Toll Brothers expands Meadows project in Lake Forest to 611 homes 

Local district denies school, allowing the developer to build 70 more homes

Toll Brothers Expands Meadows Project in Lake Forest
Toll Brothers' Douglas Yearley Jr.; Meadows Residential Community, Bake and Rancho parkways (Getty, City of Lake Forest, Toll Brothers)

Toll Brothers will build 70 homes in Lake Forest after a local school district scrapped plans for an elementary school.

The Pennsylvania-based developer won approval from the City Council to build the homes in the Meadows Residential Community on the one-time school site near Bake and Rancho parkways, the Orange County Register reported. The address for the proposed school was not disclosed.

Toll Brothers, the developers of the 126-acre Meadows, originally planned for a school — if supported by the school district. But in March, Saddleback Valley Unified denied the school.

So the developer was contractually allowed to build more homes on the unidentified site.

The council decision to change the zoning to a low-density residential neighborhood will allow Toll to build up to seven single-family homes per acre. That will bring the total number of single-family homes in the Meadows to 611.

The City Council approved plans for the construction of the Meadows community in January 2020.

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Saddleback Valley Unified had until 2024 to accept or reject the donation of the site for a school.

It denied the school, district officials said, because of the declining population within the district. In doing so, the district receives $10 million for not taking the land, Lake Forest spokesperson Jonathan Volzke said.

“We are not involved in promoting or not promoting a school,” said Mayor Pro Tem Mark Tettemer. “Our role was to provide a place for the school district to consider a school, and we did, but the school district decided to decline that.”

The 126-acre Meadows subdivision project includes five neighborhoods with single-family residences as well as a senior affordable housing project. The luxury neighborhood includes more than 20 acres of parks, open space and a habitat restoration area.

The site was occupied previously by Nakase Nursery, one of the county’s last wholesale nurseries, bought by Toll Brothers. Lake Forest received $25 million in development fees as well as $2.5 million to improve traffic in the area.

— Dana Bartholomew

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