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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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Planning Commission Delays Vote on Downtown San Juan Hotel Project

The Capistrano Dispatch has an article about the San Juan Capistrano Planning Commission’s decision last week to delay an approval vote on a large development project proposed for downtown San Juan Capistrano adjacent to Historic Town Center Park. The $43 million project would include a 136-room boutique hotel, 33 residential townhomes and 2,700 square feet [...]

San Juan Capistrano Fiesta Association’s Kids Pet Parade Returns to Historic Los Rios District

Mark your calendars for more fun from the Fiesta Association. Below is the press release:

San Juan Capistrano Fiesta Association’s Kids Pet Parade Returns to Historic Los Rios District

San Juan Capistrano, Calif. – The San Juan Capistrano Fiesta Association presents its annual Kids Pet Parade on Sunday, February 23 at [...]

Top 10 Haunted Spots in Orange County

In celebration of Halloween, here are the links to last year’s “Top Ten Haunted Spots in Orange County”:

10. Katie Wheeler Library and the “Lady in Blue.”

9. John Wayne and the Wild Goose Yacht

8. Disneyland and Knott’s Berry Farm

7. Fox Theater

6. El Adobe de Capistrano Restaurant

5. Yorba Cemetery and the [...]

Los Angeles Times Honors Ilse Byrnes for Historic Preservation

The Los Angeles Times has published a lengthy story highlighting the historical preservation work of Ilse Byrnes. It is a fitting tribute to a citizen who has spent nearly 40 years working to protect Orange County’s historical legacy, and especially that of San Juan Capistrano. She is directly responsible for listing 13 sites on the [...]

City Council Denies Hummingbird House Cafe’s Application for Alcohol Sales

We recently discussed Hummingbird House’s application for limited alcohol sales at its Los Rios Street restaurant. That decision was delayed, but in an encouraging move, the San Juan Capistrano City Council asked staff to make a recommendation on how beer and wine sales might be permitted within the Los Rios Historic District. Unfortunately, this week [...]

A Toddler’s Visit to San Juan Capistrano

A toddler narrates his visit by train to Mission San Juan Capistrano and Los Rios Street. Very well done!

SJC City Council to Consider (More) Alcohol Sales on Los Rios Street

At tonight’s City Council meeting, the San Juan Capistrano City Council will consider a request from the Hummingbird House Cafe to permit alcohol sales at the restaurant. The Patch has an article about Hummingbird House’s appeal here. Alcohol sales are banned within the largely residential, entirely historic Los Rios Specific Plan. Banned, that is, except [...]

San Juan Capistrano Historical Society Celebrates 50 Years of Preservation

The Capistrano Dispatch has a great article celebrating the 50th anniversary of the San Juan Capistrano Historical Society. From the article:

The Historical Society celebrates its 50th anniversary this year. What started as a subcommittee of the Chamber of Commerce has grown to become a collection of some of the city’s most definitive and enthusiastic [...]

Make it your Mission to Experience San Juan!

image credit: OCTA

Nobody is looking forward to the traffic congestion that will result from the Ortega/I-5 interchange construction. But out-of-towners need not let that deter them from visiting downtown San Juan Capistrano. Metrolink trains are not affected by the construction and the train station is conveniently located in the heart of town, walking [...]

The Fate of Juan the Dinosaur Will be Decided Tonight

If you’ve been following local news in San Juan Capistrano, you know about the controversy over Juan the Dinosaur — the Apatosaurus replica that was installed at Zoomars Petting Zoo and that has some critics worried about the potential impact on Los Rios’s historical designation. Mostly recently, the Planning Commission rejected Juan’s permit application, stating [...]