Supervisors OK $110 million tax district for newest Rancho Mission Viejo village
Supervisors OK 0 million tax district for newest Rancho Mission Viejo village
While most homeowners at Rancho Mission Viejo’s Esencia village will pay between $ 4,636 and $ 10,234 annually, owners of nonresidential land will pay much more: between $ 33,976 and $ 81,454 per acre, depending on location.
The first village, Sendero, already has its own taxing district. Property owners there pay between $ 1,313 and $ 5,135 annually. People who own undeveloped land pay $ 16,983 to $ 50,225 per acre.
Orange County’s biggest housing development is ready to begin the second phase of construction after county leaders on Tuesday approved a new $ 110 million tax district that will repay the county for huge infrastructure improvements.
Rancho Mission Viejo has long been set to build 14,000 homes and 5 million square feet of retail space in what will be the last major development on a once-sprawling cattle ranch inherited by Tony Moiso, nephew of Southern California land baron Richard O’Neill. Buyers began moving into homes in the first village, Sendero, last summer.
The Board of Supervisors’ 4-1 approval – Supervisor Michelle Steel was opposed – of the new district for the next village, Esencia, on Tuesday sets a range of $ 4,636 to $ 10,234 in annual Mello Roos taxes that most owners of the new homes will have to pay.
That tax revenue will repay Orange County for the development of what will basically be the county’s newest city, though all of the land is unincorporated areas of south county. It will fund street improvements, infrastructure, libraries, a fire station, a K-8 school and the extension of Cow Camp and La Pata roads.
The Ranch, as the company is known, also will pay the Santa Margarita Water District $ 29 million for water projects, including a huge reservoir to capture water that otherwise would drain to the ocean.
The tax rates will increase by 2 percent each year. How much homeowners pay will depend on the size of their property and where it’s located.
Company officials will unveil their marketing campaign in the next couple of months for the expected 840 homes and 247 apartments that will initially be built at Esencia.
Homebuilders already have dibs on every lot, and all but 50 of the 941 homes in the original Sendero village have sold, the company says. A 286-unit apartment complex also is open.
“It’s been amazing,” said Dan Kelly, spokesman for Rancho Mission Viejo. “The residents are having a blast.”
It’s the first of three expected construction phases for Escencia, which is planned to have up to 2,700 homes and 500 apartments, as well as 50 acres of commercial space.
Mello Roos districts, named for the legislators who wrote the 1982 law that allows them, have been used by Rancho Mission Viejo as a way of ensuring a development pays for itself. An agency, in this case the County of Orange, undertakes bonds that pay for the land improvements immediately, and residents eventually repay the county through the taxing districts.
The Santa Margarita Water District is handling the $ 57 million bond for the Mello Roos district in Sendero.
The new Esencia district is expected to be taxed for 30 years. It’s one of three districts Ranch officials hope to form to pay for Esencia.
But it’s also become routine – the company used the same taxing system to build Rancho Santa Margarita, Las Flores and Ladera Ranch.
“We’ve never had an issue with them because people get what they pay for,” Kelly said. “You’re getting new schools. You’re getting a fire station, and all the new infrastructure.”
But Steel doesn’t want taxpayers to assume the risk. She said when she voted against the district that the money should be obtained by increasing home prices, not taxing the residents once they buy the homes.
State law requires that at least two-thirds of property owners in the taxing districts approve the plans. But because the taxing districts form before houses are built, the Rancho Mission Viejo company and its officials are the only people eligible to vote. None is opposed.
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