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Private property owner seeking to build mixed-use project on northwest corner of Marguerite, La Paz

the gardens

Private property owner and developer ValueRock Realty, which owns The Commons in Aliso Viejo, applied to the City seeking to establish a new mixed-use land use designation and zoning district for a new project – The Gardens – on the northwest side of Marguerite Parkway and La Paz.  

The developer’s application, which the City’s Community Development Department deemed “incomplete” and which will require public hearings, calls for 48,000 square feet of retail; five upper stories of residential development with 234 apartment units; and 626 parking spaces on the 6.5-acre site currently zoned as Office/Professional and developed as the Garden Plaza commercial and office center at 27001 La Paz Road. The private property owner’s application proposes to demolish the existing 46,148 square feet of building area to make way for the new mixed-use project with a 1.65-floor area ratio and maximum height of six stories and 74 feet.  The proposed apartment units would be a mix of studio-, 1-, 2-, and 3-bedroom units ranging from 581 to 1,547 square feet with a project density of 36 dwelling units per acre including the provision of 12 units as affordable to lower-income households.  

As stated, this is a development application from a private property owner. The City does not own this property. The application is incomplete – meaning the developer’s proposed plans could change. Currently, the item is referenced in the Planning and Transportation Commission’s “Status Report” to help make the Commission and public aware of future agenda items.  When the application is complete, as will be updated in the “Status Report,” the plans will be available for viewing as part of the public hearings. Residents are encouraged to participate in the public hearing process, which could take two to three months or more. 

During a future public hearing, the date of which has not yet been determined, the private property owner will ask the Planning and Transportation Commission to approve the application. Community members can attend the meeting and provide testimony to the Planning and Transportation Commission. The Commission will then decide what it thinks is best for the private property owner and community. The project will then go before the City Council for a final decision, where the community can again give its input before a decision is made. 

Folks can sign up for the City’s eNewsletter and the agendas of the City Council and Planning and Transportation Commission to stay apprised of public hearings and the official, accurate news of the City of Mission Viejo.  

Comments

Submitted by Robert Long on Thu, 10/07/2021 - 5:42 pm

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As anyone on the city council drove down la Paz towards the freeway at 7-8am?…. Our streets can not handle this added traffic that the “Mixed use” project will bring..

Submitted by Martha Uriarte on Thu, 10/07/2021 - 5:54 pm

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Traffic is insane between LA Paz Rd and Marguerite Pkwy. It takes me 35 minutes to reach Fwy 5 during peak hour. We have traffic from Newhart Middle School and people going to work.

Submitted by Martha Uriarte on Thu, 10/07/2021 - 5:57 pm

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This is an irresponsible protect, no traffic impact report. What about environmental footprint.
12 units as affordable to lower-income households of the total 581 units? Is this a joke?

Submitted by Margaret Upton on Thu, 10/07/2021 - 6:07 pm

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A resounding "NO." That corner is traffic heavy as it is and there is no room for the traffic that amount of housing would bring in.

Submitted by Diane Crandall on Thu, 10/07/2021 - 6:19 pm

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I have lived in Mission Viejo for over 20 years and this corner is one of the busiest in the city. This proposed increase in density is wrong for our city. We all made sacrifices to live in a single-family neighborhood and there is already a huge traffic problem at this intersection. There is no option to widen La Paz or Marguerite--I say NO to this project.

Submitted by John Keator on Thu, 10/07/2021 - 6:20 pm

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Have lived in the Deane Homes since 1977. Finding it more and more difficult to exit our development and enter La Paz from Mosquero and even when the light turns in our favor, many cars block our exit ; traffic is at present ridiculous! So we are already in need of additional lanes on La Paz and can't imagine another 3 or 4 hundred cars trying to reach the freeway . Hopefully if the plan gets a green light one of the requirements should be the developer adds couple lanes on La Paz to handle the new commuters!

