consist of three architectural styles: Adobe Ranch, Equestrian Farmhouse and Adobe Farmhouse.  The lots will be large, with a minimum size of 10,000 square feet.  See below for renderings of the three models and elevations:

Model and Elevation Renderings (source: City of San Juan Capistrano)

The applicant also proposes to modify the reduced equestrian center by, among other things, building three new structures, including an employee casita, a ranch house and a tack room.  These structures will also be consistent with existing architecture of the property and surrounding area.  To maintain the rural character of the area, neighborhood lighting will avoid the use of tall street lamps and rely on low pilasters and lighting hung from trees throughout the property.

Rendering of Neighborhood Entry (source: City of San Juan Capistrano)

The current condition of the property includes approximately 23 trees per acre.  In total, there are 459 trees on the project site, and it is estimated that 123 of them are large legacy coast live oaks.  A consultant opined that approximately 265 of these trees are in the portion slated for residential development and 194 are in the portion that will remain part of the equestrian center.  The development plans contemplate removing 311 of those 459 trees, or nearly two-thirds of the trees on the densely planted property.  Only about 15 of those trees are believed to be candidates for relocation.  As a mitigation against the tree removal, the City staff is proposing a 1:1 replacement tree ration — that the developer be obligated as a condition of project approval to plant one tree on-site for every tree removed.  Relocated trees will be donated to public open space areas.

Because The Oaks property includes significant frontage along Ortega Highway, staff has also recommended that the developer pay a cash deposit of $500,000 toward future improvements along that stretch of Ortega Highway.  The developer may also be asked to dedicate an easement for streetside landscaping that would be maintained by the development’s HOA.  The developer will also be required to construct trail improvements connecting the existing bike trail at Avenida Siega and Calle Arroyo to the bike trail at Reata Park and Event Center, which is currently under construction.

The tentative tract map as proposed by the developer is below (full size image):

The Oaks: Tentative Tract Map (source: City of San Juan Capistrano)

For those interested in more detail, the full size tentative tract map and all exhibits (including floorplans for the residences and equestrian buildings) are available here (large PDF).

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