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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.

The writings of Don Juan Ortega on the Rancho Ortega Blog are the personal views of the author. This blog is not authored by nor does it have any affiliation whatsoever with any other person, place or entity using the name "Rancho Ortega" (or any similar name).

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Whispering Hills Apartment Complex Moves Closer to Approval

Development in San Juan Capistrano is gaining traction on a number of projects beyond the massive Rancho Mission Viejo “Ranch Plan” development.  Among those projects is Rancho San Juan, a neighborhood of 155 single family homes on large lots located off of La Pata Road near San Juan Hills High School.  The first tract, Valinda at Rancho San Juan is apparently selling briskly.  Now, the City of San Juan Capistrano is considering a proposal from the same developer — Woodbridge Homes — to construct a 100 unit apartment building on a vacant parcel of land next door to San Juan Hills High School.  On August 2, 2012, the Design Review Committee for the City of San Juan Capistrano reviewed the proposed project and it appears to be heading for approval.  According to the developer, the apartment complex will be similar to the Capistrano Pointe development by Lyon Communities.  The apartment complex will contain 100 units with 26 units reserved for low and moderate income tenants.  In 2008, a larger proposed project with 163 units (33 of which being low and moderate income) was rejected.  The map below identifies the proposed four acre project location, north of Vista Montana and west of La Pata.

Location of Proposed Whispering Hills Apartment Complex

The San Juan Capistrano Patch has done a great job following this story.  Not surprisingly, the location of an apartment complex in a rural area (with a low income component) immediately adjacent to a high school is raising eyebrows and provoking questions, such as the comments in this Patch article.  The developer is pursuing approvals with a sense of urgency.  As the Patch points out, the developer won’t t have to overcome the objections of future Rancho San Juan residents if it can obtain the necessary approvals now.  La Pata in the vicinity of San Juan Hills High School seems destined for high-density apartment living and further congestion along Ortega Highway as Planning Area 1 is also scheduled to include another large apartment complex at the corner of Ortega and La Pata.

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