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Property owner to host environmental Scoping Meeting regarding proposed ‘The Gardens’ project Jan. 24


Private property owner ValueRock Realty will host an environmental scoping meeting on Monday, January 24 regarding its proposed project – The Gardens – on the northwest side of Marguerite Parkway and La Paz.   

The public scoping meeting is from 6-8 pm at the Norman P. Murray Community and Senior Center, 24932 Veterans Way. 

During the meeting, the developer will present the proposed project, describe the Environmental Impact Report (EIR) process, and receive public comments regarding the scope of the EIR. Interested parties are encouraged to participate in the environmental scoping meeting to learn more about the project, ask questions, and submit comments regarding the EIR process. (See the Initial Study and Notice of Preparation.)

No decisions will be made at this environmental scoping meeting, and no public hearings have yet been scheduled for the project.  City staff expects to schedule such hearings in the coming months and will notify the public with abundant time to participate.

To receive updates about this project, sign up for the City’s eNewsletter and select The Gardens mixed-use project application newsletter. 

Part of an ongoing effort to improve quality of life for residents, the City of Mission Viejo is committed to an open, transparent, and fair evaluation of all proposed development projects and potential impacts.  Public input is a critically important component of this process. Your participation is always welcomed and encouraged.

For more information about the proposed project, review process, environmental documentation, or environmental scoping meeting, contact the Community Development Department at 949-470-3053.


Submitted by Ron Salzberg on Thu, 01/06/2022 - 7:44 pm


I live in the housing neighborhood right behind the proposed development project. I believe the size and scope is to large and dense for the site.. It will negatively impact traffic at the intersection and surrounding commercial business. Development of the natural landscape and nature trail is a great idea! This project is counter to developing the community we have and want to keep.
I strongly do not support the project as currently invisioned.
Thank you for listening.

Submitted by Shirley Parmeter on Fri, 01/07/2022 - 9:25 am


This proposal is a nightmare for so many reasons..traffic..pedestrians..schools..law enforcements..impact on existing residents both commercial and residential.
If the quota of low income housing is an issue how about current rentals being turned into low income as they are vacated so that the load is shared?

Submitted by Carolyn Bobsin on Fri, 01/07/2022 - 12:18 pm


Really ?
This proposal has not seriously considered the traffic problems that already exist at this intersection. This intersection is already congested. Put the Whole Foods across the street in the old Stein mart building.

Submitted by Mary A Wathen on Fri, 01/07/2022 - 2:48 pm


This project completely takes away from the environment that we have enjoyed by living here for 50 years! The proposed structure not only will be the tallest in the city it will crate nightmares' with traffic both auto and pedestrian.
Additional it will displace many small businesses that again have been the heart of this community.
The mixed use project application should be denied. I and many of my neighbors firmly oppose this type of use in our community.

Submitted by Margaret Upton on Mon, 01/10/2022 - 12:43 pm


After reading over the proposal, I think it is disingenuous to pretend this is for affordable housing when only 12 units will be under that level. I live behind the center and go there frequently for a few of the businesses. I cannot fathom where 626 parking spaces on the busiest corner in MV are going to go--not to mention adding to existing traffic issues on that corner. I'm all for affordable housing but only 12 while we all would have to put up with an immense amount of traffic and traffic pollution? A resounding no. Why is this building going to be so tall? It goes against the standards of community and architecture already in place. Will the proposal address the foul oder of the overworked water treatment plant that needs upgrading before this many new residents cluster directly above them? This is not a development welcomed by anyone except the developer (whom I assume probably doesn't live in the neighborhood he's trying to destroy).

Submitted by Ben Martella on Mon, 01/10/2022 - 1:31 pm


This will fundamentally change the nature of Mission Viejo. Consider this:

The Gardens plan calls for:
1. A six story, 74 foot tall building
2. 48,000 square feet of retail
3. 5 stories of residential housing
4. 234 apartments (36 per acre)
5. 626 parking spaces

...immediately adjacent to single family homes.