Submitted by Hugh Speed on Thu, 10/07/2021 - 6:22 pm

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This looks like part of SB9. No impact statements? Remember what they wanted to do next to the Nadadors complex. Apartments. Some serious questions need to be asked with what the impact, traffic, crime, etc. We do not need overcrowding!

Submitted by Private on Thu, 10/07/2021 - 6:25 pm

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I like MV the way it is….why not use the vacant buildings around town that already exist to put new stores in rather than increasing traffic & commotion. We for sure don’t need more of anything. Keep MV quiet & suburban the way we love it.

Submitted by Terry Holland on Thu, 10/07/2021 - 6:46 pm

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Isn't an environmental impact report required for such a project. All opposed to the project should demand that such a study be done.

Submitted by E Thomson on Thu, 10/07/2021 - 7:31 pm

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More water usage
More electricity usage
More noise for residents around the site.
More traffic and carbon output.

Why would we even consider this idea? This is a planned community and that property was part of the plan and these changes disrupt this plan and for what good?

Submitted by Ann Elizabeth Owens on Thu, 10/07/2021 - 7:48 pm

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I feel the city is missing out by not negotiating for more low-income housing in this development that will help fulfill the RHNA numbers.
Maybe La Paz needs to be widened.

Submitted by K. Black on Thu, 10/07/2021 - 7:49 pm

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It would seem in the best interests of the City, citizens, an economy in visible high flux, as well as a recognizably unstable real estate market, that at the very least, a moratorium at this point in time could be placed on any development until the plans for what will be a public hearing and approved plan for the proposed city central plaza.

THIS CITY PLAN OF HIGHLY PUBLIC CONCERN being so closely considered at this point - and so impactful to the quality of life, economy, costs, and circulation needs of the community - should have best priority over any private efforts to slip in and perhaps unduly influence the public improvement plan already in the works.

Until this major effort of plan and review for and by the community at large, that is already well into consideration in early expense and time, and due its major ongoing public input, a MORATORIUM on any impending private development should wait for proper clear public vetting of such an important city-center area that is in-work... This especially since a private development effort could perhaps find less adherence to public intent for this central city area, and even less consideration that a following inflated sale of such a development afterwards might end up in conflict with a longer range view of the welfare of the city and community at large.

This moratorium, in conjunction with a publicly approved and finalized plan and action for the popular intent of the city center, in proposal versions now, might best include this central development AREA ( both sides of Marguerite Pkwy, in both directions from La Paz at the center) from The Elks Club property to the north, and the Walgreen's location to the south, as a best community protected space.

Submitted by Barbara Hosmer on Thu, 10/07/2021 - 9:48 pm

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i agree with all comments so far.
some fun facts here tho....
in the beginning of the city's plan for the city center, plans included this corner and the ralph's corner too...with things like movie theaters, mixed use including housing, etc. scroll back to 2016 and see.
oh, and the city center project isn't "well into consideration." it's inked!
and the la paz widening has also already been approved and funded. but let's put more traffic out there first! it's just what we do!
and who cares if it's 581 units or 264. 12 units? we'll never meet our mandate that way.
and a whopping 626 parking places? each unit will need at least 2, PLUS for the retail.
but...sales tax revenue AND real estate tax revenue? somebody catch the city council. they must be swooning!

Submitted by concerned neighbor on Fri, 10/08/2021 - 5:08 am

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la paz has already turned into a freeway how much more can you ruin this quoint
beautiful neighborhood? if this project is accepted /approved its because someone besides the people proposing this project stand to profit from this! leave this beautiful city alone!

Submitted by Connie Belmont on Fri, 10/08/2021 - 6:38 am

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I have lived in Mission Viejo 40 years, what happened to the bedroom community, this is not city living the traffic is already insane. PLEASE PLEASE. NO!!!!!

Submitted by Milica Obradov… on Fri, 10/08/2021 - 7:21 am

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Garden Plaza is home to many small businesses. Most of these businesses are owned by Mission Viejo residents, they employ local residents and provide valuable services to local residents.
How is new development going to address the need for mixed space office/medical/retail/restaurant use? Where are all these businesses supposed to go? Where will residents need to go to get services these businesses provide?

