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Sound Off: Ask Candidates a Question, See if They Answer

There's one more day before the election. Give City Council candidates one last chance to reach the masses by asking them questions.

Although some residents have already voted, there are plenty who have not. Have issues with the candidates for City Council of Rancho Santa Margarita? Want them to address issues that weren't covered in the candidate forums?

Use Patch as a forum to ask candidates your questions. They're busy campaigning, no doubt, but see if they answer. It's their last chance to answer questions for the masses that they're trying to influence.

Remember to keep it civil. And if you want to throw some encouragement their way, they'd probably appreciate it.

What questions do you have for the candidates?

David Collier November 05, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Good Morning Council Members and candidates. I like to see progress. Where do you stand on the toll road expansion and on the Chiquita Ridge project? What are you doing to move these projects forward or halt progress?
Brad McGirr November 05, 2012 at 05:20 PM
Good morning David The original alignment of the toll road as proposed by the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) was rejected by the California Coastal Commission, and this was thereafter sustained by the US Department of Commerce. Since then, the TCA has moved forward with studies related to expanding the 241 toll road from Oso (near Tesoro High School) down to just before Ortega Highway. This will provide an important alternative to the Santa Ana Freeway traffic mess, and will certainly help our business environment. Regarding Chiquita Ridge, following a legal settlement with the County of Orange, RSM received 92 acres of land. I envision a sports park of at least 23 acres, to be supported financially by appropriate retail development. I have coached our children here in RSM for over 15 years, and I am acutely aware of the need for more sports facilities, not only for the youth, but for all of us. I envision a significant expansion of the number of soccer/football fields, baseball/softball fields, and a gymnasium to be available for all the residents of RSM. I also propose a biking/hiking trail system that will link up seamlessly with the existing O'Neil Park trail system. This would allow hikers and mountain bikers to fully circumnavigate the entire city of RSM on one uninterrupted trail system, and would serve as a fire break.. I will NOT support a manufacturing development that destroys the character of Chiquita Ridge or the natural beauty of our community.
Martin Henderson (Editor) November 05, 2012 at 05:34 PM
Hi David. Brad gave a very good answer, but Chiquita Ridge was covered pretty well at the Patch/Chamber of Commerce forum on Oct. 1 that's available on Cox 3 OnDemand. The forum held the following night by the Community Associations of Rancho is also on OnDemand, and the candidates' answers from that forum are edited nicely on the CAR Facebook page here: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Community-Associations-of-Rancho/339206082840915?ref=ts&fref=ts I have added the written answers to this story and is a pdf file you can click on to at the upper right.
David Collier November 05, 2012 at 06:07 PM
Thank you Brad for your service to the community and for your response. Brad- Thank you for your follow up with the pdf transcript of that meeting. It is a big help in understanding the candidates positions and knowledge of the positions. Since most of the hot topics for the City were discussed in that meeting do you have any suggestions of questions I can ask the candidates? Good Morning Council Members and candidates, What types of businesses are you looking to bring into the Area between the toll road and Avenida Empressa on Santa Margarita Parkway? Would you be open to rezoning to allow for different land uses?
Glenn Acosta November 05, 2012 at 06:58 PM
Hi David. Thanks for the great questions. Here are my answers: - TCA Extension: I fully support the extension and completion of the 241 toll road. I believe that infrastucture is an important component of economic vitality and long-term sustainability. I have personally worked on $1 billion in infrastructure projects as a civil engineer. The engineering firm that I previously worked for designed the 241. The TCA is currently working on the environmental document and engineering plans for the Tesoro extension, which extends 5 miles from Oso Pkwy to Cow Camp Rd (near Ortega Hwy). - On Chiquita Ridge: I want to develop Chiquita Ridge so that there is sufficient sales tax revenue to finance new sports fields for our kids. There is a dire need for new fields and sports parks. I think a Cotsco could be an anchor retail store, along with family-friendly places that we don't have like Lucky Strike Bowling, Ice Palace, etc. I also believe that restaurants are needed, some casual like those in Foothill Ranch where families can go eat between or after games, and some upscale to cater to Coto, RSM, Wagon Wheel, and Ladera. continued...
