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Foothill Ranch Condos Get Initial Council Go-Ahead

The proposed residential development would be built on nine acres of commercial property near the Shops at Foothill Ranch. Lake Forest City Council gave initial approval Tuesday evening.

A proposal to build 151 condos in Foothill Ranch is moving ahead after the Lake Forest City Council gave developer Brookfield Residential approval to begin filing formal applications for city permits.

The developer—one of three currently proposing residential projects in the area— wants to build the residences on a nine-acre parcel bordered by Auto Center Drive, Portola Parkway and Bake Parkway.

Once the location of a Buick, Pontiac and GMC dealership, the developer said that the "Town Centre Residential Project" could house an estimated 436 residents.

Discussion of the project was undertaken as part of a new, two-step approval process recently implemented to fast-track development by allowing the council to gather additional information on such projects before granting a final decision.

Council members expressed concern about traffic in the area with a residential development.

However, Brookfield's vice president of land entitlement, Dave Bartlett, told the council that the project should get the go-ahead because the company's study shows that a residential development would result in 60 percent less traffic than if it were used under its current commercial zoning.

Talks about the project were accompanied by references to another residential project, proposed by Trumark Companies.

James O'Malley, with Trumark, said Tuesday evening that the two developers are proponents of each others' interests.

Brookfield and Trumark Co., which intends to build 75 single-family homes on a seven-acre site previously home to Foothill Ranch Chevrolet, are both looking for zoning changes of the land from commercial to residential.

As per a Dec. 6 City Council request, Trumark is in the process of providing the city with additional information regarding its proposal, such as potential traffic impacts.

The third developer planning a residential development in the area is the Baker family, which has proposed constructing apartments on a 30-acre site adjacent to the .

