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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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Vamos a la Escuela a Aprender: Mapping and Translating the Street Names of Esencia’s First Phase

On Friday we mentioned that development was progressing on the first phase of Planning Area 2, east of Antonio Parkway in Rancho Mission Viejo. Today, we have some preliminary tract maps showing the street patterns and names for Planning Area 2.1 and giving us a more detailed glimpse into the layout of the new community. [...]

Status Update on Planning Area 2

Those interested in following the progress at Rancho Mission Viejo’s Planning Area 2 have to do so from afar. From what we understand, here is the current status of development in Planning Area 2, dubbed the Village of Esencia. Underway now is phase 2.1 of Planning Area 2, covering 464 acres. This phase will eventually [...]


One of the interesting things about writing this blog is that most of our communication with readers occurs through the back channel. We have also found that our audience includes many of the people involved with the issues about which we write, and that is gratifying because it means we are providing useful information. We [...]

New CUSD School in Rancho Mission Viejo Has a Name, But Don’t Ask Us How to Spell It

The Capistrano Dispatch is reporting that Capistrano Unified School District has selected a name for the K-8 school being built in Rancho Mission Viejo’s Planning Area 2:

Capistrano Unified school board selects name for its next K-8 campus in Rancho Mission Viejo: Escencia School.

We’re still confused by the proper spelling of Esencia/Escencia. We’ve usually [...]

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, [...]

LA Times Article Describes Sendero as an Example of an Agrihood

The LA Times has published an interesting article about Rancho Mission Viejo’s community of Sendero. The article is here, and it focuses on Sendero as an example of an emerging trend in residential development described by the Times as “a trend by land developers nationally to design communities that center around sustainable farms rather than [...]

Cow Camp Road Bridge Taking Shape

We’ve been told that the Cow Camp Road bridge that will connect Antonio Parkway to Planning Area 2 (and beyond) is a long bridge — it’s length being necessary to preserve the environmentally sensitive habitat in the watershed below it. The photo below illustrates just how expansive the Cow Camp Road bridge will be when [...]

Register Article Confirms Details about Planning Area 2: Esencia

We’ve been talking more about Planning Area 2 of the Ranch Plan lately, and judging by the search results, more of you are looking for information about PA2 as well. We introduced you to Planning Area 2 here, and updated you (and revealed its name, Esencia) here. Below is a map of the full Planning [...]

A Topographical View of Planning Area 2

Google Maps has a cool new feature where you can tilt the map and get a topographical view of an area. We decided to have some fun and lay the boundaries for Planning Area 2 over a topographical map of the region. Below is the result — note the boundaries aren’t perfect. We were just [...]

Planning Area 2 Development Update; Esencia Will be Built in Phases

Chatter about Planning Area 2 is beginning to pick up and we are hearing additional details about development plans there. We previously introduced you to Planning Area 2 here, and more recently updated you on PA2 here. Below is a further status update on Planning Area 2:

Planning Are 2 will be known as the [...]