Rancho Santa Margarita could lose nearly half its affordable housing supply

Rancho Santa Margarita could lose nearly half its supply of affordable housing at the end of this year. The owner of Villa La Paz – a 500-unit apartment complex across the street from Santa Margarita Catholic High School – has given notice to its residents that the complex’s 100 units designated for low-income renters will be converted into market-rate housing by December, as allowed under its decades-old agreement with the county. There are 205 housing units in the city that have been set asi

“Society has caught up with us” — More than 25,000 expected at OC Pride as parade celebrates 30th year

Everything about Orange County’s first pride parade and festival in 1989 was a question mark: Where would the event be? How long should the parade be? What should the response to protesters be? Naive about how to throw a community celebration – Where do you even get that many portable restrooms from? – members of the small organizing committee were sure of one goal: Make O.C.’s LGBTQ community more visible and gather strength to fend off the politicians and religious activists pushing for discr

The research happening in Chapman University’s year-old $130 million Keck Center for Science and Engineering showcases the campus’ ambitions

In a lab at Chapman University’s new science center, Yu Zeng scoops up a hagfish that lives inside a dark and freezing-cold barrel simulating the deep sea. Zeng, a postdoctoral researcher, gives the fish a gentle squeeze. In return, the fish spews a super sticky slime for which Zeng is helping to find real-life applications.

Here is what you need to know about 2019 summer trolleys in South Orange County

Summer has become the season of trolleys in much of south Orange County. Dana Point, San Juan Capistrano, San Clemente and Newport Beach have already kicked off their seasons giving free rides to folks who ditch their cars to get around the coastal communities. On June 17, Laguna Beach’s year-round trolley will add weekdays to its off-season weekend schedule. Riders can take trolleys from Laguna Beach to San Clemente if they want. And, shuttle buses are roaming the streets of Huntington Beach

World War II veteran gets his high school diploma after 76 years

He was a self-taught welder, eventually working as a manager in Westinghouse’s Orange plant. He also helped lead an effort to assist the Spanish-speaking residents of Placentia’s Atwood neighborhood build homes in the 1970s, an initiative that contributed to the city’s naming as an “All-American City” in 1971 by the National Civic League. But there was a “final accomplishment” he always wanted to do: Get his diploma from Valencia High. On Friday, June 7, with his family, officials and the sch

Fullerton looks at increasing its water rates; frugal users would also pay more

Fullerton plans to increase its water rates by nearly 60 percent in the next four years to repair the city’s aging infrastructure. To stabilize the system’s revenue source, the city also plans to shift its rate structure so that users pay more in a fixed fee that isn’t tied to water usage. But that change means residents using less water, as well as residents who have bigger water meters, would bear a greater burden than under the current structure. The City Council is holding a public hearing

Just 14 years after its construction, the troubled Orange Education Center could be demolished

Just 14 years after its $27 million construction, a Santiago Canyon College building in central Orange may be demolished this fall. The Rancho Santiago Community College District is ready to hire a demolition company now that school board members recently approved tearing the building down. They have yet to decide what, if anything, would replace the troubled Orange Education Center at 1465 N. Batavia St.

Transit agencies in Orange, Riverside counties headed for showdown over 241, 91 toll lane connection

Caltrans recently received a 23-page letter from Riverside County transportation officials about all the things they think are wrong with plans for bridges that would let toll road drivers bypass lanes of traffic to get between the 241 and 91 freeways. The state agency and toll road officials say they’re taking seriously those concerns – also shared by Orange County’s transit agency – as they decide whether to start designing the $180 million ramps, but “as of now we are moving forward with the

A mostly vacant mall in Mission Viejo may be replaced by 105 homes

More than 100 single-family homes and townhouses may soon replace a mostly vacant mall off Los Alisos Boulevard near the 241 toll road in Mission Viejo. As soon as next month, the City Council may vote on developer Shea Homes’ proposal for 44 single-family homes and 61 townhouses at what is now Mission Foothill Marketplace. The proposal got a unanimous recommendation from the city’s Planning Commission last week. Mission Foothill Marketplace has four smaller buildings at the front, right off L

20,000 drivers dodge toll road fees each week, despite new law

As of Jan. 1, state law requires cars leave dealerships sporting temporary license plates with assigned numbers, but Orange County’s toll roads operator has found that thousands are still driving without them – and that means they aren’t paying tolls. To catch the scofflaws, the Transportation Corridor Agencies – which manage the 73, 133, 241 and 261 toll roads – recently allocated $465,000 to renew its contract for extra enforcement with the California Highway Patrol through June 2020.

