Village Working Group: The Save Coto Lifestyle Group & Petition

Members of the Village Working Group recently met with representatives of the Save Coto Lifestyle group to learn more about its mission and its petition drive.  To learn more about the group’s history, purpose and petition, keep reading.

Save Coto Lifestyle (SCL) is a group of Coto residents and equestrians from all over Orange County who recently created a web site to address the proposed development of the Coto Equestrian Center.

The group was initially formed after its members realized that the Equestrian Center had been targeted by Oak Grove LLC as part of its planned housing development. After attending a meeting that Oak Grove held at the Coto Valley Club, the group became concerned that allowing rezoning of any part of the equestrian center would ultimately lead to its demise. The Save Coto Lifestyle group cites a statistic from the Orange County Register that claims more than 20 equestrian centers in Orange County have been lost to redevelopment in recent years.

This week SCL launched a petition to stop the rezoning of Planning Area 21, which is the parcel outlined in the Coto Specific Plan as ‘Community Center/Commercial’ and includes the land currently occupied by the Equestrian Center, the former Merryhill School, Maxwell Stables and the former General Store. For Oak Grove’s development to progress, rezoning would have to be approved by the Orange County Board of Supervisors and changes to the Specific Plan would have to be made to allow for residential zoning.

To learn more about Save Coto Lifestyle, visit or and find a link to the petition that can be signed online.

3 thoughts on “Village Working Group: The Save Coto Lifestyle Group & Petition”

  1. How Saving Coto’s Equestrian Center Protects Orange County’s Middle Class

    When my family moved to Orange County from Temecula, we didn’t know how we would continue to support our 7-year-old daughter’s passion for riding. Even in the Inland Empire, affording a passion for ponies was a stretch. When my husband lost his job and had to take a position closer to Los Angeles, feeding our little girl’s equestrian dreams seemed like an unlikely prospect.

    We visited and tried out several stables in Orange County and finally found a perfect fit at ESI in Coto de Caza. Coach Katie Kelly and her entourage of warm-hearted horse lovers taught my sweet, shy Amelia how to be strong, kind, passionate and brave. They didn’t offer the white-glove service that I’d seen at other stables and feared might taint my impressionable child’s appreciation for hard work and personal responsibility.

    To be honest, Coto was the last place I’d expect to find a barn where children were told that if you can’t climb up into the saddle without a block, you weren’t going to be able to ride. Likewise, I didn’t expect to see my baby girl glow with pride every time she put in the bit and shoveled … manure.

    Amelia has been riding for about 4 years now. She’s stroked and fed sick and injured horses, seen retired racers schooled, beheld newborn foals in wonder. She’s fallen down and gotten up. She will soon be ready for a horse of her own, but she will likely never see that dream come true—at least not here in Orange County.

    Instead, someday soon, I will probably have to watch as my little girl says goodbye to her friends, coach and beloved horses—all because someone thinks it’s a good idea to erect a couple more cul de sacs on a small piece of land that has, for generations, positively impacted the lives and futures of more young girls than will ever be housed by the development’s handful of over-priced homes.

    There’s a lot of slick rationalization for the proposed Oak Grove development. The developers promise to erect fancy new stables. I’m sure they will. In fact, I bet they will be lovely and their exclusivity will be enjoyed tremendously by those lucky few boarders who can afford it. We won’t be among them. That’s far too wild a dream for even the most sacrificing middle class parent.

    The proposed Oak Grove development is short-sighted to say the least. The Equestrian Center is currently zoned for agriculture and it should remain in use for that purpose because a vote for the equestrian center is about people as much as it is about animals.

    Today, Amelia celebrated her 8th birthday at the Coto de Caza Equestrian Center. Seventeen wide-eyed little girls listened closely as a Grand Prix competitor taught them how to read the body language of a 1200-pound animal while they gently brushed and tacked up for the ride of their lives. These were not the 60-second rides you might be used to seeing at the faire. Katie and her team allowed the girls to take it all in and enjoy the beauty and magic that the horses and the land at Coto represent. For just a few hours, every little girl at that party got to dream big dreams before the greed of big business comes in and tramples all over them.

    A vote to save the Equestrian Center is a vote for middle class parents who want nothing more than to provide their children with the opportunity to be enriched by something as basic as nature. If we replace that experience and that opportunity to grow with symbols of greed and excess, it destroys the very heart of our county and our kids.

  2. The Assisted Living Center would also need to apply for a Special Permit to change the zoning, so to fight for no rezoning is the only sure way to protect the Equestrian Center, Coto Valley Country Club and make sure there is NO Assisted living in the community. To open the door to anything else puts all these assets at risk. As a resident who moved here for the lifestyle, I would be sad to see it all lost to even more housing than we already have.

  3. We are 100 % for Oak Grove development.

    We own in the Village and I work for Oak Grove. I have the inside facts.

    Basically you have two options:
    Leave zoning commercial and you will get assisted living and a storage facility
    Or change zoning and get beautiful homes, (which will increase our home values) and better stables and a hunts club that I can assure you will be done very nicely.

    One thing I know owners of Oak Grove will make that area really nice. I have seen their work at it will be five star.

    We don’t want a storage facility. That’s not original Coto

    Oak Grove is making the design western and very cool.

    I speak from the inside and I see the facts each day. I too was skeptical but we aren’t now. We want our home values to go up, not down.

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