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FOCUS: ORANGE COUNTY COMMUNITY NEWS

Villa Park

July 23, 1999|Allison Cohen, (714) 966-5835

Orange Park Assn. President Richard Siebert will begin sending letters to some 2,100 residents to alert them to the proposed sale of Barham Ranch.

The Anaheim-based company wants to develop the 526-acre property with 600 homes and a 15-acre school. Members of the Orange Park Assn.--which represents 1,300 homes in nearby Orange Park Acres--are concerned the development will cause overcrowding in area schools and increase traffic congestion.

The Serrano Water District owns half of the property with the Orange Unified School District. SunCal Cos. offered $10.4 million for the property a year ago, which the district rejected. The water district filed a lawsuit in October, hoping to force the sale.

"We've had a nonperforming piece of property for approximately 100 years," said C.L. "Larry" Pharris Jr., president of the Serrano board of directors. "We wanted to make the best use of it for our ratepayers . . . It would keep water rates low."

Attorneys for the two public agencies will meet Tuesday with an Orange County judge to try and settle the matter. If not, the judge will decide in September if the land can forcibly be sold, partitioned or placed for auction.

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