Contact Us


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).

We have installed some new anti-spam software, and we are going to try again with open registration. Registration and sign-in information are available at the bottom of the far right column. As always, if you have any questions or concerns, you may email us at



OC Board of Supervisors and Rancho Mission Viejo Seem to be Planning for Life Without the 241 Tesoro Extension

It looks as though Orange County and Rancho Mission Viejo are ready to move forward with the alternative road plan, and appear to be concluding that the Tesoro Extension of the 241 will not be built. Back in April, we wrote in this article about how the 241 to the 5 connector was likely dead, [...]

Toll Road Fares Increase Today

Remember, toll fares on the South County toll roads increased today. From the Patch:

The rates will increase by one to five cents for FasTrak customers on the 133, 241 and 261 toll roads, and by four to 60 cents on the 73 toll road, depending on the location and time of travel.

Updating What We Know About Planning Area 2: The Village of Esencia

We have noticed a sudden, recent uptick in the number of internet searches related to Planning Area 2 of the Ranch Plan, what Rancho Mission Viejo has named the Village of Esencia.

We are also learning more about Rancho Mission Viejo’s plans for Planning Area 2 of the Ranch Plan. It is being called “Esencia” [...]

OCTA Seeking Comments on its Draft Long Range Transportation Plan at Public Meeting Tonight

There is a ton of construction going on in South County right now. For the next few years, South County residents will need to deal with construction on I-5 at Avenida Pico, Ortega Highway and El Toro just for starters. We will also watch as the Rancho Mission Viejo transportation infrastructure is built out over [...]

Cash Tolls on the Toll Roads will End May 14

If you’ve driven any of our local toll roads recently, you are aware of (or perhaps confused about) the changes coming to TCA toll collection. On May 14, drivers will no longer have an option to pay cash at toll booths. According to the toll road agency:

On May 14 at 12:01 a.m., we will [...]

Register Article on the Rise in Mountain Lion Deaths in Orange County

The unfortunate recent encounter between a mountain lion and a family hiking in Whiting Ranch Wilderness Park has heightened concerns about the survival of these big cats and the tragic consequences of human encroachment. The Register is reporting an alarming rise in the number of mountain lions who have died at human hands, including vehicle [...]

Toll Roads Scrap I-5 Connector; Refocus on Tesoro Extension

The under-resourced and under-staffed Patch is still able to break some local news, such as this story:

Officials overseeing the 241 Toll Road in Orange County said today they have moved to scrap federal environmental reviews of an extension of the major arterial to San Diego County because they have languished for about a decade. [...]

San Clemente, Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano Mayors Talk about the Future of South Orange County

The newly appointed mayors of San Clemente, Dana Point and San Juan Capistrano (Tim Brown, Lisa Bartlett and Sam Allevato) sat down with the publishers of the Capistrano Dispatch and its sister publications to talk about the future of South Orange County. You should read the entire article here, but we wanted to highlight some [...]

Airplane Uses 241 as a Runway and Gets Us Thinking…

Apparently, a small airplane used the 241 toll road on Sunday to make an emergency landing. The RSM Patch has a short story. There were no injuries on the ground or in the plane, which is good. But it did get us thinking. On the one hand, the OC Great Park (perhaps it should be [...]

An Introduction to Planning Area 2

With the success of Sendero (originally known to some of us as Planning Area 1), Rancho Mission Viejo is already working on Planning Area 2:

For those who are just starting the home shopping process, Rancho Mission Viejo would still welcome you out. As Johnson explained, “We’re already working on Planning Area 2 to begin [...]