Hours of debate over Home Ranch were avoided at the Planning
Commission meeting Monday night, as most speakers -- even those
staunchly opposed to the massive development -- paid compliments to
the developers of the project's residential component.
Planning commissioners easily approved designs proposed by
Standard Pacific, whom the Segerstroms chose to design and construct
60 single-family homes and 83 townhomes on the northeast portion of
the 93-acre Home Ranch site. Although some portions of the proposed
housing tract call for the bending of city rules, commissioners said
the accommodations were painless to grant because they made for a
better overall project.
"This is a quality development that allows [Standard Pacific] to
build above and beyond what was expected," Planning Commission
Chairwoman Katrina Foley said.
Major aspects of the project fall in line with existing city
building codes, but the builders asked for exceptions in parking
requirements and in building heights for the free-standing homes.
Designs for the townhomes fall in line with city standards.
The proposed single-family homes exceed general height
requirements by 3 feet. Pacific Standard officials asked to build
30-foot homes -- just over the 27-foot maximum -- with chimneys that
would reach heights of 33 feet, which also exceeds the city's usual
maximum of 29 feet.
The project calls for a mix of four home styles: Tuscany, Italian
Country, Monterey and French Tuscany, which is the design that would
require a height variance. Standard Pacific representative Dana
Beaver argued the variety in the homes, and subsequently in their
heights, added to the architectural flare of the housing tract.
Planning commissioners and most audience members agreed.
Speakers said they appreciated the developer's effort to steer
clear of the cookie-cutter mold that is typical of many gated
communities. The rest of Costa Mesa touts variety in its housing
styles and designs and the proposed Home Ranch community would follow
in that vein, people said.
Resident Cindy Brenneman, who helped lead the opposition to the
Home Ranch project last year, complimented the designs and said she
believed Pacific Standard would build a quality project. However, she
was concerned that city officials were too ready to compromise the
city's rules. Brenneman said Standard Pacific should be able to build
a high-quality project that fell in line with building height
"We set these criteria for a reason, and people come in asking for
a variance and we just give it to them," she said.
Commissioner Walter Davenport said the isolated location of the
new tract provided for reasonable leniency in the city codes.
Resident Paul Wilbur said Standard Pacific should make sure that
potential homeowners were aware of the truck traffic through the
area, which he attributed to the nearby U.S. Post Office.
Beaver assured him that prospective buyers would be forewarned.
The Pacific Standard project site is on the northeast portion of
the Home Ranch site, on the corner of Sunflower Avenue and Susan
Street. It lies alongside the administrative offices of the Auto Club
of Southern California. The gated community would consist of a mix in
townhomes and single-family homes, as well as two community parks, a
pool and a recreation center.
Other major components of the overall Home Ranch development
include an Ikea retail store, Emulex industrial headquarters and a
mix of campus-style office space.
The former lima bean farms, once cultivated and still owned by the
influential Segerstrom family, are bordered by Harbor Boulevard,
Sunflower Avenue, Fairview Road and the San Diego Freeway.