Reserve judgement

Dear Editor:
I would like to express my support and that of my family toward accepting the proposal put forth by Elfend and Associates, Inc. and Milan LLC. 

My understanding is that in exchange for the approval of their 128-lot proposal consisting of 8,000, 9,200 and 10,000 sq. ft. lots, they would be willing to offer the community 68.5 acres of open space and greenway on the property formerly owned by Sully-Miller that has been a rock crushing and gravel operation in our backyard for the last 20 years. 

Other components of the Milan proposal include: $4.1 million in greenway improvements; $2 million to relocate the existing horse arena; $1 million in traffic and circulation improvements; $1 million for local trail improvements.

That is a total of $8.1 million in cash toward the improvement and beautification of this eyesore and community nuisance that is currently over 100 acres of mountains of rock, gravel, weeds and landfill. 

In addition to this, Milan is also willing to dedicate another 30 acres of land that was formerly the Ridgeline Country Club to the city and the community. 

This proposal would add nearly 100 acres of recreation and open space to an area that desperately needs it, and gives the city the ability to improve that land for the benefit of everyone in the City of Orange.

While we are grateful to the activists in Orange Park Acres for the 20-year battle they spearheaded to get the best deal possible for the community, two decades of enduring this ugly and noisy sight in my backyard is enough. We feel strongly that this current Milan proposal is as good as we would ever hope to achieve. Extending these negotiations will only result in either a revision of this offer with less land and less cash included to offset the loss of revenue from any concessions, or -- worse -- the withdrawal of the proposal altogether. My neighbors and I do not support another 20-year battle to reduce the number of homes on this property -- we want this blot upon the landscape gone yesterday! 

Mark Moore
The Reserve

Dear Editor:
I honestly didn’t know about Orange Park Acres, and certainly didn’t appreciate it, until moving here in 1995, and now living here for 23 years. Neighbors are involved and passionate here in OPA, protecting and preserving our rural lifestyle in densely populated Orange County. I have had a horse for 12 years, and my husband, sons and I ride the miles of trails behind our homes. 

I understand that when the developer of our homes sought approval, OPA was promised that the development would be horse property. The trail system was to be integrated, connected into the neighborhood. Our neighborhood is zoned for two horses per property. All of this planning and development was approved before I, or any of my neighbors, lived here. I understand the community’s frustration that the developer did not honor the equine vision for this development. 

OPA’s one-acre zoning didn’t happen by chance. It is preserved and maintained by people who work tirelessly to uphold the Orange Park Acres Specific Plan. I live in The Reserve, which is part of Orange Park Acres. I like the fact that the specific plan requires one-acre properties. Changing the specific plan to not require one-acres homes would set a horrible precedent, and ruin the reason we all moved here. 

Mabury Ranch, in 1993, accepted a zone change on the north side of the creek. Milan Capital has a right to build on Mabury’s side, and on the arena site. I understand the rock quarry is an issue. I experience horrible traffic congestion every day on Santiago and Windes during peak hours, which seem to get earlier and heavier every week. This traffic was nonexistent 20 years ago. 

I believe upholding the OPA Specific Plan protects us, and we are a stronger voice as a united Orange Park Acres. The rock quarry, OPA neighborhood preservation, traffic impacts will be resolved by respecting the specific plan. This will take patience, but I know there will ultimately be an amicable resolution. 

Kim Plehn
The Reserve

Ranch rankled

Dear Editor:
An October article in the Sentry implies the collaborative group (sometimes referred to as the liaison committee) agreed to a plan for 47 homes on the south side of the creek and that the group agreed this offer was a fair compromise. This is not the case. OPA’s representatives provided no advance notice to the coalition group of their intent to make a 47-home offer to Milan.  

The representatives of The Reserve and Mabury Ranch were put in a very difficult position. They could either agree at the moment (which they did) with the proposal, with the intent to discuss this offer once the Milan representative left the meeting, or not support the 47-home plan and run the risk of breaking up the coalition group. 

Representatives of both The Reserve and Mabury Ranch immediately made their disappointment in how this offer was made to Milan clear to the representatives of OPA. Mabury Ranch’s goals were met early in the negotiations with Milan, yet we stayed with the group to work together and find a plan that would be acceptable to all communities.   

We have since come to the realization the OPA representatives do not share our desire to continue to negotiate as a group for the benefit of all of East Orange. Both The Reserve and Mabury Ranch have requested meetings for the collaborative group. Unfortunately, to date, OPA has refused this request.

A comprehensive development of the Sully-Miller property needs to be negotiated once and for all. We would support a project that would benefit all of East Orange, and not just one or two entities with their own agenda. 

The article also claims that one of the representatives for the coalition group for Mabury Ranch was acting out of self-interest. The MRHOA Board strongly disagrees with this assertion. A recent survey conducted by the MRHOA Board found that 98 percent of Mabury Ranch residents that responded to the survey supported the “no homes north of the creek” position.  

It is clear that OPA holds dear, as well it should, the OPA Specific Plan that is intended to preserve a rural and equestrian lifestyle. At the same time, we cannot ignore that precedent has been set by OPA when it supported the Fieldstone proposed development of 185 homes on the Sully-Miller property. A letter from OPA was filed with the City of Orange on May 29, 2003 outlining the benefits such a development offers OPA. Maintaining an arena and the equestrian lifestyle are specifically mentioned in that letter. The OPA plan also mentions the clustering of homes. It is noted that clustering of homes “provides for equestrian activity” more so than one-acre lots.

In the future, the MRHOA Board would appreciate the opportunity to provide input to articles that the Foothill Sentry prints regarding this very important development. 

