Anaheim OKs 2,176 Houses in Hills Despite Neighbors’ Fears

Times Staff Writer

After some unexpected homeowner opposition and a failed county attempt to acquire 45 acres for a wilderness park, the second of three major developments planned for Anaheim Hills was approved in a 4-1 vote Tuesday by the Anaheim City Council.

Opposition came from four Anaheim Hills residents who spoke of overpopulation, traffic worries and an impending end to the area’s rural feeling.

“We are talking about what sort of future we want in Anaheim Hills,” Virginia Chester said.


“If we want more people, more smog and more congestion, the council will approve everything that is coming through the pipeline. If we want to really talk about quality of life, you’ve got to take a look at Oak Hills Ranch.”

Project to Cover 591 Acres

The 2,176 homes of Oak Hills Ranch will cover 591 acres a mile southeast of the Weir Canyon Road-Riverside Freeway interchange and adjacent to the Highlands at Anaheim Hills project, which was approved June 23. The latter will have 2,147 homes on 816 acres.

The two projects will boost Anaheim’s population by about 12,000 people, or 5%, in the next three to 10 years, said Joel Fick, the city’s assistant director of planning.

Besides homeowner opposition, most of the debate centered on a county Parks and Recreation Department request for 45 acres to complement 2,090 acres designated for the proposed Weir Canyon Regional Park. Oak Hills developer Jim Dennehy offered 15 acres, saying that more would make the development financially impossible.

The land sought for the park is where the biggest lots and most expensive housing would be built, Dennehy said. Oak Hills houses will range from $150,000 to $300,000.

Councilwoman Miriam Kaywood cast the dissenting vote, over the park issue.

“Anything Mr. Dennehy gives to the county will come back to him like bread on the water,” she said, indicating that a larger county park would only increase the desirability of Oak Hills.


“He would not be giving or losing, but would be benefiting himself as well as everyone else.”

Another park issue went Dennehy’s way when the council allowed the developer to build a smaller city park after constructing the first 970 homes, rather than during the first phase of development.