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Preserve or Develop Rancho Mission Viejo?

December 08, 2002

Re "Dissent Growing Over Rancho Mission Viejo," Dec. 2:

I applaud local residents for stepping forward to make their voices heard in planning the future of their community and south Orange County.

The 23,000-acre Rancho Mission Viejo property provides an opportunity to protect one of our last remaining natural treasures, our clean air, clean water and beaches, and the quality of life we would be proud to pass on to our children. Rancho Mission Viejo's owners also have an opportunity to protect this last remaining property. They have been able to enjoy their ranching lifestyle and to do many things with their land. In fact, they have built Rancho Santa Margarita, Las Flores and Ladera Ranch. But the time has come for them to do the right thing with this last remaining portion of land.

Nola Wood

Dana Point


After a 50-year orgy of building in Orange County, we are left with ugly urban sprawl, monstrous freeway traffic jams, overcrowded schools, polluted air and water, decaying infrastructures, chronic sewage spills, looming water shortages, toxic urban runoff and the tragic loss of some of California's most beautiful landscapes forever.

Intelligent, civilized planning demands that we stop and take a breather from the frantic construction and solve the enormous problems that development has brought in the last half century. Our city and county planning departments must recognize that enlightened planning does not just mean development of land. It also means the preservation of what is beautiful and always considering quality of life. Planners must remember that their boss is the public, not the wealthy builders they meet with on a regular basis. There seems to be a built-in conflict of interest in their jobs. Planners need to listen more to the people who pay their salaries: the taxpayers.

Developers often argue that a "balance" should be reached between them and environmentalists. In 1950 the population of Orange County was 210,000. Today it is 2.8 million. Yes, let us talk about balance. Instead of more people, more housing projects, more automobiles, more destructive toll roads, etc., let's call a halt to mindless construction in the irreplaceable pristine lands of South County.

Marinka Horaok

Huntington Beach


The people opposed to the project clearly have no understanding of the natural right of property. The report demonstrates that the opponents of the project, who have no title to the land, believe they have the right to tell those who do hold title how it can be used. This is an usurpation of property rights. When sanctioned by the state, it's called socialism.

Property rights are the cornerstone of liberty. It's one thing to protest the project. It's another for the opponents to believe they have the right to tell the owners how to use the land. Our schools need to be teaching the importance of property rights. In fair and balanced journalism, our news media need to ask the opponents whether they understand the risks of usurpation of property rights, even if well-intended, to our freedom.

When we are not free in our property, we are slaves to the state and to others. Preserved open space is of little value to serfs. Do the opponents cherish the open space more than their freedom?

Bruce Crawford

Fountain Valley


We have a unique opportunity with Rancho Mission Viejo's remaining 23,000 acres to protect south Orange County's history, scenic landscapes and natural treasures, and clean air and clean water. We can preserve these last remaining special lands -- home to many rare plants and animals, and important water sources. While full acquisition is the preferred option, we can also allow development where it makes sense -- outside of our most pristine remaining watersheds and habitat areas. The time is right for Rancho Mission Viejo to act now, given public interest, the recent passage of Proposition 50 and because it's the right thing to do.

Rancho Mission Viejo has developed vast portions of its property over the years. Just look at Rancho Santa Margarita, Las Flores and now Ladera Ranch to see firsthand the growth in those previously natural areas.

That's why so many of us -- local residents and businesses, elected officials, environmental leaders and others, including the Heart and Soul Coalition -- have come together to support a plan that protects the key scientifically identified resources. That's also why we've been applauding Supervisor Tom Wilson's bold leadership in creating a process called South County Outreach and Review Effort, which ensures early and meaningful community participation.

Dan Silver


Policy and Programs

Endangered Habitats League

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