Coto Friends and Neighbors….Coto Update 2017!

To all our Coto friends and neighbors!

This year is almost gone and 2018 is almost here…  A little update from 2017 on some Coto News!

Almost everyone is wondering what is happening to the General Store, former Merryhill School property, Maxwell Stables and of course the Equestrian Center….

The owners of the General Store invested a lot of time and money to acquire the property and develop plans to build the new general store but were unable to complete the project.  This was very difficult for them and also for the community who have been on pins and needles waiting for the expected construction to begin.

The General Store owners decided to exchange the property along with approved development plans to the owner of the Maxwell Stable property.  It is still unknown if the new owner of the General Store will build out the plan or maybe flip to a new buyer to build.  It is also unknown what the new owners of the Maxwell Stable property will do going forward.

The Merryhill School property was purchased a few years ago by a residential real estate developer/company called Oak Grove.  The principal as I understand it also acquired a controlling interest in the SBC Silver Bronze Corporation.  SBC demolished one of the Equesterian Center’s revenue producing stable barns (commonly known as the “Lower Barn” and now has obtained a lot line adjustment on a portion of the Equestrian Center for their expected purpose of obtaining a change of zoning from Recreationally Oriented Commercial Uses to Residential, being characterized as “downzoning”.  As of this date, to my knowledge, Oak Grove has not submitted a completed application to the county.

Since obtaining a majority interest in the SBC, which was formerly a not for-profit entity, it has since been changed to a for-profit corporation.  Over the last couple of years the new for-profit SBC has now sold off the Coto Valley Country Club CVCC to an Event Planning company which is operating successfully.  The new for-profit SBC has also sold off half of the Polo Field…so there will be no Polo in Coto in the near future from what I’m told.  The new for-profit SBC has created the aforementioned lot line adjustment where the Equestrian Center, now called the Equestrian Preserve, meets the Merryhill school property to accommodate a possible expanded future residential real estate project.  There has been a promise of $1.6M in improvements to the Equestrian Preserve if and when this project is approved.  A Preservation Easement has been recorded to protect the balance of the Equestrian Center in the future.  It may be important to investigate this instrument as to its ultimate enforceability.  Two beneficiaries are identified on the Preservation Easement…the Northern California Horseman’s Association and the County of Orange.  The County has not accepted beneficiary status leaving a sole, relatively unknown, beneficiary to protect the interests of our community in the future.

Whether it’s the developer of the General Store, Merryhill, Equestrian Preserve or whomever we would never wish anyone financial harm.   However in the real estate and investment business there is always an element of risk associated with any investment.  The price paid for each of these properties, in part, was determined by their anticipated use or the ability to change the current use to a use needed to obtain the anticipated return on their investment.

As you may or may not know a new CPAC “Coto Planning Advisory Council” has been formed to give advice to the County of Orange regarding future development projects.  Don’t hesitate to let your voices be heard whether you are for or against any project.  They meet the 2nd Wednesday of the month at the Bell Tower Community Center.  The County is now accepting applications to be on the CPAC board. The applications need to be submitted by 1/5!  So, people need to hurry! Here’s the link to the info sheet and application.

A new 501c3 non-profit corporation has been created called Coto Conservancy, a grass roots organization, which was formed to reach out to the community regarding our open spaces, equestrian, golf, tennis, and wild animal issues within our community.  Coto Conservancy is “committed to preserving the original vision of Coto de Caza,” to be an informative, educational resource as well.  To find out more go to  Also please like and follow the Facebook page for community info and events.

Merry Christmas, Happy Holidays and Happy New Year!!

Speak Your Mind


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