Articles and Op-Ed Details

Editorial: What’s Happening with the Rancho Mission Viejo Plan?

As we continue to work our way through these times of economic challenges, I want to share with you some encouraging news.  Many may recall back in 2004 when the Orange County Board of Supervisors gave approval to Rancho Mission Viejo for the development of a new planned community that would include 14,000 residential units, and approximately 5.2 million square feet of non-residential uses – known as “The Ranch Plan.”

The good news is that over the past year, the Rancho Mission Viejo company has been working closely with Orange County Public Works staff to update their plans and move forward with grading operation for a Planning Area 1 located immediately south of Ladera Ranch, west of Antonio Parkway.   The result is that over the next year, specific site plans and construction permit applications will be reviewed to support the construction of approximately 685 market rate units, 286 active adult units, almost 300 rental apartments and a retail and an office center.  All this effort is being made in the hope that models will be open and new homes will be for sale sometime in 2013.

As we all know, the construction industry is a significant part of the economic engine that enables Orange County residents to continue enjoying the quality of life many in other parts of the country envy.

When the Board approved the Ranch Plan, a key component of the approval was a strategy to plan for the impact on existing residents with a “roads first” strategy. The concept is very simple: the County and Rancho Mission Viejo agreed to collaborate to assemble a variety of public and private funding sources to plan, design and construct necessary road improvements to ensure the addition of new residents and businesses would not impact mobility within existing communities.

You may have noticed the improvements to widen Ortega Highway including recently completed work at the Ortega Highway/Antonio Parkway intersection. You may have also noticed the current activity to widen Antonio parkway south of Ladera Ranch. These projects are components of this strategy.

Here is the status of all the major road improvement projects in the area:

  • Ortega widening (City limits/San Juan Capistrano to east of Antonio Parkway). - Project is complete.

  • Antonio Parkway widening from 4 to 6 lanes (Ladera Ranch to south of Ortega). - Project is under construction with 50% completion.  Project completion is anticipated by December 2012.

  • Cow Camp Road (Antonio Parkway to future Foothill Transportation Corridor (FTC)) - Project is being designed and constructed in three phases.  Design of three lanes (Phase 1 and 2) between Antonio Parkway to FTC is to be completed by fall 2012. Construction of Phase 1 and 2 is planned from March 2012 to December 2013. No design or construction plans for phase 3 are currently set.

  • La Pata widening and extension as four lanes from Ortega Highway to Calle Saluda/San Clemente - Design expected to be completed by December 2012. Advertise and construction of project May 2013- December 2014

I’m pleased with the collaboration among the community, OC Public Works staff and Rancho Mission Viejo to bring these projects to an implementation stage well ahead of the arrival of new homes.  This proactive coordination will ensure the new homes will have infrastructure in place to support not only the needs of existing residents but their needs as well. 

For more information about County road improvements associated with the Ranch Plan, visit