We would like to thank all of the residents and community stakeholders who came out in the rain on Feb. 2 to attend our open house sessions to discuss the future of Dove Canyon Plaza.

The goal of the event was to provide some initial ideas and concepts for a residential use at Dove Canyon Plaza and obtain input and feedback from our neighbors.

As was described in the Process Exhibit, we are in the community feedback phase.

Between the two sessions, which were attended by more than 325 people, we received more than 230 comment cards and online comments to date. We have reviewed and analyzed all of the comments submitted both at the event and on our website.

No proposals have been submitted to the City of Rancho Santa Margarita.
We will continue to refine plan alternatives after meetings with community stakeholders. Those plans will be shared at a future workshop.


As we tallied the comments, we recognized there are some recurring concerns that we can address today.

These concerns include the following:

  • Ownership of the center
  • Role of William Lyon Homes
  • Traffic congestion
  • Emergency access and evacuation
  • Parking

While these and other important issues will be reviewed by the City as part of an independent analysis within the environmental impact report (EIR), we can provide some perspective on these primary topics.

Other areas of concern including density and home values will be addressed through future stakeholder meetings.


Currently the center is owned by Dove Canyon Recovery Acquisition, LLC. Raintree Investment Corporation is an affiliate of Dove Canyon Recovery Acquisition, LLC.


William Lyon Homes is working with the property owner to explore options for the center.


Under any of the residential use concepts, the average number of daily trips is significantly lower than it is under the existing commercial site use. Assuming full occupancy, with a complimentary mix of retail, service retail, commercial and restaurant/food uses, the center would generate an average of more than 4,000 daily trips (half in and half out). The 174 senior luxury condos scenario would reduce that by about 75%. Depending on the development option and type of residential product, the other low-density residential options of 134 live/work townhomes and 135 townhomes, respectively, could generate slightly more daily traffic than the senior luxury condos but less than the existing retail center. A 392-unit apartment community would generate roughly 55% of the existing development’s daily traffic (2,132 ADT vs. 4,007 ADT).

Retail use fully occupied 4,007 ADT
Retail based on 85% occupancy 3,405 ADT
392 market rate apartments 2,132 ADT
174 senior luxury condos 947 ADT
134 live/work townhomes 835 to 1,0871
135 townhomes 734 to 9881

1Ranges of daily trips shown were calculated based on average trip generation rates for low-rise (two or fewer stories) vs. mid-rise (three to 10 stories) multifamily housing development (Source: ITE Trip Generation, 10th Edition [2017]).

Relative to existing traffic volumes, the following table, which was also available at the Feb. 2 community meeting, provides a summary of the existing (2016) daily traffic volumes and associated level of service (LOS) on several roadway segments in the immediate vicinity of Dove Canyon Plaza.

Existing Traffic Conditions
Key Roadway Segment No. of Existing Lanes Arterial Classification Existing Capacity at LOS “E” Daily Volume V/C Ratio LOS
A. Antonio Parkway, between Coto De Caza Drive and Alas De Paz 6D Major 56,300 20,600 0.366 A
B. Antonio Parkway, between Alas De Paz and Santa Margarita Parkway 6D Major 56,300 13,300 0.236 A
C. Antonio Parkway, between Santa Margarita Parkway and Avenida de Las Flores 4D Primary 37,500 6,300 0.168 A
D. Santa Margarita Parkway, between Avenida De Los Fundadores and Antonio Parkway 6D Major 56,300 28,000 0.497 A
E. Santa Margarita Parkway, between Antonio Parkway and Plano Trabuco Road 4D Primary 37,500 23,200 0.619 B
F. Alas De Paz, between Antonio Parkway and Plano Trabuco Road 4D Primary 37,500 8,900 0.237 A
G. Dove Canyon Drive, east of Plano Trabuco Road 4D Primary 37,500 15,100 0.403 A
H. Plano Trabuco Road, between Alas De Paz and Santa Margarita Parkway 4D Primary 37,500 12,200 0.325 A
I. Plano Trabuco Road, between Santa Margarita Parkway and Robinson Ranch Road 4D Primary 37,500 13,300 0.355 A
J. Plano Trabuco Road, between Robinson Ranch Road and Trabuco Canyon Road 2D Divided Collector 22,000 4,000 0.182 A
K. Robinson Ranch Road, east of Plano Trabuco Road 4D Primary 37,500 10,100 0.269 A
Source: 2016 Traffic Flow Map, City of Rancho Santa Margarita website.

Traffic will be fully analyzed as part of the EIR using a traffic consultant approved by the City.


Emergency access is an important element of planning for all communities. Dove Canyon, like other planned communities in Orange County, has an approved emergency access plan with multiple points of egress in the event of an emergency, as required by the Orange County Fire Authority.


