Rancho Mission Viejo is an emerging master-planned community in southern Orange County, California, that is beginning construction with an age-qualified enclave. But the project’s goal is to achieve what Paul Johnson, the community’s senior vice president of community development, terms an “ageless paradigm.”

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Photos: Rancho Mission Viejo
The Hacienda Clubhouse, planned for the Gavilán residential enclave at Rancho Mission Viejo in southern Orange County.

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Photos: Rancho Mission Viejo
The Sendero village site was part of Orange County’s last working ranch.

The project is a part of a master plan for the lands of Orange County’s last working ranch, family owned since 1882. Only 25 percent of the acreage will be developed. Over the next 15 to 20 years, the reserved 21,000 acres (8,400 ha) will be combined with county-owned lands to form the 33,000-acre (13,400 ha) Southern Subregion Habitat Reserve.

Plans are for 6,000 acres (2,400 ha) of the former ranchland to be developed with several “villages,” ultimately expected to be made up of more than 14,000 homes constructed by several builders, including 6,000 active-adult residences. Parks, schools, and large amounts of community open space are included in the plan.

The first village to be developed—set to open this summer—is Sendero, with 940 attached and detached homes and 200 apartment units. It will include a gated enclave called Gavilán, with 285 single-level residences intended to support aging in place. All will share a slate of amenities, including a centrally located community hall, a clubhouse and recreational core, a 15-acre (6 ha) community park, neighborhood parks, and hiking and biking trails connecting to a network of county and regional trails. There also will be a ten-acre (4 ha) retail plaza, fire station, and daycare center for children.

Multiple builders are involved in construction of the homes at Gavilán, which range in size from 1,275 to 2,425 square feet (119 to 225 sq m). In the Orange County Register, the price range has been estimated at $400,000 to $900,000.