The Charm and Beauty that is Mission Viejo
Although not a fledged city for too many years, Mission Viejo is steeped in a tradition that dates back to the vanishing days of men on horses driving cattle.
Nearly 25 years ago, the Mission Viejo Co. bought a 10,000-acre section of Rancho Mission Viejo from the O’Neill family, which once owned much of the land from Oceanside to El Toro.
The company would create a master plan for a community, specifying the number of parks, homes, recreational activities and retail spaces.
The rolling hills of the valley, home to a sea of grazing cattle, soon would also become home to seekers of “The California Promise.”
The vision for the community began in 1963 with a planners blueprint. The general development plan wound its way through the maze of county permits and by 1966 the first homes were sold, according to the Mission Viejo Co.
Fewer than a handful of changes – among them the additions of Saddleback College and lake Mission Viejo – have been made to that initial plan.
Currently, over 96,000 people call Mission Viejo home.
Through it all there has been the powerful guiding hand of the Mission Viejo Co. The company not only laid the groundwork for a planned city, but also helped to develop community activities and created a Mission Viejo identity.
The company was a major sponsor of floats in the Rose Parade, Fourth of July displays at Lake Mission Viejo, St. Patrick’s Day parades and the internationally recognized Nadadores swim team.
But since Mission Viejo became a city on March 31, 1988, the company has begun withdrawing its heavy financial support of community activities. And with Mission Viejo development nearly completed, the company has begun looking across the San Diejo (I-5) Freeway to nurture its new planned community of Mission Viejo.
In 1974, the community formed a Municipal Advisory Council to keep track of local issues and serve as the eyes and ears of the County Board of Supervisors.
Eleven years later, as county funds became scarcer, the county prompted the community to form a service district which would be able to apply to the state for funds to help pay for services such as roads and parks.