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Ladera Ranch, California is a fairly new planned community that's located in the foothills of Southern Orange County. It's directly adjacent to the communities of San Juan Capistrano, Mission Viejo, and Rancho Santa Margarita; emergency services, and some community services, are provided by city of San Juan Capistrano.
Ladera Ranch was created in 1999 from a 4,400 acre tract of land that was purchased from the joint owners of the Mission Viejo Cattle Ranch, one of California's largest and oldest continually working ranches. One of the focal points of this community of just over 23,000 persons is an El Camino Real bell that stands in front of the Chapparal Elementary school as a symbol of the area's history.
Though the area has no specific industry of it's own, there are a large number of retail and service businesses located throughout that include finance, technology, construction, leisure, and real estate. The Mercantile East Shopping Center serves as the local shopping district. Neighboring cities, like San Diego and Los Angeles, as well as the various other cities in Orange County, are just a short commute away.
Folks who live in Ladera Ranch come for the lifestyle. The community is divided into nine 'villages,' each with it's own distinct character. Five of the villages each have their own themed community center, where weekly and seasonal activities abound. All villages have their own parks, pools, and common areas that are maintained by their respective home owners associations. Each village also has a private skate park and water park. Memberships are available for owners and residents from the main clubhouse in Avendale Village, and they grant the holder access to the amenities of any village within Ladera Ranch. The sole gated community of Ladera Ranch is called Covenant Hills; a separate pass is required for its residents to gain entry.
In addition to the recreation provided separately for each individual village, there are community-wide sports programs, arts programs, hiking trails, and seasonal events.
The homes are mainly sprawling single-family homes situated on large, manicured lots; the architectural style of the residences is unique to each village, and there are also upscale condominiums available. The housing prices range from the about $375,000 for a one-bedroom condo to more than one million dollars for a five-bedroom house.
Ladera Ranch is served by the Capistrano Unified School District. High school students attend either San Juan Hills High School or Tesoro High School in neighboring Las Flores. There are also two public elementary schools, a private K - 8 Christian school, and an award-winning middle school. Community planning and service needs are addressed by the Ladera Ranch Civic Council and the Ladera Ranch Maintenance Council, which meet separately and discuss matters that concern the community at large.
All in all, Ladera Ranch is a quiet, suburban community with the security modern residents require, and fast access to employment, entertainment, and continuing education from the major urban centers that surround it.
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