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Laguna Niguel Residents Lose Fight to Save Hillside

December 10, 1987|DAVE LESHER | Times Staff Writer

Despite an appeal from neighbors, the Orange County Board of Supervisors on Wednesday approved a developer's plan to relocate 70 homes from one part of a planned village community in Laguna Niguel to an adjacent, mostly vacant hillside.

Residents whose homes have a view of the hillside along Alicia Parkway just north of Highlands Avenue were appealing the county Planning Commission's approval of the proposal by Shapell Industries Inc. Supervisors voted unanimously to deny the appeal.

"Those hills had horses on them . . . and it's going to be quite different," said Cynthia O'Neal, a resident who challenged the plan. "It has been a long year for us, and we are very frustrated."

In their vote, supervisors also approved the developer's request to reduce the total number of homes to be built in the project, known as the Country Village Planned Community. By changing some multiple-family buildings into single-family homes in response to market changes, the Beverly Hills firm reduced the total housing units from 5,200 to about 5,000.

The vote also recognized an accord that was reached Tuesday night between the developer and the Laguna Niguel Community Services District over the amount of park space to be set aside in a northern portion of the development.

The agreement called for the Community Services District to get a two-acre park next to a planned school site. If the school district decides that a new school is not necessary, the Community Services District will get another two acres or the equivalent in cash, estimated at $350,000, county officials said.

Supervisor Thomas F. Riley, whose district includes the development, noted that the residents and the developer have quarreled over many plans for the area.

"I believe their (residents') efforts have been effective in modifying the project before us," Riley said.

"The project has been controversial, but there is a point where a decision has to be made," he said. "I think this is a fair balance."

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