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Highlands Development in Anaheim Hills Wins Approval

June 24, 1987|JONATHAN WEISMAN | Times Staff Writer

After some last-minute wrangling over fire access and road construction, the Anaheim City Council Tuesday unanimously approved plans for a 2,147-home development in Anaheim Hills that will cost about $200 million and raise the city's population by nearly 6,000.

The approval will not be final until some minor changes are made in the plan and it is resubmitted to the council, City Atty. Jack White said.

But for now, developers at Southmark Pacific have been told to go ahead with plans for the 816-acre Highlands development, with construction expected to begin in late 1988.

After almost two years of talks, the city and Southmark ironed out their differences, including costs to the city and questions over parks and water services, said Joel Fick, city planning director.

Fire Concerns

The developer agreed to build, before any work begins, a temporary paved road linking the Highlands with Fire Station 10 to the north and Station 9 to the south.

The resolution of the last disagreement--over when an agreed-upon extension of Serrano Avenue to the proposed Weir Canyon Road would be completed--went the developer's way, according to Southmark representative Frank Elfend, of Elfend and Associates.

The street will cross the Highlands and two other proposed developments: the 2,176-home Oak Hills, up for city approval Tuesday, and the 1,119-home Wallace Ranch.

While the first 400 buildings in the Highlands are going up, the adjacent proposed developments should also be under way. Under plans approved and still being considered by the council, the three developments will have to put up $3 million to $5 million to finish the Serrano extension and have it in place before the 401st building in the Highlands is begun.

Complete Road Network

Under the agreement reached Tuesday, if Oak Hills and Wallace Ranch hit a snag, the Highlands will be able to complete its entire permanent road network and then begin on structure 401.

The city had first insisted that if the others were not ready, the Highlands would have to build the entire extension by itself and get reimbursed later.

The only comment on the Highlands project from area residents came June 16 in a letter from the executive committee of the Anaheim Hills Citizens Coalition, which urged the City Council to delay a vote until neighboring homeowners could examine the proposal more closely. Nobody showed up to address the issue Tuesday.

Elfend, who also represents the smaller Wallace Ranch development, said final plans will be submitted to the City Council in three to six months. Mayor Ben Bay said he was sure all three projects would be approved eventually.

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