Yorba Linda’s equestrian community makes pitch for public stables and arena

Equestrians in Yorba Linda see 27 acres of city-owned property off Bastanchury Road as their last, best hope for public stables. To entice broad support, the equestrians are also proposing the city plan the equestrian center as part of a larger park with a slew of other recreational facilities from a dog play area to a splash pad. Yorba Linda is known for its equestrian lifestyle, but has no public stables and development has reduced the number of privately owned facilities.

San Juan Capistrano seeks insurance company payment for legal fees in the city’s lawsuit over equestrian center

San Juan Capistrano is suing an insurance company, seeking reimbursement for $1.6 million the city spent to settle a lawsuit over water contamination at the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park. Along with looking to recoup the cost of the city’s legal fees spent defending itself in court, the lawsuit also seeks an unspecified amount of money to cover parts of the settlement that required the city to prevent contamination from happening in the future.

Competing demonstrators duel over immigration in downtown Huntington Beach

Groups with opposing views on illegal immigration staged demonstrations in Huntington Beach on the afternoon of Saturday, April 27. The “March to End Sanctuary State” began at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and 2nd Street at 2 p.m. The Democratic Socialists of America, Indivisible OC and other groups gathered across the street around the same time for the counterprotest. The dueling demonstrations, each with dozens of protesters, went on for about an hour and a half. The group “What you c

Orange County supervisor to challenge Rep. Harley Rouda for CA 48 House seat in 2020

Orange County Supervisor Michelle Steel — a Korean American with prominent ties to the Republican party — told Korean media outlets that she intends to challenge Rep. Harley Rouda in the 2020 election for the seat representing the 48th Congressional district. Steel hadn’t filed paperwork to run for the coastal district Friday afternoon, according to records with the Federal Election Commission. The Seal Beach resident couldn’t be reached for comment on this story and hasn’t otherwise confirmed

Developer proposes replacing Laguna Hills Mall with 2,100 apartments, hotel and more

About 2,100 apartment units, a boutique hotel, a three-acre park, four office buildings and a movie theater are just part of an updated proposal for replacing the Laguna Hills Mall. Merlone Geier Partners unveiled its revised plan for the 68-acre Five Lagunas at a community open house inside the mall on Wednesday, April 24. Two anchor stores – Macy’s and J.C. Penney – going vacant last year freed up more areas for development, company officials said of the expanded plans. In 2016, Merlone Geie

5G is going to let even more devices go wireless, but cities are grappling with the roll out

You may not think much about the small elongated cylinders or boxes perched on rooftops or street lights. But those small wireless facilities, dubbed “small cells,” are the building blocks for 5G, an ultra-fast wireless technology that will quicken the things you do on your cellphone and unleash a new generation of devices. 5G won’t roll out to much of Southern California for a few more years, but companies such as Verizon and AT&T are beginning to install the necessary infrastructure, includi

Orange County’s toll road agencies will audit some, but not all, of its consultant contracts

Orange County’s toll road agencies announced Thursday, April 11, an independent company has been hired to audit a contract with a public relations firm, after some board members questioned the costs. The audit of the Venture Strategic contract by Irvine-based Hall & Company began last week and will be done in a month or so, Transportation Corridor Agencies CFO Amy Potter said.

Another state legislator is trying to block Orange County’s toll road agency from building new roadways

A bill proposed in the state Legislature would block any new major projects by Orange County’s tollway agency, including an extension of the 241 toll road. If the bill were to pass, the Transportation Corridor Agencies would be kept from building any new bridges or toll roads after Jan. 1, 2020, and from issuing new bonds to finance projects. The TCA oversees the county’s 241, 261, 133 and 73 toll roads and is studying a variety of scenarios for connecting the 241 to the 5 Freeway as well as ad

More domestic violence shelters are welcoming pets to encourage their owners to seek safety

Many of those trying to escape domestic violence asked the Women’s Transitional Living Center the same question: Could their pet come with them? For years, the Orange County shelter said no. But the question kept coming. “We were seeing more and more callers who would say they can’t come to the shelter because they need to be with their pets,” the shelter’s director, Mark Lee, said. “Why did we make it so hard for them to come to us?” Last year, the center became one of at least eight domesti
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