A collection of reader opinions, representing a range of perspectives on current issues.
We encourage you to submit letters that share your opinions on issues of interest to residents in our community. Letters may be edited for length and clarity. Letters can be submitted via our Contact Us page.
Smith Basin (the pit)/Flood Re-zone Would Create a City Within a City
I am writing to officially voice my opposition to plans to rezone Smith Basin (the pit)/flood zone adjacent to Patrician Drive. Development of affordable housing units (AHUs) on the property would fundamentally change and negatively impact the look and feel of the city of Villa Park. I only became aware of this issue a week ago and received the informational packet from the city 3 days ago. The fact that Council discussions on this matter have taken place for months, during the Covid-19 shutdown, yet we received information on it within two weeks of the vote is suspect.
The environmental impact of developing the basin will not be assessed prior to a vote. Developing hundreds of AHUs in this area will clearly have a significant impact on traffic, noise and air quality. It will also have an impact on an endangered and threatened species of bird according to the OCWD natural resource Director Richard Zembel. (Threatened – California Gnatcatcher; Endangered – Least Bell’s Vireos).
The basin must not be rezoned for hundreds of AHU’s (122-901 units). This has the potential to put 1000’s of tenants in a 22 acre parcel. This would create a city within a city and gravely impact traffic, result in overcrowded classrooms in our schools, further pollute our air and make life in general in Villa Park less tolerable. We would no longer be the “Hidden Jewel”.
The land with the least impact on our community should be considered first (Town Center and Nursery).
Dr. and Mrs. Neil Harness
Frightening Plans for Wanda/Fitschen Ranch Road
My husband Mark and I have lived in Villa Park for the last 13 years. Both of our children have grown up here, played Villa Park Little League, attended Villa Park Elementary, Cerro Villa Junior High, and now Villa Park High School.
We live in the City of Villa Park – the Hidden Jewel of Orange County. We purchased our home (albeit the smallest lot in Villa Park) knowing that this was a low to mid density housing city. Our home is located in a Single Family Residential Zone surrounding our local elementary school.
After watching the City Council Special Meeting video from April 13, 2021, I felt compelled to write an email to the Council regarding their suggested rezoning of Wanda Avenue/Fitschen Ranch Road. I understand that the City is tasked with complying with State HCD Housing Element guidelines, and I do not envy the position you are in. But this is not the solution!
How could the City possibly consider rezoning a current R-1 single family residential zone to an R3 that could end up with 40 apartment units along Wanda Road? Where? In what space? The amount of homes and families this proposal affects is frightening. The single-family homes that line Fitschen Ranch Road are in protected cul-de-sacs, with a frontage road that keeps the busy noise of Wanda Avenue at bay. Not to mention the beautiful greenbelt that runs along Wanda/Fitschen Ranch Road. This is one of the few remaining open green areas in the City. I walk my dog along the greenbelt every day. I watch children ride scooters, bikes, and walk to/from school.
Wanda Avenue is already busy enough. What about the increased traffic and extra cars that will come with multi-family apartment units? What about the extra congestion and safety issues? This neighborhood is one of the main gateways to access Villa Park Elementary. What about the safety of our children?
City guidelines dictate that the City should maximize community resources and seek to maximize access to the existing public properties for community uses beyond educational functions. These areas include spaces like the Wanda greenbelt.
I know that the City needs to find a solution – but Wanda Avenue is not it!
Disappointed in Wanda Road / Fitschen Ranch Housing Plan
My name is Layra Alcala-Dalprat and I am a homeowner on Tacoma Circle. I am writing to you to let you know how disappointed I am in everyone who decided to put Wanda Road / Fitschen Ranch on the list of possible places for high density housing. I understand you don’t want to build on the city center but that is a great idea. City centers with housing are all over the place. I’m sure you can get a developer that will make it feel like a town center but with housing. I understand the worry about the property by Oakridge Elementary but that is far better decision then changing our neighborhood.
I am very upset that we were never told about this and I had to hear this from our neighbors. Once I heard this I watched your council meeting from April 13th. I became even more upset with the fact that everyone had so many issues with all the other areas that were chosen but had limited issues about rezoning us.
Obviously none of you must live in these cul-de-sacs. We have our little community here and we love it. We bought this house because we loved the fact that we were in a cul-de-sac that ran into a street with minimal traffic. This is where our kids play and ride their bikes safely. By running our street straight onto Wanda we will have to deal with the fact that it is no longer safe for our kids to hang out in the front. We will have to deal with people coming into our street to make U-turn’s. This is ridiculous!
I believe the Wanda Rezoning needs to be taken off your list. I understand that you are saying this is only a proposal but what if it is chosen? Then what? We plan to live here for the rest of our lives.
I feel that we are not important to you. I look forward to hashing this out on Tuesday at the city council meeting.
Layra V Alcala-Dalprat