Explain the current zoning, conditional use permits, and land use for the 68-acre property [Village at Laguna Hills] and adjacent developments. What can/can’t the City Council control?

The former Laguna Hills Mall is located within an area known as the Urban Village which encompasses approximately 240 acres and includes the Civic Center area, Saddleback Hospital (MemorialCare) and adjoining office buildings, Oakbrook Village, and the Villa Valencia senior assisted living facility.  The boundaries of the Urban Village are generally Paseo de Valencia, Avenida de la Carlota, Los Alisos Boulevard, and the I-5 freeway.  Zoning for the Urban Village is determined by the Urban Village Specific Plan (UVSP) https://www.lagunahillsca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/291/Urban-Village-Specific- Plan-UVSP which has been in place since 2002, and subsequently amended in 2011 to reflect anticipated development based on the City’s 2009 comprehensive General Plan update.  A minor update was completed in 2017 to modify the street standards for Avenida de la Carlota in anticipation of the OCTA/CalTrans’ I-5 Widening Project currently underway between SR-73 and El Toro Road.     All properties in the Urban Village are subject to the development standards of the UVSP, which City staff and/or City Council enforce when considering proposed development projects or new businesses/uses.  A key development control within the area is the UVSP “Trip Budget,” which regulates development based on traffic during morning and evening “peak” travel periods.  (UVSP pp. 35-36.)  The Trip Budget limits apply to all properties in the UVSP  (Also see FAQ No. 4.).

Imbedded within the UVSP, some uses are permitted “by right” such as retail stores, while others require a conditional use permit (CUP).  For example, a CUP may be required to ensure potential traffic issues are addressed.  The UVSP allows a variety of uses including office, retail, housing, hotel, and civic uses.  New development is also subject to a Site Development Permit to ensure the city’s development standards are met.  The City Council and/or City staff enforce the regulations of the UVSP by reviewing uses and development to ensure they are allowed in the UVSP.  Uses that are not allowed in the UVSP cannot obtain a building permit or zoning approval.  Examples of unpermitted uses in the UVSP include landfills, industrial uses, and manufacturing plants.

Sources:

UVSP:  https://www.lagunahillsca.gov/DocumentCenter/View/291Urban-VillageSpecific-Plan-UVSP.

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1. Explain the current zoning, conditional use permits, and land use for the 68-acre property [Village at Laguna Hills] and adjacent developments. What can/can’t the City Council control?
2. What is the status of the plan MGP showed the community at their April 2019 Community Forum? How does it compare to the approved 2016 plan?
3. How much housing does the City’s Zoning Code allow on the property?
4. Does the City consider traffic in evaluating development proposals in the UVSP?
5. In 2016, the City approved over 926,000 sq. feet of retail and office building area and 988 dwelling units. If MGP is an established developer, why has Five Lagunas taken so long to get started?
6. What does the City Council see as a viable solution for the development of the site? When considering a new development, does and can the City Council factor in the greater good of the community?
7. How do the new and future proposed/approved Oakbrook apartments factor into any decision making?
8. What are current vacancy rates for existing apartment complexes?
9. Why doesn’t the City insist MGP provide more retail space and less office and housing space?
10. What creates the most value for the city and community: High-density multifamily housing, retail, or commercial office?
11. What kind of retail space can residents expect to see since the outlook for traditional storefronts is so negative?
12. How much revenue has the City lost from the mall closing?
13. How has the City responded to this loss of revenue?
14. How will property taxes benefit the city and how much will the city actually receive?
15. How does more development on the site, especially more residential development, impact community infrastructure such as police services, fire and paramedic services, traffic, water, schools, etc.?
16. What were the projected traffic levels for the originally approved Five Lagunas Project? What is the difference between retail development and apartment development with respect to traffic?
17. How will high-density apartments/multifamily housing benefit residents? Did the 09 General Plan call for 200 apartments w/ options to add more in future phases? Are the approved 988 units mandated
18. What if residents do not want to see more housing developed beyond the 988 units approved in 2016 in a future project?
19. Why doesn’t the City simply ignore State housing element law?
20. What is the City’s obligation to help address the Statewide/federal affordable housing shortage, including low-income and homeless shelters?
21. What exactly is the Housing Crisis Act (SB 330) and how does it impact the new project submitted by MGP?
22. What are the key steps involved in the entitlement process?
23. How long will it take for the project to reach the public hearing?