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FAQ - question center

The questions are grouped based on topic, please select the category you wish to review:

OPA Board
Decision Making Process
General Plan/OPA Specific Plan

Specific Projects:

The Arena Site
Sully Miller/Hanson Site

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opa board

Q. Several people have accused the OPA Board of having done something "underhanded and possibly criminal" and claim that is the reason the City Attorney removed them from their advisory planning role to the City. Is this true?
A. These charges are all unfounded. The City Attorney stated in a letter to Tom Davidson on April 22, 2010 the "It needs to be made abundantly clear that the City is not laying blame at the feet of OPA…". The letter is included on this website.

PDF April 14, 2010 - OPA President Tom Davidson requests clarification on the City's position about OPA and the Real Estate Committee. (73 KB - PDF)

PDF April 22, 2010 - Orange City Attorney David DeBerry reaffirmed the City didn't blame OPA for stopping discussions and no conflict of interest was found on the part of OPA or its Real Estate Committee. (723 KB - PDF)

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Q. Are there other bodies beside the City Council that need to review the plans?
A. The regional water quality board would review both projects but not for land-use, strictly for compliance with storm water regulations. A project at the Sully Miller site would likely be reviewed by California Department of Fish and Game in order to protect the stream, but again they would check mitigation measures rather than deciding on the land-use.

Q. What kind of communication will the people in the community be getting?
A. None unless they request it, notices will only go to adjacent property owners but anyone who requests a notice will receive one - request one from the city community development department today.

Call the Orange Planning Department and ask to be notified of all meetings (714) 744-7220

Q. What is the process? How long could this take?
A. An initial study will determine the type of Environmental Review necessary, most likely that will be an EIR (Environmental Impact Report), which will take around 6 months to prepare. A draft will be released, the public will have 30-45 days to comment, then the matter will be scheduled for a hearing before the planning commission, after the commission makes a decision the matter will be scheduled for a hearing before the City Council. All hearings are open to the public and will include an opportunity for public comment. Typically an applicant will not bring something to a public hearing unless they think they have the votes for approval so public input early in the process is more critical than at the end.

Q. Will this be an open process or will deals be made behind "closed doors" thus assuring certain interested parties a better deal?
A. As discussed above the hearings are public but certainly there will be private meetings between the developer and City Councilmembers and others. Interested individuals should can call, email or write to the Council member to voice your concerns. You can also schedule an appointment with them.

Q. How can I get involved?
A. Make sure the City has a request in writing to be notified on all future notices. The OPA Board and Real Estate Committees have been working on these issues for several years. Contact them and get involved.

Q. Does the City Council have to change the zoning?
A. No. It is a discretionary action.

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General Plan / OPA Specific Plan

Q. Why aren't these land issues dealt with in the Orange General Plan or the OPA Specific Plan?
A. Politics. These issues should be dealt with in these plans but the City has chosen not to update them, still considers Sully-Miller a sand-and-gravel region and Ridgeline to be private-open-space. The City chose to wait for someone to propose a change rather than planning for changes proactively in this community.

Q. What is the OPA Specific plan and what does it say regarding these areas?
A. The Specific Plan regulates uses throughout Orange Park Acres including at Ridgeline but it is an inferior document to the General Plan and zoning. These documents contemplate and zone the parcel open space and recreational open space. Because the parcel is not zoned for houses the owner of the property has requested a change in zoning to estate residential.

Q. How much of the Sully/Hanson site is under OPA influence. Is It zoned for houses?
A. The land is under the jurisdiction of the City of Orange. 56 acres are with the OPA Specific Plan and zoned resource/sand and gravel. 12.6 acres north of the creek on the Mabury Ranch are zoned for houses.

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Q. Who gets the final say in what happens with the Ridgeline and Sully Miller properties?
A. The Orange City Council. The Ridgeline project is now before the California State Supreme Court.

Q. Are they required by law to change the zoning at Ridgeline so the developer can build houses?
A. No. The Ridgeline zoning is recreational open space and the City Council does not have to change the zoning.

Q. What kind of influence does the community or the OPA Board have?
A. By law they get input in the environmental and zone-change process. As a practical matter they get the input and influence that they demand from the City Council.

Q. How is a private company allowed to take away 52 acres of recreational open space at the Ridgeline property and build houses?
A. Ridgeline was private property under the prior owner. The new owner wants a change to City zoning in order to change the use. The City is under no legal obligation to grant the request.

Q. How much traffic will the proposed homes at Ridgeline bring in?
A. At most the proposed homes would create around 456 daily trips.

Q. Won't homes bring in less traffic then the tennis/golf club did?
A. Likely yes, traffic is not the only determinant of what land-use is proper or best.

Q. Who will maintain (pay for) and manage the proposed arena? If the Ridgeline Association does, what guarantee in 100 years it will still be there?
A. Again this is dependent on what is proposed. Public or non-profit ownership would allay this concern.

Q. What is the benefit to the community to have homes verses a golf course, pool, and tennis center?
A. The only benefit would be a decrease in afternoon peak traffic, but the number would really be impossible to notice. The home construction would mean two years of very heavy construction that would likely be a negative impact on the community.

Q. I have already heard that it is a done deal and that many interested parties have already signed off on the project?
A. The City process has just started so anything is possible; it is not a done deal.

Q. What are the plan details? Trails, number of homes etc.
A. The current proposal is for 38 1-acre estate homes. The details are contained In the Environmental Impact Report.

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The Arena Site

Q. Will/Can they take away the arena from the community?
A. They could unless some arrangement is properly worked out. While the arena is publicly used, it exists entirely on private property. As with any piece of private property, the owner has the right to exclude others. If the new owner were to fence off the arena tomorrow and effectively shut it down they would not be breaking any rules. Part of a permanent solution for land-use in this area needs to be an arena that is under public or non-profit ownership. The site could be used to mitigate for a change in zoning on Sully Miller or Ridgeline. Because, both the current owner of both sites is seeking to upzone both properties the arena site could be part of the mitigation agreement.

Q. Will the proposed arena be for public or private use?
A. That is dependent on where the Ridgeline project goes.

Q. How does the flower shop near the arena operate? Can we exchange that business for a business that might fund the arena and cover its costs?
A. The flower shop operates on a temporary use permit that it renews each year with the city. A much more intense use would be required to cover the cost of the arena.

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Sully Miller/Hanson Site

Q. What is planned for the Sully Miller/Hanson site?
A. The City updated the General Plan without addressing this area. A previous approval to develop the area as housing was approved by the City Council but reversed when the voters qualified a referendum to go on the ballot reversing that approval.

Q. If Orange is short on open space, why doesn't the city buy Sully/Hanson's (or Ridgeline) for parkland?
A. Such a purchase would likely wipe out 100 years of City budgets for park acquisition, but that does not mean parkland is impossible. The City could require the dedication of parkland in one area in return for other areas becoming houses, it could deny the request to turn Ridgeline into housing, or it could issue bonds to purchase the entire area (this would be difficult and likely require a property tax special assessment in the surrounding area).

Q. Isn't the creek (which is also a flood zone) on the Sully/Hanson's property and will it be protected?
A. The creek is on the Hanson property and will be protected but development could likely come within 100 feet of the creek and the creek may be modified for flood protection. This is another reason public involvement is so critical.

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