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Baker Ranch Homes Go on the Market

As many as 10,000 home buyers stopped buy this weekend.

Home buyers check out Baker Ranch in Lake Forest on the first day the homes went on the market. Photo courtesy of Baker Ranch's developers, Shea Homes and Toll Brothers.
Home buyers check out Baker Ranch in Lake Forest on the first day the homes went on the market. Photo courtesy of Baker Ranch's developers, Shea Homes and Toll Brothers.

The builders behind the 2,400-home Baker Ranch development in Lake Forest said as many as 10,000 home shoppers visited the six new neighborhoods, which debuted over the weekend.

Shea Homes and Toll Brothers say the project, located between Bake Parkway and Alton Parkway in Lake Forest, may be the only master planned community to open this year in Orange County.

Last year, Rancho Mission Viejo started selling homes in its first village, called Sendero, east of San Juan Capistrano, and officials there said sales have outpaced the early days of Ladera Ranch.

At build-out, Baker is expected to offer three villages with single-family detached homes, townhomes and other attached living residences, as well as apartment homes.  More than 30 acres of parks and recreational facilities are planned, officials said.

Homes selling in Baker Ranch’s Village One are priced from the low $500,000s to $1 million-plus.

Rob Lange February 10, 2014 at 04:41 PM
...and where will all of these elementary school children attend school since the SVUSD said it did not want another school built to accomodate the families of these new housing projects? Foothill Ranch, the closest to this project, is bursting at the seams with kids already being taught in portables and I just saw the school choice form for 2015 showing several LF elementary schools have little or no availability. From what I read the developer included a school in the project but was told by SVUSD they weren't interested and didn't need it.
MFriedrich February 11, 2014 at 01:56 AM
The beginning of the end. Congratulations Lake Forest. Was nice while it lasted. You are well on your way to becoming the next uber-congested Fountain Valley. Welp, at least our local politicians got their pockets lined in the process. Good for them. Nothing quite like taking the money and then fist pumping the middle finger at your local constituents.
Cynthia Curran February 11, 2014 at 10:38 AM
Birth rates are dropping in the County 5 and under even with a Hispanic population is 6.3 versus 6.6 nationally. Its expensive in OC so less kiddies are being born now but having new houses is going to bring more kids.
Homer February 11, 2014 at 11:40 AM
I highly doubt the claim of attendance. First, most persons would view all six developments to compare differences. Second, the traffic on Bake would have been horrendous. -- Aside: please direct all anger and frustration regarding schools to the SVUSD Board of Directors. They are the ones who are mismanaging this school district. Also, how is this area not subject to Melo-Roos? Finally, on the public utility side of the development issue, what is the public to do when drinking water is no longer available and our taps run dry?
Jim Gardner February 11, 2014 at 11:52 AM
Hi Homer. You're correct about SVUSD. Baker Ranch paid the money for the schools, but SVUSD made the decision not to build a new school, and the City went along with it. As far as Melo-Roos, my understanding is that it applies to those areas that were County or formally county (e.g., Foothill Ranch, Portola Hills) and Baker Ranch is being built in what is the "old" part of the city, not the area that was formally owned by the county.
Jim Richert February 11, 2014 at 01:05 PM
A relative that lives by Lake I tried to enroll his granddaughter in three Lake Forest elementary schools but was told there was no space, so she attends a school in Mission Viejo! The home buyers in Baker Ranch are going to be real surprised at this, and if they want a middle school its a long way to Serrano Middle School. What a travesty.
Jim Gardner February 11, 2014 at 01:29 PM
Hi Jim. I saw on Baker Ranch website that they are promoting Serrano as the local school. That's a heck of a drive.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) February 11, 2014 at 01:32 PM
This is what the developers' spokeswoman says about the school situation: Baker Ranch students are currently assigned to Foothill Ranch Elementary School, Serrano Intermediate School, and El Toro High School. Shea and Toll originally planned to build a school yet Saddleback Valley Unified School District said it would be unneeded, citing declining enrollment. Baker Ranch is one of a couple parcels that opened up after the base closure in 1999. It took about 10 years for all the entitlement effort.
Homer February 11, 2014 at 02:15 PM
The closest middle schools are: Los Alisos, RSM and Serrano. Children in Portola and FHR may chose either, but typically attend RSM or Serrano. Some families opt to attend a private school, or a achool in the city where the parent is employed. -- Any way, back to the article... I was very close to driving up to the developments just to see what a million dollars buys in a new home. I would contest that much of the foot traffic was related to the same interest, and not toward earnest viewing.
Rob Lange February 11, 2014 at 02:19 PM
If there is declining enrollment why are kids already being taught in portable classrooms and why do some classes have 35 + students?? Obviously schools are already over capacity from what was originally intended. Why on the school choice forms does it list several schools in Lake Forest as unavailable for transfer because of limited availability. Drive by any school at opening or closing time and you'll see what chaos already exists. Now add 2500 homes and being conservative let's say an average of just one school age child per home and you'll see that this is going to be a nightmare for students, teachers and parents. This one falls directly on the backs of SVUSD. Once the plans were approved by the city SVUSD had a responsibility to provide for these kids...and the developer planned for a school knowing that 2500 hundred homes would bring many young families and school age children....but SVUSD turned down the school. When they closed Aliso Elementary 3 years ago they already had limited availability in existing Lake Forest elementary schools and offered those student to attend school in Mission Viejo because those schools were stil within the district...which is utterly ridiculous to suggest that Lake Forest children should have to attend out of town public schools.
Jim Gardner February 11, 2014 at 02:37 PM
Hi Rob. It's worse than you think. Baker Ranch is only one project. There are more than 4,000 new homes being built - 900+ are going in Portola Hills and 200+ are going in the Auto Center, and then about another 800 elsewhere.
MFriedrich February 11, 2014 at 02:50 PM
What? Serrano? Jesus, the entire length of Lake Forest Avenue from Dimension on down to Jeronimo Rd. is going to be a proverbial parking lot starting around 7:00 a.m. And that's just to drop them off. It's about 3 miles. What about walk or ride a bike? Bwahahaha! Check out the hills on the way back. They'll never do it. Leave it to the geniuses over at SVUSD, I guess. The state is ranked 48th in the union in education, so I guess they believe we've got work to do to achieve similar deprecated status for community traffic in LF.
Rob Lange February 11, 2014 at 02:58 PM
These are all great questions to present at the next SVUSD board meeting. I'd love to hear the plan!
MFriedrich February 11, 2014 at 03:02 PM
Did SVUSD officials ever explain how they utilized the money received from the builders? As for the Rob Lange's comment above, I've stated similar questions about the SVUSD declining enrollment claim, current student/teach ratios and the ongoing embarrassment of SVUSD's modular classrooms (mold, poor ventilation, non-functioning AC, other). The answer? Crickets. Oh, and step aside, because we have a football stadium to build in LF in the least accessible area imaginable for all the jocks, cheerleaders and marching band members so they don't feel sad about not being as entitled as THS and MVHS. School color and pride for a few is apparently more important than basic safe learning environment and academic achievement to benefit all students (and staff). Sadly, the overgrown children making these decisions will never get it. They're too busy congratulating themselves.
MFriedrich February 11, 2014 at 03:05 PM
Gee, I wonder whether Shea and Toll Bros. actually used L or M copper piping when constructing these brand new homes? What do you think? Caveat emptor.

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