Glenn Acosta November 05, 2012 at 07:05 PM
Chiquita Ridge can also be used to make RSM an outdoor destination. By building trailheads that link to the County trails, people can come to RSM to ride horses, get involved in BMX events, or walk along the trails to enjoy the surrounding natural beauty that we have. If RSM becomes an outdoor attraction, business startups may occur to cater to outdoor sports. My hope is that we make all the facets of Chiquita Ridge compliment each other so that we have it be financially sustainable and successful. Best regards, Glenn
TrueBlueAmerican November 05, 2012 at 08:30 PM
Glenn & Brad, Glenn, you actually want a Costco Store to be built on Chiquita Ridge? Also a bowling alley and ice palace? Where exactly on Chiquita Ridge do you propose to place these attractions? Brad, you actually want to destroy the esthetics of Chichita Ridge with a gymnasium, soccer/football fields and baseball.softbll fields? On which Chiquita Ridge Hill(s) do you propose to bulldoze down? You mentioned building a world class football stadium also in the debate? Where on the site would this fit with the bright night lights? Tom Hutson
TrueBlueAmerican November 05, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Martin Henderson, I noticed that my response(s) to the Hit List Correctness Article have not been posted? Tom Hutson (trueblueamerican)
David Collier November 05, 2012 at 08:58 PM
Other than letting us know what you plan on doing with Chiquita Ridge, is there a drawn up schematic on what the land will look like after?
Lawrence (Larry) McCook November 05, 2012 at 09:18 PM
David, My thoughts on your question are numerous. First let me address the 241 Toll Road Extension. I am in favor of it's completion for those who want to pay tolls to bypass the I-5 San Juan Capistrano Bottleneck. It will not effect the surfers beach. Chiquita Ridge is and will be a very long time project even if it ever will even come to fruition. There are concerns about the ecology, the developed appearance and also, who would/will pay for this development. I am also a long time involved youth sports coach (4 years in football & 5 years in soccer currently now in AYSO 630 in RSM) and agree that our youth do not have enough sports fields. Getting back to who will pay for this development. I am a Ronald Reagan Era Republican and I do not believe that bonds should be floated or new taxes imposed or extended to pay for The Chiquita Ridge Development. This is the most important question! Who will pay for this development? There is nothing to go forward for until the money is arranged for this project.
Martin Henderson (Editor) November 05, 2012 at 09:37 PM
TBA, as mentioned in comments of that story, the wrong settings were checked and all comments had to be approved; it should be fixed now.
Glenn Acosta November 05, 2012 at 09:44 PM
Tom and David, RSM acquired the Chiquita Ridge property from a lawsuit against the County where the city claimed that the property was originally part of the city's incorporation area. The settlement agreement involved land swaps with multiple parties and strict conditions for development. One condition being that 23 acres would be devoted to sports parks. Another condition was that nearly half of the 92 acres would remain as open space. The remainder would be available for development. To make Chiquita Ridge successful, very careful planning is required. I believe the agreement requires the sports fields to be developed first, which makes financing more challenging. I would explore an amendment to the agreement that would allow for concurrent development - building sports fields and developing the tax base to pay for it simultaneously. As with many developments, there is a conceptual design based on the goals desired and the soils properties of the property. There are currently no soils analyses, so it is uncertain what the footprint will be for development. At this point, I can only point out what types of businesses and retail would be favorable from a sales tax revenue perspective, and put out ideas that would make Chiquita Ridge as a whole successful and where each part of the development compliments the other. Glenn
Brad McGirr November 05, 2012 at 09:54 PM
David, unfortunately the process isn't even close to the point where plans can be drawn. A project manager has been contracted to determine the feasibility of having any development whatsoever on that piece of property. If it can be developed, a sports park of at least 23 acres must be built first.
TrueBlueAmerican November 06, 2012 at 12:43 AM
This is exactly the point Mr. McCook was trying to make! There need to be a lot of money and planning and the whole thing or any part of it may never happen!

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