Ladera Ranch is a 4,000 acres (16 km2) master-planned community adjacent to Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, and San Juan Capistrano. Located along Antonio Parkway and Crown Valley Parkway, construction of the community began in 1999 on portions of the O'Neill, Avery, & Moiso families' 23,000 acres Rancho Mission Viejo cattle ranch, which was the largest remaining working ranch in Orange County. An authentic El Camino Real bell, donated by the Kruse family, stands in front of Chaparral Elementary School as a reminder of Ladera Ranch's history.
Design and development The Ladera Ranch development is divided into nine "villages". Within each village, individual builders develop an area called a neighborhood. There are ten or more neighborhoods per village. The villages are:
- Oak Knoll Village Bridgepark
- Flintridge Village Township
- Wycliffe Village
- Echo Ridge Village
- Avendale Village
- Terramor Village
- Covenant Hills (gated)
Five of the nine villages have clubhouses themed on a particular architecture style that is emphasized within that village. There are also parks, pools, playgrounds and open areas within each village. The Covenant Hills village is a gated community which is closed to the general public, but accessible to all card-carrying residents of Ladera Ranch. There are no other gated villages in the community.
In addition to the various clubhouses, the community has a private water park and skate park, 18 community parks, a dog park, six smaller neighborhood pools, many pocket parks and green belts, a shopping district called Mercantile East Shopping Center, and miles of hiking trails that connect to Doheny Beach.
The community has several features that differentiate it from most others. For example, many traffic speed-reducing measures were put into use. Roundabouts, for example, are commonplace on smaller intersections. Narrow street widths are characteristics of Ladera Ranch's small residential streets. Landscaped street medians are common on two-lane collector streets.
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