Sign our petition to stop the new mixed-use zoning designation that would allow mixed retail/apartment development adjacent to homes across Mission Viejo!

Submitted by Ralph Bobsin on Thu, 01/13/2022 - 8:48 pm


Mission Viejo residents are now going to start suffering the effects of single party rule in California. Cities and Counties are losing control of their communities and being forced to conform to laws and regulations that diminish the quality of life of the residents. We chose to settle our families and invest in Mission Viejo because of the kind of community it is...not for the kind of community liberal politicians in Sacramento want it to be. All should remember this every time you go to the polls to vote.

Submitted by Yin Lu on Thu, 01/20/2022 - 6:30 pm


Many residents had showed concerns about the Garden Plaza became 200+ apartment building.

In Oct. and November 2021's city council meetings, many had brought up this matter, but we were told this is no longer an issue (no official application. Did they withdrew?) I was afraid, the same proposal will be brought up when we are not aware of it. Sure enough it came back.

I hope the city council, voted by the residents, shall consider the resident's best interests. Keep the Mission Viejo safe, beautiful and improve the traffic, etc. Rather than making the matter even worst.

The traffic in La Paz and Marguerite Parkway intersection has already very congested during the peak hours, plus two three middle schools and one high school, in 1 mile radius:

Newhart Middle school,
Mission Viejo Christian School
La Paz Middle School
Mission Viejo High School

By add this apartment building will enviably make the matter worse. I am not sure anyone in the right mind would suggest that.

We the residents in Mission Viejo, love this beautiful city, unlike big major cities like LA. We would like to keep the community the way it is. Why do we have to add this apartment to change the dynamic of the community and affect all of us life styles.

We don't want this apartment building period. The resident's will not benefit from it. Who will benefit? And city council member, which side shall you stand?

Submitted by karissa f on Thu, 01/20/2022 - 6:53 pm


This is a horrific proposal!
The impact report alone identifies numerous areas of significant negative impacts to halt this project. The traffic in this neighborhood is already at an all time high and extremely dangerous. The schools are extremely over crowded. Our water resources are already constrained. The environmental impacts are incredibly negative (traffic, noise, native artifacts, animals, destruction of trees, etc.). There are NO other 6 story buildings ANYWHERE in Mission Viejo or in neighboring cities. Our hospital is not even six stories! Something of this size should be in commercial area with more than 2 lane roads. CVP is 8-10 lanes wide, Alicia is 6 lanes wide- this is a recipe for a death trap in the middle of a developed single family neighborhood with streets already at capacity. Also, we do not need another grocery store, we have already had one go under because of lack of business. Stop this project immediately!!

Submitted by Debby on Thu, 01/20/2022 - 7:08 pm


I wouldn’t be at all surprised if the meeting was switched to Zoom because the city knows there’s going to be a large group of upset residents present to protest this proposal. This can only happen with the approval of the city’s planning commissioners: Bob Ruesch, Joe Blum, Robert D. Breton, Peter Molinari, and Andrew Quinio. Let them know that you’re opposed to this project for all of the reasons mentioned here and on other platforms. I’d like to ask if the property owner, based in Irvine, is planning on offering the commissioners and/or the city any incentives for approval. The residents aren’t going to let this slide by without a fight.

Submitted by CLAY RENFRO on Thu, 01/20/2022 - 7:55 pm


Just say NO!

600+ units more vehicle traffic! Crazy. Intersection of Marguerite & La Paz is already a nightmare.
And by what moral authority does MV have to provide "low cost" housing? It's subsidized with taxpayer $. It's forced charity which is really theft by gov't. Oh, but the owner & the developer will make a bundle

Submitted by Keith Ruhland on Thu, 01/20/2022 - 9:02 pm


City Hall is obligated to represent the citizens of this fair city. Given the overwhelming rejections to this Project, it seems fair to say that a criminal investigation of City Hall be conducted in the event that this Project should move forward. I fail to understand why this Project if given any further consideration given the unanimous rejection it has received.

