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By Brian Park

The San Juan Capistrano Planning Commission on Tuesday reviewed a revised proposal to build a 32-home community at The Oaks, a 20-acre equestrian facility located off Ortega Highway in the city’s eastern territory.

Del Mar-based developer Davidson Communities said the homes would range from 3,400 to 4,200 square feet and would be a mix of one- to two-story units covering 11.8 acres.

As part of the proposal, the current equestrian training facility would also be reduced significantly to allow for residential development. The new facility, which currently makes up most of the property, would be reduced to 8.46 acres. The number of horse stalls would be cut from 110 to 50 and only one trainer would be required to remain on site to also handle day-to-day operations, according to the staff report. Full-time employees would also be cut back from seven to four.

The smaller facility would also include three buildings: one to house employees, a new barn and a ranch house, which would include a laundry room, office, restrooms and a gathering place.

Planning Commissioners were generally receptive of the new proposal since it would not affect open space.

“This is a vastly improved site design over the last one we saw some time ago,” Commissioner Tim Neely said.

Commissioner Jeff Parkhurst praised the look of the homes, which will be designed in ranch and adobe architectural styles.

Commissioners did ask the developer to consider the orientation of homes and warned that access to the equestrian center could be difficult, given the close vicinity to homes. In addition to grading plan modifications and a tree removal permit, Davidson Communities must also receive a zone variance, as parts of the equestrian facility would be within a 100-foot setback requirement from homes.

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