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COMMUNITY NEWS
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Orange city officials consider Ridgeline Equestrian Estates project

The 39-home project calls for private stables, trails, open space.

By Kristen SchottPublished: May 24, 2011 03:24 PM

Orange city officials on Tuesday night will consider the proposed Ridgeline Equestrian Estates project, a 39-home residential development at Orange Park Acres that's drawn attention from opponents and supporters alike.

The project calls for, among other things, 39 one-acre equestrian estate lots built on a 51-acre plot of land formerly home to a golf course. The site, however, is currently zoned as other open space – aka recreational – but it has two approved land-use designations, the other being one-acre estates.

The property owner, John Martin of JMI Real Estate, seeks to rezone the land as single-family residential in order to move forward with the development, according to a staff report.

Proponents of the project believe it would benefit the city of Orange and the county's economy.

"As with any new development project, the Orange Ridgeline Equestrian Estate development would mean many desperately needed jobs for the residents of our county," said Bryan Starr, CEO of the Building Industry Association of Orange County. "This is a great opportunity for job creation and community development. In a time where private industry is suffering from record unemployment, this project is a bright spot in Orange County."

Diane Gaynor, a community outreach consultant for JMI, added that the project "makes sense for Orange Park Acres and the land use allowed under the general plan."

"In addition to the construction and building jobs that would be provided, the project also comes with millions of dollars of new recreational facilities, paid for by the property owner," she said. "It's a good deal for the city of Orange."

Opponents, meanwhile, say there's not enough recreational open space left in the city.

"The city is 164 acres short of recreational park space," according to a statement from the Orange Park Association. "It should be adding more recreational open space, not taking away the little we have."

If city officials OK the project, opponents plan to seek a ballot initiative.

The project would include an equestrian ride-in only arena, open space, public and private trails, private streets and landscaping; proposed homes would range in size from 6,500 to 8,500 square feet. And, 34 of the 39 lots would accommodate private equestrian stables.

The matter will be up for discussion at 7 p.m. tonight.

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Readers Feedback:

This is a very shallow and one sided article. Please interview the other side of the argument to balance it off.
Comment at 5/25/2011
If the developer is putting in "millionsof dollars" as this article states why did even the delveloper loving City of Orange sa ythat 500,000 was not enough. Yes that is what the developer has offered contrary to his consultant and no the council didn't question that the city attorney did- where was the council? Who knows.
Comment at 5/25/2011
ORANGE CITY VOTERS - NO on Ridgeline. Sign the petition! Orange stands to lose 52 acres of recreational space unless residents let our City Council know that this is not acceptable. The signs saying YES on Ridgeline are a shady ploy by the developer who wants to destroy space which could be used for parks or other public uses to build high density housing. He has paid off many of City Council ($40,000 donation to the republican parties in Orange) and only the community can stop this! This man has hired thugs to harass anyone collecting signatures for the petition and hand out false fliers spreading lies about what he plans to do.
Comment at 8/1/2011