Submitted by Kathleen Krieger on Fri, 10/08/2021 - 7:39 am

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There isn’t any doubt that the current property needs refreshing. I certainly hope the the City Council provides Mission Viejo residents with complete transparency and requires all the required impact studies. Or this company can just look around and realize the what they are proposing is utterly ridiculous at this location. 236 units, 626 parking spots. Those streets weren’t designed nor can they be expanded to handle all the additional traffic. But most disturbing is their plans only allows 12 low income units. Let’s not turn Mission Viejo into a vertical community like Irvine has done around the airport.

Submitted by Jennifer Broas on Fri, 10/08/2021 - 8:35 am

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Show up to the public meeting!!!! This is a big NO! Traffic would be horrific! We don’t need a high rise apartment community there. It definitely needs a face lift because it’s old and a bit of an eye sore but NO to apartments!!!!!

Submitted by Doretta Steele on Fri, 10/08/2021 - 9:13 am

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This reminds me of another project. I live in Painted Trails. I just learned they are building 91 multi-family homes next to the Saddleback Church office and Toll Road and right next to Painted Trails.

Was there ever a public hearing for this? I worked in the building industry for years so I am pro growth but I would like just a few details to tell neighbors if they start to complain. I saw the construction vehicles but did not know what they were building until recently. I believe the homebuilder is Tri-Mark which I have heard good things. I was with John Laing Homes for 19 years.

Submitted by Cynthia Tyler on Fri, 10/08/2021 - 9:18 am

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I find it hard to believe this project is even under consideration. It has been suggested that La Paz be widened, but what part of La Paz? Between Marguerite and the freeway, which would obviously be the most impacted, there is no room for expansion unless eminent domain is declared (and wouldn't that be a state issue, not city?). Even (eventually) with all lanes open after passing Chrisanta, there is congestion and sometimes difficulty getting onto the freeway. Add about 300 cars between 7 and 8 AM and people will be lucky to get to work by 11AM. Count me as a "NO".

Submitted by larry gilbert on Fri, 10/08/2021 - 10:10 am

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Be consistent. the council majority have all pledged to oppose any housing in the Village Center across the street. Ed, Greg and Wendy. We ask you to make the same pledge to the residents on this application once it is submitted for approval.
This parcel is called Opportunity Zone #2 and is across the street from the Village Center, Opportunity Zone #1. Quality of life and public safety also enter the discussion on property rights. Just say no!

Submitted by Kasey Kelley on Fri, 10/08/2021 - 10:19 am

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So what you are stating below is that the MV community has a voice (at a meeting) but doesn't have a vote in this situation? We don't get a say in the outcome since the community doesn't make the final call and a small handful of City Council members decide for us. If this 5 story apt complex goes through, everyone watch out who you vote for in the next city election.

" Community members can attend the meeting and provide testimony to the Planning and Transportation Commission. The Commission will then decide what it thinks is best for the private property owner and community. The project will then go before the City Council for a final decision, where the community can again give its input before a decision is made. "

Submitted by CLAY RENFRO on Fri, 10/08/2021 - 10:30 am

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Not just "NO' , but "NO!"
(See traffic concerns in above comments.)
Traffic is so busy there that my observation is that for almost each left-turn signal cycle there is at least one vehicle running a red light.
And BTW; the city would probably generate more $ from tickets if this intersection was monitored instead of the downhill run of Marguerite alongside the golf course with it's arbitrarily low speed limit.

Submitted by Rachel B. on Fri, 10/08/2021 - 1:56 pm

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Does this plan include cutting down all of the trees on this corner? I believe there is at least one residential street that backs up to this property. Will this remove privacy for those owners? Six stories is huge and that will definitely ruin privacy for the homeowners on the other side and presumably decrease their property values. If my house backed up to this property I would be really upset by this proposal. As everyone else has already pointed out, traffic at that intersection is already really bad during commute times. Adding this many units will have a major impact. I think most of us enjoy the sleepier character of our bedroom community. Don’t we have enough apartment complexes in Mission Viejo already. Why the constant desire to turn this town into Irvine Spectrum? We looked at houses in several of the surrounding cities and we chose MV because of its small town appeal and aesthetics.

