OC Board Rejects Appeal of Housing Development Project

Blue sky and residential house background

Photo: Lilkin / iStock / Getty Images

SANTA ANA (CNS) - Orange County supervisors Tuesday rejected an appeal of planning commission approval of a 37-unit residential development in north Tustin on tennis and pickleball courts.

The county planning commission on May 10 approved the Ranch Hills project at 11782 Simon Ranch Road in an unincorporated area of north Tustin. The Foothill Communities Association appealed to the board of supervisors to overturn that approval.

The Tustin Hills Racquet and Pickleball Club occupies the 5.88-acre site where the homes will be built. It includes eight tennis courts, a dozen pickleball courts, a swimming pool and two small spas as well as banquet and meeting rooms in two single-story buildings.

The developer plans to build 37 homes with a recreation center and several small pocket parks. The density is expected to be 6.29 homes per acre.

The homes are expected to have two to three bedrooms and 3.5 bathrooms.

Orange County Board Chairman Don Wagner moved to reject the planning commission approval and send the project "back to the drawing board," but that died for lack of a second.

Wagner noted the Orange County Fire Authority has "`given preliminary blessings, but not final blessings" to the project.

"It is true that this project is in a moderate fire zone that has seen fires before," Wagner said.

"There are significant health and safety risks that have been identified by the opposition and those need to be addressed," Wagner said of the entrance and exit points for potential fire evacuation.

But Orange County Supervisor Doug Chaffee said, "What I see here is a project most of my cities would love to have. It's small, it's market rate and the lots are of good size and there are special provisions for elderly people, and it ass significantly to the tax base."

Orange County Supervisor Katrina Foley added, "Frankly, it's providing housing for the next generation. We do need housing for the next generation. If you don't see that it's unfortunate because I know when I talk to people out in the community they're concerned about where their children are going to be able to live ... This kind of intermediate housing is housing that is desperately needed."

Foley noted that some elderly homeowners looking to downsize would find the homes attractive and it would allow them to remain in the neighborhood.

Chaffee, Foley and Supervisor Vince Sarmiento said they were also concerned that if the board rejected the project they could face a more dense development if the builders can take advantage of state laws allowing for relief under a push for more affordable housing in California.


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