Santiago Hills residents OK with revised landscaping plan

Residents of Santiago Hills have given the city a thumbs-up on revised community landscaping plans, following a renewed effort between the City of Orange and homeowners to “work together.” 

Santiago Hills property owners pay a biannual assessment to pay for landscaping, irrigation, and common area maintenance.  In 2015, the community voted to increase the assessment, with the promise of increased maintenance, the removal of dead plant material, and the introduction of a drought-tolerant palette.

A “test” drought-tolerant scheme was installed at the corner of Trails End and Chapman --  and many residents hated it.  Plans to install similar plant material on the other side of the housing tract were halted when homeowners challenged the city to deliver the promised maintenance schedule, “listen to residents” regarding plant choices, get rid of the offensive meadow grass on Trails End, and remove dead trees and bushes.

City staff subsequently met with some 150 Santiago Hills residents and submitted a revised plan to the council and community, Oct. 24.

Skylark will not be home to meadow grass.  It will include turf on the parkways and medians, rockrose and such low water varietals as lantana and sage.  Work is expected to commence this month and be completed by February, weather permitting.  A new water efficient, subsurface irrigation system will be installed.

The meadow grass at Trails End will remain for the short term.  Alternatives for it will be considered as an overall plan is created for the entire community.  

The city also assured the community that dead plants will be removed and replaced, like for like.  The turf is being aerated and overseeded, and the contract with the maintenance company may be amended to allow for more maintenance.

The council approved a $133,908 contract with Nieves Landscaping to complete the renovations on Skylark.