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Two development projects in San Juan Capistrano get council’s OK

Two recently approved development projects in San Juan Capistrano will add 301 homes in the city.

Lennar will turn a 35-acre lot off Del Obispo Street into what has been dubbed “The Farm.” The project will include 169 homes along with a half-acre public park, a community trail and a private recreation facility.

Owned by the Vermeulen family, the property is the last piece of privately owned farm land in the city.

In the second proposal approved by the City Council this month, Watt Communities will build 132 homes on a 16.1-acre lot at Paseo Tirador off San Juan Creek. Fourteen of those units will be earmarked for people making 80% to 120% of the area’s median income.

Both projects got unanimous approval from the council, although Mayor Troy Bourne recused himself from voting on The Farm project because of a relationship with the Vermeulen family.

Councilman Brian Maryott did call The Farm project “a little bit underwhelming,” saying he had hoped for a bigger park and better design.

Still, Maryott and other council members noted the project is allowed under the framework the city approved in 2018. In fact, developers can build up to 180 units of homes under the agreement, which came after years of the legal and political battles over the property’s future.

“Here we are – we are at the final stage,” Councilman Derek Reeve said. “We are doing some finishing, some touch-up, if you will, as we move forward.”

Some residents who spoke at the meeting expressed concerns about having two-story homes next to Rancho Alipaz mobile home park. But officials said they believe the concerns can be addressed by planting more trees between the project and the mobile home park.

As for the Paseo Tirador development, some residents submitted a letter to the city asking to keep the San Juan Creek Trail open during the project’s construction. Watt Communities will build a temporary trail through the site, and if doing so proves not to be feasible, the developer will create a detour plan to route trail users to San Juan Creek Road, said Laura Stokes, the city’s housing supervisor and associate planner.

The council members at their July 21 meeting voted for the Paseo Tirador project without much discussion.

Source: Orange County Register

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