Michael Travis January 18, 2012 at 04:23 PM
It's already crowded in the Foothill Ranch area. Are they going to build more schools and grocery stores to accommodate the additional residents?
Dwight Robinson January 19, 2012 at 12:25 AM
Businesses are suffering in the area...partially due to the economy but also partially due to a lack of population to support them. There are numerous stores that have closed in the Foothill Town Centre area, including the strip mall directly adjacent to the Auto Center (Coffee Bean & Tea Leaf recently closed as well as the Mexican Restaurant and the daycare business). Ask the businesses up in Foothill if they need more customers to survive. You will hear a resounding YES! Will traffic be an issue when these residential dwellings are built? Absolutely not. A traffic study was done on the area when it was originally zoned commercial and the traffic impact will be less with residential and we are not talking about that many residents. This property is adjacent to three major roads in town (Portola, Bake, and Lake Forest Dr.) as well as the 241 and the city has been touting the progress of the soon to be completed Portola and Alton Parkways so I am sure numerous traffic studies have already been done. We need jobs and this project will provide them (new construction jobs and saving/creating some retail jobs) and they are not going to come from more auto dealerships as they have determined this is not a good site for auto sales. Let the property owners do what they want with their own property.
Concerned January 19, 2012 at 12:33 AM
This is appalling. This will take our property values down, change the traffic flow and increase the population in our schools. Why on earth would we allow this? This needs to be stopped.
Jim January 19, 2012 at 01:45 PM
Is this the same land? 1. The developer [Brookfield]—one of three currently proposing residential projects in the area— wants to build the [151] residences on a nine-acre parcel bordered by Auto Center Drive, Portola Parkway and Bake Parkway. 2. Brookfield and Trumark Co., which intends to build 75 single-family homes on a seven-acre site previously home to Foothill Ranch Chevrolet, Is there a map somewhere showing what is being proposed? I agree with Dwight - we live at the dead-end of Portola (who knows when that'll get connected), so something to bring in more residents will be great. Not sure how it'll take property values down... closed stores will take property values down.
Lake Forest Citizen Paying Attention January 20, 2012 at 12:47 AM
If Foothill Ranch is so crowded, why is it that so many businesses in that area are struggling to keep their doors open? Here is the truth regarding crowding in the area: Foothill ranch represents 2.82 square miles of the 12.5 square miles that is Lake Forest. The population density in Foothill Ranch is 3996 people per square mile, while that of Lake Forest as a whole is 4866 people per square mile. (See http://www.city-data.com/city/Lake-Forest-California.html#ixzz1jvB8Mh3L and http://www.city-data.com/city/Foothill-Ranch-California.html#ixzz1jvAvNfj7) Currently there is limited ingress and egress for Foothill Ranch and most people are forced to reach the area by traveling through the rest of the city. This is the primary reason why there is so many businesses in the Foothill Ranch area that are struggling to survive. By allowing a small increase in the population density while simultaneously improving ingress and egress via the Alton Parkway completion, you should see decreased traffic issues and an improved local economy. Let's assume 4 persons per household and a proposed 226 households; the total increase is estimated to be 904 people living, shopping, buy groceries, etc... in the Foothill Ranch area. This will be a big boost to the many family run businesses while only increasing density by 320 people per square mile (904/2.82). Population density is still lower than the rest of the city, but business and traffic improve for the whole city. What a no brainer!
Concerned January 23, 2012 at 05:17 PM
Obviously Mr Brower is neither a resident of Foothill Ranch or Portola hills. With the planned building they are doing near Oakley and downt the new alton parkway the last thing we need is more condos in a designated business ditrict. This changes the composite of the community. If we have the right businesses go in, like cinnamon productions, the businesses will do just fine. It is clear the commenters on this article have agendas and finanical gain if this change comes into effect.... The residents definitely DONT WANT THIS.... The population in the school is crazy with 1134 students. We need to consider what a high density living will do to the class sizes. 36 per class is already too much!
Preston L. Bannister January 30, 2012 at 10:50 AM
Businesses are suffering in the area ... because too many businesses were built for the size of the area. This is understandable as a market response to the local (and world-wide) glut of capital. (Not good for the business owners, but understandable.) Over-build businesses for an area and they will not do well. Pick your priorities. Is it most important to insure the economic health of the greatest number of businesses in the area? (How much is enough?) Or is it more important to insure the best quality of life for the residents ... in a predominately residential area? Note that the proposed developments will not only increase the number of residents, but also increase the density of residents. I am not too worried about the increase in traffic, as the extension to Alton should help some. (On the other hand, development along Alton may in time bring more traffic through Foothill.) I am not so happy with the impact on the local school. Foothill Ranch Elementary is rather large for an elementary-level school, and the new development will cause further increase. Naturally the developers are going to push for the greatest possible density (thus for them the greatest possible profit). Given the slightest possible chance, they will over-build, and that will not be good for either new or existing residents of the community. The fact that Foothill has a lower population density than elsewhere in Lake Forest is a good thing. That is why we live here.
Andy O'Connor February 04, 2012 at 02:37 PM
I agree. The elementary school will be impacted!! Foothill Ranch elementary is the only Elementary school in the County with 1K+ students on one campus!!
Andy O'Connor February 04, 2012 at 02:39 PM
Dwight, Portola Parkway will NEVER BE CONNECTED!! There was an agreement made with the Toll roads not to connect. If Portola was connected, the toll road projected losing 40% of traffic!!
Andy O'Connor February 04, 2012 at 02:43 PM
Agree. Where in this equation is the impact on Foothill Ranch Elementary?? the campus already has 1K+ students. There is no other elementary school in the county that has 1K elementary students!! Yet, the kids are jammed into classrooms, poor supervision at recess-lunch, Torino is always backed-up, parents double park in the neighborhood.
Andy O'Connor February 04, 2012 at 02:45 PM
Jim, PORTOLAILL NEVER BE CONNECTED!! the County has an agreement with the Toll Road not to complete. 40% in traffic drop-off will occur when PORTOLA is completed.
Andy O'Connor February 04, 2012 at 02:50 PM
Charles, the retail restaurants survive on the lunch trade, not the families. Ralph's Target and soon to be Wal-Mart super Center will have competitive pricing for groceries. Loan Depot HQ's in the Towne Center was a big shot in the arm for the restaurants. As soon as a tenant is found for the empty Western Digital building on Lake Forest @ Dimension retail will be doing just fine. The reason Olamendi's closed, was there were to many Mexican restaurants in the area, I count at least 4.
Sheri Howard February 07, 2012 at 03:58 PM
I agree with Andy and "concerned"!!! This is not good for Foothill Ranch!!! and Andy your right…..Portola WILL NEVER go through!
Jessica Crespo February 08, 2012 at 03:18 AM
The comments that are in favor of the proposal are obviously linked to the co.'s of the proposed sites & have a one track mind. One of the reasons why I moved here was because it wasn't overcrowded & I had a false sense that there wouldn't be more residential sites added to the area because of Whiting Ranch. I grew up in Irvine when it felt like Foothill & you couldn't pay me to live there now. It's so overcrowded, I can't stand what the Irvine Co.'s done to it. Most of the businesses have failed here because they didn't make sense for the area. Why would people come here for a few dealerships when they can go around the corner to the Irvine Auto Park with all the choices. Lake Forest got greedy & wanted in on some of the money, that's why the auto dealerships failed.
Tim February 08, 2012 at 07:12 PM
I too am very concerned about over crowding in our school at Foothill Ranch if this project is allowed to be pushed through. My bet is that most dont know about it, if they did it would have been shot down long ago! Bad Idea building condos in a commercial area, I do not agree that it should be re zoned.
K Leone February 18, 2013 at 10:16 AM
Traffic is already becoming a nightmare in Foothill Ranch, boatloads of trash blowing around with the invitation of the 99cent store and the expansion of Walmart, with trash now lining our streets, all of which need repair. Crime is on the rise with approx 20 some odd cars broken into this morning in my neighborhood (near Paloma/Antibes). We don't need more people till there are things for kids to do to stay out of trouble. Look at the crime reports ... they've increased significantly. The roads need repair, & going down Bake and Alton is risking your life. We have one elementary school, and kids from Foothill have to be bussed to RSM Intermediate, and the only high school for most kids is overcrowded Trabuco Hills, or for some, El Toro High School. There's nothing for most kids to do, so they drink and take drugs in the Walmart parking lot on Friday and Saturday nights, and the drunks come speeding down Portola smashing into block walls. There's been several crashes and/or fatalities on Bake, with Alton finally opened up, drivers from the canyon, Foothill, and Portola Hills are nearly running over high school students as they get off the OCTA bus and have to cross Alton/Portola. And, anyone notice that they took, what five years or so to open Alton, and they've already ripped it up for more freaking construction. We need to become our own city and throw out Lake Forest!
K Leone February 18, 2013 at 10:37 AM
The businesses in F/R are cruddy; more residents won't change that. The restaurants here, with few exceptions, are overpriced, serve par food at high prices, with awful service. There are 5 nail places, loud, &most speak vietnamese with english speaking customers. Game Stop left because the new wave is digital downloads, and Mervyns left years ago across the state. There's nothing around here to do--especially when you can go down the hill to the Spectrum and enjoy movies, comedy shows, hundreds of shops and different restaurants and entertainment (D&B, etc). The skatepark & Chuck Cheeses are it! The high school kids have nothing, so they hang out in the Walmart and In-And-Out parking lot. So before we build a bunch more poor-quality homes, how about building an entertainment center, another elementary, Intermediate and High School, and then consider building more housing. As for opening Portola, people race down Bake & Alton, trying to kill the school kids, and we don't need another raceway.

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