Orange Land-Grab: Ridgeline’s Fairy Tales vs. the “Right of Reversion.”




(with permission, reposted  from

“It’s like they traded our cow for a handful of beans – but the beans aren’t magic. We won’t end up with a goose that lays a golden egg. And the beans come with a right of reversion.” Remember the story of Jack and the Beanstalk?

Jack takes his cow to market, sells it for a handful of beans.

When he reached home, his mother said, “Back so soon, Jack? Did you get a good price for Milky-White?”

Jack told her how he had exchanged the cow for five beans and before he could finish his account, his mother started to shout and box his ears. “You lazy good-for-nothing boy!” she screamed, “How could you hand over our cow for five old beans? What will we live on now? We shall starve to death, you stupid boy.”

But the beans are magic, Jack climbs the beanstalk, outsmarts the giant who chants “Fe Fi Fo, Fum”, returns home with the goose that lays golden eggs.

The Orange City Council and the developer of Ridgeline Equestrian Estates like to pretend that we are getting a great deal for sacrificing the 51 acres of recreational open space that has been zoned, and used for decades, as recreational open space. You might have learned to swim there, played tennis, or goofed around on the nine hole golf course.

If you read the latest fairy tales that Ridgleine Equestrian Estates are passing out, there’s talk of some fancy new YMCA, parks, trails, creeks, wetlands, you name it.

In the actual development agreement for the 51 acres of recreational open space they want to rezone now, it looks like we are getting  a small HOA-controlled horse turnout area with no parking, substandard trails, and half of an arena site.

Until you read the fine print.

See, the City of Orange really doesn’t want to be in the business of operating riding trails and horse arenas. They say they are too broke to operate existing partnerships like the community garden. So the City has negotiated a convoluted agreement where they will refuse to accept all of these new facilities, at which case they go either to a new developer-controlled non-profit or to the new Ridgeline Equestrian Estates HOA, which will be under developer control for years.

And, if the new non-profit to be named later or the Ridgeline Equestrian Estates HOA doesn’t continue to operate these as equestrian facilities for twelve months, then the properties revert to the developer.

We’re not making this up.

Unlike the fairy tales from the developer, this is what is in the actual written agreement.

You can look it up yourself, or just read the section 3.44 in the development agreement in the screen shot below. If the developer-controlled non-profit, or the developer controlled HOA doesn’t operate the new or existing facilities, the land goes back to the developer. And this is the same developer who has already closed the Ridgeline Golf and Tennis club, saying that it cost too much to operate. Stay tuned for our next fairy tale about how the leopard changed his spots.



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