Submitted by Cathy Schlicht on Fri, 10/08/2021 - 4:34 pm

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In the name of protecting due process, at a recent city council meeting the city attorney chastised public speakers for talking about this proposed development.

Now the City is posting this Press Release EVERYWHERE.

What's going on? Who or what is the City trying to influence?

Generally, everything is hush hush and then with minimal notice, the City springs it on the public - like the Stein Mart purchase with its pending $46 million bond.

Submitted by Jim Grissom on Fri, 10/08/2021 - 4:43 pm

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Add this to the project to make the creek area an attraction and we have a recipe for a huge traffic mess. Driving in the area of the MVHS, La Paz intermediate and Linda Vista Elem at the start and end of school is already a complete mess. It will be way worse of this is allowed to happen. The plan seems to be remove most of the local businesses and pack in more residents. This was sold as a planned community when we moved here 53 yeas ago. I am OK with intelligent change. This is not that!

Submitted by Kathy on Sat, 10/09/2021 - 1:26 am

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NOOOO! Mission Viejo already has enough traffic and siren noise! Are we going to be another LA? We should take a citizen vote! Stop the high rises!

Submitted by Carla St. Laurent on Sat, 10/09/2021 - 11:08 am

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The city should have bought this property, and made it into a city-center-like area for the people, instead of the Steinmart building. It could be a mirror image to the beautiful library and city hall complex. Letting private people built up as they wish is going to make it like around Costco, or Laguna Hills Mall. Architecturally, it would be hideous and totally not in harmony with the rest of the community. The concerns for traffic are valid. There are also many school children--elementary, middle school, high school--who are walking, riding bikes, learning to drive--and would be vulnerable to the increase in traffic (and people running red lights). I am thankful so many comments are in agreement! Let's hope the City Council listens to the people on this important issue.

Submitted by E.L. Hanson on Sat, 10/09/2021 - 3:16 pm

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Is there any additional information provided anywhere on this topic? Has the parcel been sold to the private developer?
I am assuming there would be some preliminary due diligence if the proposal is at this point (noise/traffic studies, environmental etc), it would be great if it is public information that can reviewed.
The La Paz traffic is already as maximum burden to the point where it impacts the surrounding neighbors that are being forced to become major/surrogate thoroughfares alternatives.

Submitted by Keith C on Sun, 10/10/2021 - 8:19 am

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I beg the city council members vote NO to this project, if/when it gets to that stage.
I love the embient of the city AS IT IS. Such high density new development is not what we expected when we chose Mission Viejo as our home many years ago.

Submitted by Kathryn L. on Sun, 10/10/2021 - 12:44 pm

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Absolutely, 100% NO to this!!

My family and I just moved to Mission Viejo from LA County to escape this. Sad.

Mission Viejo will start to lose its appeal if developments like these continue to pop up. There is already plenty of apartment living nearby - this is completely unnecessary. And totally unfair to the people living in homes in the neighborhood behind this location!!

NO, NO, NO!!

City Council - please DO NOT approve the rezoning of this property!!

Submitted by Donna Livermore on Sun, 10/10/2021 - 12:53 pm

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I agree that this should NOT be approved. Too much traffic as it is and it would only add more. Not to mention, apartments, really?? six stories, really?? NO!

Submitted by Dwight & Barba… on Sun, 10/10/2021 - 2:33 pm

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Residents north of La Paz are already severely impacted by traffic volume and speed. We are forced to weave through neighborhoods to make a safe left turn onto Marguerite at a signal and right turns are becoming more and more difficult. Anything that increases traffic in this area is a big NO. How would those "new residents" safely enter and exit that property? Another signal 500 feet past the intersection?