Board of Directors
Mabury Ranch HOA

Dear Editor:

Mabury Ranch’s problems should not be dumped on OPA.

I attended the Oct. 1 meeting where the Orange Planning Commission approved six houses (one-acre lots) on the OPA horse arena. I have always understood that the arena was zoned for houses and someday Milan could exercise its property right to build.  

That same evening, I met a Mabury Ranch resident and HOA board member. We discussed Milan’s proposal to build 129 homes on Sully-Miller, which he supports. He doesn’t want any houses built on the Mabury side of Sully-Miller, even though, like the horse arena site, 12 acres were zoned residential in 1993. Apparently when it was rezoned 25 years ago, Mabury Ranch didn’t object to adding another 25 homes. I find it interesting now that this board member wants that land to be open space, as he doesn’t want houses in front of his home. His solution is to support Milan’s scheme to put 129 tract houses in Orange Park Acres and the East Orange sphere of influence, which violates two specific plans and would dump more traffic onto Santiago Canyon Road.

I’m a property rights guy. If it’s zoned for houses, there’s very little you can do about it unless you want to buy it. If the Mabury Ranch board wants that 12 acres to be open space, they should buy it. It can be done. Orange Park Acres found a way to buy the 500-acre Barham Ranch property when it was threatened with unwanted development.

Let’s be clear, OPA should not be required to take on a Mabury board member’s  problem. Zoning is zoning. Orange Park Acres’ first priority is to protect the OPA Specific Plan and our rural community.  

Bob Kirkeby
Orange Park Acres

Fray expands

Dear Editor:
We, the residents of the Jamestown/un-gated Colony neighborhood, have been negatively impacted by years of air pollution, noise pollution, viewshed degradation, harassment and stressful development negotiations, as a result of activities conducted by the owner of the Sully-Miller property, located on the north side of Santiago Canyon Road, within the Santiago Creek watershed, as well as traffic congestion from the existing development. We would like a voice.  We are in consensus that the current dumping and gravel operations must end; however, we are not in consensus with the recent residential development proposals from Milan Capital for this property. 

Proposals for far too many homes have been moved to the southwest portion of the site, the area that most impacts the Jamestown/Colony neighborhood, and away from the areas where zoning for housing has already been approved. This particular area is also designated “open space” in the East Orange General Plan.  

The developer has rejected all proposals from the city-designated liaison committee that has been meeting for some time. This leads us to believe that the developer does not have the best interests of the community at heart. We have now been invited to have representation on the liaison committee, although it appears that this committee is no longer convening.  

Our neighborhood has major concerns regarding the current proposals. We ask that open meetings be organized by the City of Orange to allow each neighborhood affected by proposals to have a voice. We want transparency. We would like to work together as a community to find a resolution that is acceptable to all neighborhoods impacted by decisions made in this area, and receive the support of the city in this regard. The decisions made now will continue to impact this area for generations. Once again, anything is not better than what is currently on this site. Please give everyone a seat at the table. 

Signed by 43 residents of 
Jamestown/un-gated Colony

Road to ruin

Dear Editor:
Anyone who drives around here knows the traffic signal at Villa Park Road at Lemon St. continually phases to red for east/west traffic, despite there often not being a car coming off Lemon to trigger the light.

I’ve repeatedly emailed Villa Park City Hall to have this changed, but they’re apparently too busy to get back to people, let alone care about fixing this major inconvenience for all drivers.

Mike Granek

Fond farewell

Dear Editor:
It was with great sadness that we read in the October Foothills Sentry the letter from Betty Terry informing us of the injury to her arm and her permanent absence from the post office annex in the Villa Park Pharmacy.  We have been patrons of that annex for over 20 years, and have had dealings with Betty hundreds of times.  She was always cheerful and pleasant, and gave a warm greeting to everyone.  On any otherwise humdrum day, it was always uplifting to see and talk to Betty. Plus, she knew everything there was to know about stamps, classes of mail and postal regulations.  She did her job well and efficiently, particularly during the Christmas rush when there might be several people in line waiting to send packages. 

So allow us take this opportunity to say “goodbye” to Betty and “thank you” for the many kindnesses you have shown us and our family over the years.  Please accept our best wishes for a speedy and complete recovery from your recent injury. 

Richard and Alice Chrystie

Over taxed

Dear Editor:
It’s government rent payment time again, as we all receive our property tax notices for the coming year for the homes and land we only pretend to own. In reviewing my pay-up-or-else warning letter from the local tax extractor, I see I will have $200 less for my daughters’ college fund as the OUSD’s bond measure wrings it out of my wallet instead, the OUSD thankfully having saved me from my own bad decisions of what to do with my own money.

The public education system likes to sell the sizzle that critical thinking is of paramount importance to the education of children. However, when talking to many products of that system, I’ve found that steak gristly and cold.

Why do I pay more to support this OUSD bond, with my family of two children, than someone renting an apartment with six children within the same school system? What of those with no children in the system, or a large house paying $400 or $600 a year for this bond? What was the objective, rational, logical derivative for such a metric?

I humorously envision a conversation where a rational argument attempted to anchor itself, but was swept away by an emotional tide as someone said, “We should base it on how many children they have in the school system,” or “Equality and fairness are trending this week on Facebook, so we should just apply a flat rate to everyone.” And then a well-hydrated Kool-Aid drinker leapt up and trumpeted, “No! The answer is obvious! People with more rooms should pay more for school improvements!” The walls shivered with the applause as a standing ovation swept the audience.

Scott Logue

North Tustin

November 2018