Rancho Mission Viejo (Rancho Misión Vieja) is an active 23,000 acres ranch and farm, habitat reserve, and community in the unincorporated areas of South Orange County, California. Rancho Mission Viejo originated as a series of land grants to John Forster in 1845. The remaining part of Rancho Mission Viejo consists of a nearly 17,000-acre nature reserve (The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo) and multiple residential communities slated to open in phases between 2010 and 2030. As of 2017, the Sendero village and the Gavilan senior housing developments have been completed. The larger Esencia village is currently under construction with a K-8 school to be opened in fall of 2018. Sendero Marketplace, a shopping center built as part of the community is also under construction.
In 1963, the O'Neill family and its partners established the Mission Viejo Company and embarked on its first residential development, the 11,000 acres planned community of Mission Viejo. Marguerite had three grandsons, Anthony Moiso, Jerome Moiso, and Douglas Avery. The oldest, Anthony "Tony" Moiso, newly graduated from college and fresh out of the U.S. Army, took over operations.
In 1972, Mission Viejo Co. and its remaining undeveloped area in Mission Viejo were sold to Philip Morris. The Mission Viejo Company was acquired by Shea Properties in August 1997. After the initial sale, Moiso began managing the remaining 40,000 acres of Rancho Mission Viejo, while his brothers Jerome Moiso and Douglas Avery continued to oversee operations as owners. The three brothers and their uncle, Richard O'Neill, have preserved more than 20,000 acres of open space and moved forward with additional development of the former Rancho. Rancho Mission Viejo is still a working ranch with 600 head of cattle and has more than 500 acres of citrus trees, as well as crops of avocados, beans and barley.
Rancho Mission Viejo is today home to four master-planned communities: the City of Mission Viejo, City of Rancho Santa Margarita, Las Flores, and Ladera Ranch. A new community called Rancho Mission Viejo, celebrated its grand opening in 2013 with the debut of its first village called Sendero. In Fall 2015, the new village of Esencia is slated to celebrate the grand opening of its first 12 neighborhoods as well as host of community amenities.
In 2000, the Ranch family created a comprehensive open space preservation and land use plan for the remaining 23,000 acres of Rancho Mission Viejo. In 2004, the Ranch Plan was approved by the Orange County Board of Supervisors. Today, that plan has resulted in the creation of The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo (a nearly 17,000-acre habitat reserve on the Ranch) and the plan for a new community called Rancho Mission Viejo.
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