We intend to comply with the city’s parking code, which is among the most restrictive in Orange County: Ranch Santa Margarita, CA Municipal Code § 9.06.050 (2018). We will support a prohibition on overnight parking on Dove Canyon Drive if most residents agree that would be beneficial to the community.


We are pleased to meet with individuals or in small groups to discuss the process and our goals. Please reach out through our sign up page.


We continue to solicit feedback and schedule meetings with stakeholders. When we have updated plans to share, we will do so in a workshop, which you will be invited to. An application to the City of Rancho Santa Margarita could occur in the second quarter of this year.

As our team continues to evaluate your comments, we will update this page. Please check back periodically and feel free to submit additional questions or comments using the sign up page.


In the 80s, as families moved into the Rancho Santa Margarita planned community area including the neighboring Robinson Ranch, Dove Canyon, Rancho Cielo, Trabuco Highlands and Walden communities, they needed places to shop and dine. Initially featuring a grocery store, restaurants and service-oriented businesses, Dove Canyon Plaza sought to capture the growing demand for retail centers.

dove canyon plaza dove canyon plaza

As the area grew in population, retail centers were concentrated in Rancho Santa Margarita proper and higher-traffic locations. As a result, sales began to decline at Dove Canyon Plaza as shoppers were drawn to the better locations and efficiencies of the larger centers.

The center continued to struggle and the original developer was foreclosed upon in 1994. As tenants vacated, the center slowly transitioned from retail to service-oriented businesses, with the main tenant being a fitness center.

Tenants have often complained, saying the location of the center is hidden with minimal pass-by traffic. Numerous businesses, including at least five restaurants, have gone out of business in the center over the last 26 years.

A real estate investor purchased the property in January 2016 with the intention of determining the best use of the property. The real estate investor continues to evaluate both the existing retail use as well as possible redevelopment of the site. They made several capital improvements, including exterior painting, improved signage and upgraded landscaping in order to enhance the overall aesthetic appeal and boost traffic.

dove canyon plaza


The Internet has changed the way we shop. Online sales now account for almost 13% of all sales in the US, and that number continues to grow. It is estimated that, by the year 2021, almost 18% of all spending will be done online.

In the general merchandise market, retailers have begun shrinking store sizes and consolidating multiple stores into a single location, resulting in a much lower growth rate for retail sales.

comparing growth
us commerce sales
Major Retail Closings

Even those of us who do not regularly buy online search online for prices, product specifications and availability before heading to whichever retailer offers the best price.

Retailers recognized that the Internet has transformed the way that customers shop, re-shaping retail centers into service and fast-casual dining centers as a result.

While there remains a retail market for specialty items such as groceries, automotive, tools and appliances, the online market for consumer goods such as electronics, computers and entertainment products is responsible for up to 60% of all sales.


Dove Canyon Plaza has struggled for years as a retail center, and it’s getting worse, not better. Spanning the last 20 years, only six of the 28 tenants remain in the center. As you may be aware, San Giovanni Ristorante, Canyon Spa and Nails, The People’s Pharmacy and others have all closed their doors over the last 24 months. Even though the rents have stayed the same or in some cases even dropped, it has become apparent that a commercial center simply doesn’t work in this location. To be clear, there are no plans to terminate any existing leases. However, with retail struggling in this location and throughout the region, it’s time to begin planning what type of project works for this space.

dove canyon plaza available storefront


William Lyon Homes is facilitating a process to determine how Dove Canyon Plaza can best serve the community and its housing needs. The City has a very deliberative and transparent regulatory process to consider an alternate use for the property. We are currently seeking input from our neighbors to develop a design that best fits within the community. The table below lays out the City’s rigorous review process of a design proposal for Paloma Square.

Technical experts will study various factors, including traffic, noise, dust and other potential impacts, as part of an environmental impact report (EIR). After the public has a chance to review and comment on the EIR for 45 days, the City’s Planning Commission and City Council will review the document and consider it for certification and approval. Residents will have multiple opportunities to provide comments and input throughout this permitting process, which is expected to take most of 2019. Currently, the process has not yet begun.


Neighborhood Input
Site Planning Architectural Design Landscape Design
Prepare Application Submission to City


Draft Project Description and Preliminary Design
Circulate Notice of Preparation – 30 days
Conduct Scoping Meeting


Finalize Technical Studies
Prepare Draft Environmental Impact Report (DEIR)
Circulate Draft EIR for Public Review – 45 days
Prepare Responses to Comments Received


Planning Commission Hearing
City Council Hearing
Certify and Approve EIR




William Lyon Homes delivers on the promise to build quality neighborhoods where families can achieve the American Dream of homeownership. Under the stewardship of their namesake, General William Lyon, chairman emeritus, the company is led by a team of seasoned professionals whose knowledge, vision and authority continue to inspire confidence and loyalty from one generation to the next.