Submitted by Christina on Fri, 01/21/2022 - 6:32 am


This is a horrible idea. Traffic is already horrendous in that area and you want to add apartments?! Also, nobody in a nice house wants to be behind an apartment building as that looks tacky. We will leave Mission Viejo if this is what it’s coming down to. This will also increase crime rates.

Submitted by Paul Allione on Fri, 01/21/2022 - 12:04 pm


I have lived and/or owned property in MV since 1979. In the early days, access to the freeway took me right past the existing buildings. In fact, I used to have a small office there for a couple of years. Even in its current configuration, that building is too big for the parcel. The proposed new use is absurd.

WARNING, AVOID THE COMMON SCHEME: Builder proposes ridiculously large project, knowing it will never fly, so builder can appear reasonable by "compromising" on slightly smaller monster. Don't fall for that.

Submitted by Carleene J Hyde on Sun, 01/23/2022 - 6:35 am


For all the reasons already mentioned my family is aginst this project. Actually, I can't belive it's even being considered for this location.

Submitted by Peggy Chamberlain on Sun, 01/23/2022 - 8:56 pm


I agree with the comments submitted by Paul Allione (above). This proposal will never fly in its current state - what do they really want to build on the corner of La Paz & Marguerite? There IS NO WAY the surrounding residents (I'm one of them) will agree to a 230 unit apartment complex - Whole Foods or no Whole Foods - going up in their backyard.

Submitted by Diane Berger on Tue, 01/25/2022 - 12:16 pm


I have been a resident for 25 years near the site of the proposed behemoth structure.
There are plenty of other places to build low income housing than right in the center of Missiin Viejo and on the busiest overcrowded intersection that we have.
Please listen to your residents and deny the building of this structure. I know of no one that is in favor of it.

Diane Berger

Submitted by Brenda Barbee on Mon, 01/31/2022 - 6:00 pm


This is such a bad idea!!! Not only will it increase traffic in an already packed area, it will put the tallest building in MV right in neighbors backyards. We already have a lot of traffic on La Paz with all the schools in the area so this would also be dangerous for our Children. My husband and I have live in MV since the 80's and always purchased here due to the quaintness and sence of community. This will impact the residents who live in the housing right there (me) and we do not want it. Not one person in our neighborhood that I spoke with thinks it is a good idea. We DO NOT need to be an Irvine with such compact housing.

As for Whole Foods, how about they buy the Steinmart building and do the renovations. Parking is readily available in that center. It would be a win-win. Not only would Mission Viejo not be purchasing that building but it would also free up the funds that are to be used to build the Steinmart owner a new building on that property. The current solution for the Steinmart building is so unnecessary.

Submitted by City Staff on Tue, 02/01/2022 - 1:47 pm


Thank you for your comments on the City’s News page. No decisions on the proposed Garden Plaza mixed-use project can be made until a fair and neutral evaluation process is complete, and input from the community is essential to that process, so receiving these comments is helpful and appreciated.

A statement made in the prior comment that City funds “are to be used to build the Steinmart owner a new building on that property” is not reflective of actions taken by the City in the Village Center. The City purchased that property from the former-owner of the Stein Mart property last year as the first tangible action toward implementing the community-driven Core Area Vision Plan for a walkable village, paseo, and incredible entry that connects to Oso Creek and Trail. More information may be read here (https://cityofmissionviejo.org/news/council-takes-bold-visionary-step-t…), a conceptual video of the ideas for property is available (https://youtu.be/v-u4cQwn5qs), and additional details from the Council Meeting at which the purchase was discussed and approved in September may be viewed through the following link:


Submitted by Gitee Rondony on Sat, 02/12/2022 - 2:13 pm


This project will add more traffic and congestion to the City, City of MV going to be like Costa Mesa pretty soon because the started this mix zoning and traffic is horrible and some many other reasons

Submitted by Nonny Kristina… on Fri, 02/25/2022 - 1:57 pm


Reference: Proposed Garden Plaza

Dear Members of the Council;

I have been a resident of Mission Viejo for 54 years, and original home owner in the La Paz tract of homes.

