Canyonites Gear Up for Legal Fight Over Board of Supervisors' Approval of 65 New Homes

Stymied in their efforts to get the Orange County Board of Supervisors to reject a 65-home project into the rural canyons just northwest of Cook's Corner, canyonites are turning to the last place they can think of to stop what they believe to be a forever quality-of-life-changing development:

The courts.

See also:

The Norbertine Code: Monks and canyon dwellers go mano a mano in Silverado Canyon
Canyon Complaints Due Soon, "Tree Huggers"!
Hillside Strangers: Trabuco Canyon monks brace for major changes to their quiet lives

Rejecting emotional pleas by area residents and petitions signed by 2,000 people, supervisors voted unanimously last week to not only allow Irvine-based Rudder Rutter Development Corp.'s controversial residential project, but to amend the county's Foothill/Trabuco Specific Plan, clearing the way for the current and future developments. (*corrected)

Wikipedia Commons
Just add homes ...
The land use plan that was adopted in 1991 and includes Modjeska and Silverado canyons is "outdated," according to termed-out Supervisor Bill Campbell, who will be replaced in January by Todd Spitzer.

Meanwhile, Supervisor Shawn Nelson opposed the project-by-project amendment of the plan, calling for a complete review.

But project foes say restrictions within the original land use plan making it difficult to build in the canyons is there for good reason--good enough to sue over.

"The only recourse left is litigation," Ray Chandos told the Voice of OC's Norberto Santana Jr., and The Rural Canyon Conservancy leader already has a track record, having successfully sued to stop a much larger development a previous board approved in 2003.

Save Santiago Canyon Facebook page
Mapped out
Ironically, county planners said they were guided in coming up with the 65-home plan by the 2005 appellate court decision that not only reversed the supervisors but laid out what development count occur in the canyons.

Foes fear urbanization, increased traffic and environmental damage will ultimately destroy their rural lifestyle, and to protect it the Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks (FHBP) "Save Santiago Canyon Facebook page" announces a fundraiser from 3-7 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 21, in Modjeska Canyon.

To buy tickets, go to or here if you cannot attend but want to donate. You can also send a check payable to "Friends of Harbors, Beaches and Parks" to SCC, P.O. Box 1022, Trabuco Canyon, CA 92678.

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Once again this gets to the population growth thing. More people means more houses must be built, and most folks out here don't want to live a la New York, stacked up in dwellings barely bigger than a walk in closet in Coto de Caza.


Sure, it won't be the Mexicans or South East Asians or Chinese in these new homes, but it will be the people who left somewhere else in OC as their neighborhoods turned into something totally foreign to them.

BillxT topcommenter

Planning and zoning in my experience are only used as tools to keep the regular homeowner in check. Anyone else wanting a variance or zoning change only have to ask. When the homeowners complain about development contrary to existing use/zoning, they're told to "work it out" with the developer.


 @Mitchell_Young Actually, even here in OC you can see how people are opting out on suburbia, wanting more access at cheaper costs. Costs in time getting through the suburban maze, costs in fuel transporting yourself and 2000lbs of steel from point A to B, and to add insult to injury, many times, it takes twice as long going half the distance because suburbia is clustered into units of neighborhood without easy entry or exits. No stop signs- or blocks where you can at least head in the right direction from the get go. These suburban neighborhoods are units of isolation, and you can see a trend in white middle-class moving away from their parents passe traditions into more suitable and functional developments, like those in old down-town districts like Orange, Tustin, Santa Ana, and Fullerton. Places with culture and more community participation. Thats what people want. And I believe Irvine is seeing a trend of white middle-class professionals seeking high density housing because its reasonably priced and near the places in which they work and play. 


Out here in the canyon in which I live, we sacrifice some of the conveniences of the city to live a little more hand-mouth, enjoying each-others company, trying to sustain older traditions of "community", and the issues at hand, speaking about development and urban sprawl, is seen by myself and many others as a direct threat to our efforts. 


Issue one- Natural resource. Most people who move here do so to embrace the Canyons natural setting and serenity, as do the visitors who call the canyon their second home. Look around. Where else is their a patch of ancient forest in Socal? Are humans separate from nature? 


Issue two- community. The developers has directly insulted our community by their slash and burn mentality of how to "get 'R' dun". It is rude to move into a community and through the use of dumping loads of cash into the pockets of governmental officials, change the customs to fit your agenda. Period. Rudder Homes spit on our community. It disrespected its new neighbors.


Issue three- Intelligent design. The Rutter homes plan is unintelligent. It is an out-dated design for housing. Suburbia is on its way out! People are moving to larger metropolis' which have better parks, intelligent mass-transit, lively culture, and more pleasant and relevant-aesthetics. The next generation wants to live in a community with substance and purpose. 


Rutter Homes:  Form≠Function.


 @BillxT That's for damn sure, BillxT. Try getting a city to do something about the 3 immigrant families in Costa Mesa sharing houses zoned for single family dwellings,  with all the obvious signs (cars parked on lawns, etc) and the ACLU will have your ass in court. But you, who have paid property taxes for 15 years, want to put up a HAM radio antenna, and the full force of the police will come down on you.

BillxT topcommenter


 Different perspectives, similar conclusion. Pretty much nothing is ever as simple as it looks.

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