August 2018

Accentuate the positive

Dear Editor:
The proposed project at Sully-Miller has many causes for concern: the number of homes, where they are built, traffic, open space, the East Orange General Plan (EOGP), and the OPA Specific Plan (OPASP). One-acre zoning is a key part of the OPASP. Why were Broadmoor, Pheasant Run and The Wilderness, which are all part of OPA, built on small lots? There is open space that surrounds Broadmoor, Pheasant Run and The Wilderness that, coupled with the lot sizes, adds up to one-acre parcels. That same strategy could be applied at Sully-Miller. There are 26 acres in the OPASP that are being proposed for homes. There are also more than 30 acres of open space that lie inside the OPASP. Using the same formula as Broadmoor means that at least 56 homes could be built in the OPA area while maintaining our goal of one-acre zoning.

The developer is proposing 129 homes be built on 40 acres. The proposed average size lot is 10,500 sq. ft. They are also proposing building four miles of trails, a bridge over Santiago Creek to create loop trails, open space for an extension of Santiago Oaks Park, $4 million toward clean-up of Santiago Creek, helping traffic with a dedicated right-turn-only lane all the way to Serrano Ave., dedication of the existing horse arena site to OPA, Ridgeline given to the City of Orange for permanent recreation open space, and the possible return of golf and tennis. 

This developer owns 167.5 acres between Sully-Miller, the arena site and Ridgeline. He wants to build on 40 acres of this land with the balance of 127.5 acres being dedicated to open space and recreational uses. Some are saying we shouldn’t even be talking with this developer since they treated us so badly. I say we should be negotiating with this developer to get the least number of homes possible, get the benefits that our communities want and need, clean up the mess that blights our neighborhoods, and move on! 

For those who think we shouldn’t even be talking with this developer, or don’t think Ridgeline is important, or that the OPA, arena isn’t a big part of OPA think about this: with a little compromise, we all win!  Ridgeline could return for golf and tennis. Our kids could have a great place for summer camp. Our community could have a long-sought-after arena, with no strings attached. Just think: Ridgeline, the OPA arena, open space, trails, and a cleaned up neighborhood are worth a lot to the City of Orange and to OPA.

There is too much good on the table to bury our heads in the DG.  

Tom Davidson
Orange Park Acres

Eliminate the negative

Dear Editor:
Focus on the foundation, not the shiny objects.

If the Sully-Miller Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR) was a term paper and turned in for a grade, it would be deemed incomplete and receive a failing grade.

Milan Capital, the landowner, is like the student who tries to take the easy way out using short cuts, only to find the easy way is just a long, tortured and tormented route to failure. Remember Ridgeline? Milan tried to divide the community against itself, tried to buy city council members, sued Orange Citizens, hired goons to interfere with a referendum, and in the end lost it all at the California Supreme Court.

Milan is again showing its true colors by offering shiny objects in hopes that the community will disregard the major flaws in its proposal. You simply can’t ignore that this DEIR is the worst in memory. Milan is going about the process backwards, focused on the number of houses instead of dealing with the concerns of the residents.

I was pleased to hear Don Bradley, OPA president, confirm at the recent trail meeting that the problems with the DEIR must be cured. He also stated it would be a non-starter if the OPA Specific Plan were not preserved.  These are the basics, the foundation of what makes Orange Park Acres such a special place. I agree that we should minimize the number of homes and keep it right at 40. Stick with our OPA plan. It has served us well over the years.

For those who are negotiating on our behalf, the citizens of Orange and the communities that surround Sully-Miller, it would be wrong to get fixated on the candy that is being offered by this landowner. Milan should first answer the tough questions that should have been included in the DEIR. Let’s remember, we have property rights too. The rural character of our community must be respected.

Dave Hillman 
Orange Park Acres

Dear Editor:
After studying and following the proposals to develop the Santiago Road gravel site, I have come to realize some upsetting and possibly disastrous situations that will occur if this project is allowed the re-zoning that the builder is attempting to hijack our Orange City Council into accepting. 

The fires last October were terrifying, and disruptive to the hundreds of residents affected by this disaster.  Santiago Road, all the way to the 55 freeway, was gridlocked, due to residents trying to flee the danger, the traffic that the CHP re-routed to avoid the 241, and the normal flow of daily commuters on this two-lane (each way) road.  It took me 45 minutes, with my family’s most precious belongings in our car, to travel from the OPA Meads exit to the 55 freeway (approx. two miles). This traffic debacle was not only frustrating, but potentially dangerous. If the fire had indeed come down that canyon, through the area Milan Capital wishes to develop with homes, imagine the influx of evacuees that would have increased. Imagine 240 more homes in this area with only ONE street to handle the evacuation.

Milan wants 240 homes, not the 129 it says it will develop. Changing the zoning will allow Milan to develop that many. The builder refuses to include a master plan of home sites that would indicate its intention to stick with the “announced quantity” of 129.  These developers don’t even want to follow the law, they want to have the City of Orange amend or change the zoning (that is there to protect us all from over development), so they can build hundreds of homes where it is not safe, feasible, or in the best interests of our community.

I oppose this development because Orange Park Acres is unique, and worth saving.  If Milan wants to build homes … fine … build them on one-acre parcels that will sell for much more that the cookie-cutter homes proposed, will pay higher taxes, (believe me, I know) and keep the amount of undeveloped land called for in the OPA plan.

Milan’s plans are incomplete on purpose.  It wants re-zoning to build many more homes than stated, or as has been stated privately, sell the property to another developer that will have free rein to do whatever it wants, with no laws or ordinances to stop them.  Don’t be fooled by the “promises” of a golf course, “open spaces” for hikers, and bikers, and all the other ridiculous promises they are making for us to support this.  The DEIR is incomplete, inaccurate, and illegal, and does not address the real issues of traffic, density, hydrology, water quality and the impact on our schools.

I urge the Orange City Council to not fall prey to Milan’s attempts to abrogate the law, influence zone changes, and over-develop in our city. Remember, “to those that much is given, much is expected in return.”  Milan is giving us nothing, and promising much.

John Reina
Orange Park Acres