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BJ’s, Townhomes Closer to Becoming a Reality


Rancho Santa Margarita came a little closer to getting a new restaurant and a new residential area on Wednesday when the city’s Planning Commission approved plans for a BJ’s Restaurant & Brewhouse and the Rancho Santa Margarita Townhomes.

The commission voted to approve a resolution allowing the Rancho Santa Margarita Townhomes project, a plan for 66 units flanked by Avenida de las Banderas, Alma Aldea and CA-241.  It is adjacent to the commercial area that includes IHOP. The concept was met enthusiastically, though commissioners expressed concern about sight-line issues while trying to exit onto Alma Aldea from the site—and that from the location across the street—and asked for a further study as a means of slowing traffic and making safer egress in the area just north of the big turn on Alma Aldea.

“The mitigation of traffic calming will come out,” said David Maldonado, the project designer for the developer, Brandywine Homes. “On our site, the sight line is much greater; it’s a little more dangerous on the existing location.”

The project on 4.09 acres includes 11 buildings made up of two- and three-story townhomes ranging from 1,644 to 2,098 square feet. The only exit will be onto Alma Aldea, with entrances on that street and right-in only from Banderas.

Walgreens, which changed its corporate policy regarding alcohol sales in California, received approval for a conditional use permit to allow the sale of beer and wine.