Submitted by Margaret Gordon on Sun, 10/10/2021 - 3:03 pm

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The proposed height of the structures is not in keeping with the city style. Seems like the high density structures are more common next to freeway. The mixed use in Laguna Hills has low commercial occupancy so why would this be different?

Submitted by City Staff on Mon, 10/11/2021 - 11:02 am

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Thank you for your comments on the City’s News page. As noted in the article, the property owner ValueRock Realty has submitted a proposal that is currently “incomplete.” At the time that their proposal may become complete, it will be presented at a Public Hearing with the Planning and Transportation Commission, and the Commission’s recommendation will be considered at a Public Hearing with the City Council for final action. The plans, reports and studies, including a full Environmental Impact Report will be presented at these Public Hearings and available online through the City’s website prior to those hearings when the Agendas are set. As some of these reports and studies may not be commenced/completed until the application becomes complete, it is expected that this public hearing process will not take place for two to three months or more.

You may sign up to receive the City’s eNewsletter and Agendas of the City Council Meetings and Planning and Transportation Commission Meetings via the following link:

https://cityofmissionviejo.org/subscribe

Submitted by A Craig on Mon, 10/11/2021 - 3:32 pm

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The proposal is incomplete? Well it's also ridiculous. The proposed project is a "maximum height of six stories and 74 feet". No, no, no!

Submitted by Michael Rotcher on Mon, 10/11/2021 - 3:52 pm

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I AM 100% AGAINST forming an opinion on this issue until I have heard the presentation and some discussion. I know we need more housing and I know it needs to be more vertical than horizontal and I know it needs to be near transportation and shopping/services. So I'm interested to find out how this location fulfills those needs and how any negative impacts can be mitigated. The premature and emotional reaction I'm seeing so far in the comments make me suspect that perhaps some people's negativity masks a deeper and unfortunate bias, one that I've seen in this city for many years.

Submitted by Michelle Lonsert on Mon, 10/11/2021 - 5:31 pm

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This is the most ridiculous, outlandish, and stupid idea ever put before the city council! I have lived in Mission Viejo in the La Paz Homes, Aldeano Drive, for over 30 years! Our neighbors have begged for a traffic light on Aldeano because of the morning/school and business traffic as well as afternoon and evening traffic. It is impossible to make a left hand turn at anytime! Now you want to add more housing and traffic to La Paz and Marguerite intersection!!! This is just crazy!

Submitted by Fred Kay on Wed, 10/13/2021 - 4:50 pm

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Absolutely Not. will diminish quality of life in the area. heavy traffic, noise, too crowded..

Submitted by Lou Aranda on Wed, 10/20/2021 - 12:35 pm

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I have lived in Mission Viejo for 45 years above La Paz & Marguerite. I agree with the comments regarding the high impact on traffic this proposal would bring to the area. As it is it takes over 10 minutes to get to the freeway and even more so during the am hours. It is a reckless proposal to add even more traffic density to this area. I am totally against this proposal! What ever happened to the California Dream and a planned community?

Submitted by Erik Elias on Thu, 10/21/2021 - 10:45 pm

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I’ve lived in Mission Viejo for over 15 years and seen a noticeable increase in the amount of traffic congestion. High density projects like the one being proposed will definitely make things worse. City Council - Please DO NOT approve rezoning for this property.

Submitted by Trish Nowosinski on Wed, 10/27/2021 - 10:05 am

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I have not read all the comments, but has anyone also thought about the foot traffic increase by putting this new housing across the street from what is to be a newly planned City Center with shops and restaurants by the creek? Not only are we looking at more car traffic, but the increase in pedestrian activity will no doubt snarl traffic further due to an increase in the use of the crosswalks at La Paz and Margaret - Unless of course they plan on designing a Vegas style corner where they build pedestrian bridges to allow pedestrians to get across without bothering traffic. Maybe this builder should be forced to add those to this plan.
As it stands now, this plan seems to be completely in the builders favor with no thought to our community. And I’m against it.

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