From our view on Terreno Drive we have watched Mission Viejo grow from cows grazing where Marguerite Parkway is now, to homes giving us beautiful city lights.

I applauded when the Library and City Hall was built “on our corner” and so appreciated the planning and foresight of the committees as they planned our beautiful city.

The first and most important thing about this proposed project is, who is directly affected? Looking at a map of the intersection of La Paz and Marguerite Parkway, there are dozens and dozens of homes who either back up to the project or view the area. I think these property owners should have a big voice in the proposed progress. Not someone who lives miles away.

If, like me, you back up to La Paz and Marguerite Parkway, you are quite aware that the traffic volume at the intersection is exceeding the expected maximum designed capacity by up to 50%, according to the City of Mission Viejo. The intersection average daily traffic runs between 23,000 to 72,000 cars. That’s EACH day. (Attachment 1)

If you live in this area, you are familiar with not only volume of traffic noise, but the evening and early morning large truck delivery to Ralphs, Trader Joes, El Pollo Loco, Carl’s Jr, Taco Bell, fuel delivery to Arco and the dozens of shops and restaurants that need their goods. Let’s not forget the Tuesday at 3 am truck that sweeps and vacuums the parking lots for an hour. (Attachment 2)

Then, what comes in, must go out. The trash dumpsters behind the building need to be emptied, and thus in some cases back up to homes. Emptying those large dumpsters is not a quiet event, and can be heard for blocks.

Let’s not forget the late night noise from the muscle cars, the Harley Davidson’s and alike, or the fun of late night street racing that can startle you awake in the middle of the night.

In Value Rock’s proposal about building a “Whole Foods Market”, they note that the Whole Foods concept is “in development” in small print.

I called Whole Foods, and they told me they get hundreds of proposals for future stores. So nothings is written in stone on that subject.

Would Whole Foods open a new store just 3 miles away from the current Laguna Niguel store? (Attachment 3)
As and added note, that store in Laguna Niguel, there are approximately 1,000 customers per day, probably each with a car, coming and going.

The current “Plaza” does need to be remodeled. Mission Viejo needs new restaurants, new shops, offices and just maybe a Whole Foods or something similar.

A 234 apartment complex as envisioned by Value Rock is probably just one of many proposed concepts. This one would certainly be the most lucrative to them. But is it really a good fit for the area and community?

There would be more traffic, more noise and the height alone would be the tallest building in Mission Viejo at over 75 feet. It would be visible and obstruct views from not only my property but dozens of other properties. (Attachment 4A and 4B)

I was curious about apartments in the area. Currently within 5 miles from City Hall there are 791 apartments available.
So it doesn’t feel like we’re running out of available space for folks to rent. (Attachment 5)

Council Members, Planning Commission Members, and all those involved in researching this project, I ask you to PLEASE use foresight and strategic planning when considering this or any other project for this area. It is too important a corner to place apartment and more traffic lights.

The resident considerations and opinions who are most affected by this project should be your prime concern.
I thank you for reading this and I sincerely trust you will arrive at the best decision for our City and its residents.

Nonny Kristina Bailey

Submitted by Dale George on Thu, 04/14/2022 - 8:44 pm


The developers know that cities are under pressure to supply low income housing and therefore “inclusionary zoning”. Any residential development in Cali must include at least 15% set aside as low income tenants who pay $500 per month for units normally renting in the $2,000 per month range. Section 8 federal subsidies pay the difference along with state subsidies.
Seems like a great concept until you think of all the crime, drug dealing, violence, in addition to the overcrowding. We used to call these tenements, or ghettos.

Watch for the developers to come back with a more docile project like 100 units or so. Don’t buy into this, it sets a precedent to approve other projects in town.

You must email every City Council person and let them know of your distain for this calamity. Show up at the City Council meeting in May.

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