County supervisors gave preliminary approval Tuesday to a business park that backers hope to build at El Toro Road and Moulton Parkway, but which opponents say could add to the area’s already heavy traffic.
The development, known as the Rossmoor Business Park, would combine retail stores and office space, and could even have a golf course nearby. All told, the project would allow for 1.4 million square feet of office and commercial space.
The project’s developers said the park would lure badly needed jobs to South County, where an imbalance of housing and jobs forces thousands of commuters to the highways every morning. The project also won backing from some residents of nearby Leisure World, who were pleased by the possible addition of a golf course.
But other Leisure World residents and several environmental groups complained that the development would snarl traffic near the busy intersection, and that the overflow could spill into surrounding areas.
“I would urge you to not pass on this at this time,” said Ann Christoph, a Laguna Beach City Council member. “It will affect our road system.”
Acting on the recommendation of Supervisor Thomas F. Riley, whose district includes the proposed development site, the board unanimously approved a change in the county general plan that would allow the project to go forward. The project still must return to the county Planning Commission and the Board of Supervisors for approval of specifics.