Countywide : Olive Packinghouse to Give Way to Homes


The new year promises to bring change to Olive, a tiny unincorporated community that retains the distinct flavor of Orange County’s agricultural past.

The community’s central landmark, the Olive Heights Citrus Assn. packinghouse, is slated for demolition within the next few months. In its place, a developer plans to build up to 35 single-family homes.

The county is also scheduled to embark on a historical excavation project on property adjacent to the packinghouse. The land used to be home to the Yorba family ranch, and county officials hope to uncover foundations of the original buildings.


The historic fruit-processing facility has long been the heart of Olive, which is one of the county’s oldest communities. During its heyday, the plant employed people from around the area to clean, shave and box citrus.

The three-acre packinghouse--which has the words “ORANGE SUNKIST ORANGE” painted in huge letters on a wall--closed its doors in 1984. A fire four years later badly damaged the building, which is considered structurally unsafe and leans to one side.

But it remains an imposing presence in the hillside neighborhood, where roads are dotted with small bungalows and an old-fashioned gas station.

Residents have long sought to have the packinghouse torn down, saying it attracts vandals and homeless people to the area.

Bob Tunstall, executive assistant to Supervisor William G. Steiner, said the county Planning Commission is scheduled to take up the development proposal early this year. The actual demolition will probably occur in the spring, he said.