Frequently Asked Questions


Where is Esencia? Describe the sort of views associated with this village.

Situated along some of the highest elevations in the heart of The Ranch, Esencia encompasses 890 acres of westerly-facing hills which afford both coastal views and backcountry panoramas. Esencia is located east of the intersection of Ortega Highway and Antonio Parkway/La Pata Road, and along the first segments of Cow Camp Road on Rancho Mission Viejo, in unincorporated South Orange County.

How many homes are planned for Esencia?

The village of Esencia is planned to provide an integrated mix of 2,740 homes offered for sale to people of all ages and life stages, including “Gavilán®” neighborhoods of primarily single-story homes for people age 55-plus. Esencia is comprised of three intergenerational neighborhoods: The Canyon House Neighborhoods, The Hilltop Neighborhoods and The NorthWalk Neighborhoods.

What are the prices of homes to be offered at Esencia?

The Neighborhoods at Esencia provide a wide range of product types. Available for purchase is a mix of single-family detached, duplexes and townhomes which allows for a price range that accommodates homeshoppers at each life stage. Homes in Esencia range from the $400,000 to over $1 million. Click here to see a list of available homes.

How can I get on a priority purchase list for the next release of homes in Esencia?Homes are sold through the individual Esencia neighborhood homebuilders, who create and implement their own sales and purchase procedures and protocols. The best way to learn more about neighborhood homebuilder procedures and protocols as well as participate in invitation-only homeshopper events is to visit, click on “Sign Up,” and complete the simple online form. Or, visit the neighborhood of your dreams at Esencia and talk to the homebuilder.What types and sizes of homes are offered for sale at Esencia? Who are the homebuilders?Esencia offers neighborhoods for all-ages and the 55+ crowd, featuring a diverse range of floorplans thoughtfully designed around today’s inspired lifestyles.

The homebuilders within Esencia’s three neighborhoods are CalAtlantic Homes – A Lennar Company, Del Webb, MBK Homes, Meritage Homes, Shea Homes, The New Home Company, TRIPointe Homes, Warmington Residential, and William Lyon Homes.

How many apartment units are planned for Esencia? When will they be ready for leasing/move-in? What are anticipated monthly rents for these apartment units? Who will manage/lease these apartments?

There are two multi-family projects planned for Esencia:  Esencia Norte and Esencia Sur.  Esencia Norte consists of 112 units and Esencia Sur consists of 150 units. Both projects feature social and recreation facilities, including clubhouses, swimming pools and fitness centers, and are currently move-in ready. Esencia Norte and Esencia Sur are being leased and managed by Western National Property Management. For more information (including current pricing and availability) please visit: or www.esenciasur.comWho is the master-planner and developer of Esencia and the Rancho Mission Viejo community?Rancho Mission Viejo, LLC is a privately held, family-owned and -operated company responsible for the ranching, farming, planning, development, and financial management of the remaining 23,000 acres of Rancho Mission Viejo.

Since 1882, members of the O’Neill/ Moiso family have owned and managed The Ranch which once exceeded 200,000 acres and now includes the family-developed cities and communities of Mission Viejo, Rancho Santa Margarita, Las Flores, and Ladera Ranch. The original Ranch included such important places as Caspers Wilderness Regional Park, the Starr Ranch Audubon Sanctuary, O’Neill Regional Park and Marine Corps Base Camp Pendleton. Click here to read more.

What retail and commercial uses are planned for Esencia?

Leasing is now underway for the Sendero Marketplace, a 10-acre retail plaza which includes a Gelson’s grocery store, RiteAid drug store, Starbucks, Chevron gas station, restaurants, shops and spaces for professional services.

In addition, approximately 50 acres of commercial space is envisioned at Esencia for such uses as retail shops and services, restaurants, professional offices, and more.

Amenities and Facilities

What amenities and facilities are planned for Esencia? Will Esencia residents be able to access the amenities and facilities at Sendero and other future villages on The Ranch?

There are plenty of places to exercise, retreats to relax, parks to play, and trails to explore on The Ranch. Click here for a complete list of all the amenities currently open and coming soon.

As a Ranch resident, you have full access to all the ageless amenities available in each village on Rancho Mission Viejo.  Plus, Gavilan residents also have access to additional amenities exclusive to the 55-plus crowd.

CFDs/Mello-Roos/Other Fees

Will residents of Esencia be assessed CFD or Mello-Roos fees? If so, how much is the assessment?

Yes. Community Facilities Districts (CFDs) or Mello-Roos fees supplement property taxes to fund new schools and other public facilities, and improvements to meet the needs of the state’s growing population.

The overall total annual property tax rate paid by new Esencia homeowners within this CFD will be approximately 1.8% of the base home prices for owners of homes in the 55+ Gavilán® neighborhoods and approximately 2% of the base home price for all other Esencia homeowners. (Base home prices do not include any home upgrades and/or view premiums.) This total annual property tax rate will include the 1.0% base per Prop. 13 PLUS any existing government-issued bonds PLUS CFD taxes and all other property tax assessments. So, CFD taxes will be a portion of the overall annual property tax rate which is expected not to exceed 1.8% for 55+ neighborhoods or 2% for all other neighborhoods at Esencia.

That means that Esencia residents qualify to pay as little as approximately $2,100 annually and as much as approximately $11,897 annually in CFD taxes – with the bulk of residents paying between approximately $5,000 and $7,000 annually. As a point of comparison, homebuyers in one of the newest areas of Irvine are paying an average of $10,277 annually in CFD taxes while those residing in the newest neighborhoods along the San Clemente coast are paying an average of $10,323 in CFD taxes.

Esencia neighborhood homebuilders are required to disclose to homebuyers their maximum CFD taxes prior to purchase. Neighborhood homebuilders also can provide information about how to prepay the Esencia CFD taxes. Please consult your financial advisor or CPA for all tax advice.

Are there additional fees assessed for maintenance of the village and more?

A fee is collected on initial home sales by neighborhood homebuilders and on the resale of all Ranch homes to fund an important Community Services Organization called RanchLife. RanchLife is unique to Rancho Mission Viejo and each of its villages in that it funds a full calendar of Ranch-resident recreational and educational programs (e.g., fitness classes, happy hours and personal enrichment classes), community-wide events (e.g., holiday festivities, celebrations, and concerts), Ranch resident-led clubs, a community-wide web portal and mobile app, and program collaboration with various Ranch partners.

In addition, all Rancho Mission Viejo homeowners pay a monthly master homeowners association fee through the Ranch Master Maintenance Corporation or Rancho MCC. Rancho MMC funds the management and maintenance of Rancho Mission Viejo’s many community recreational amenities and facilities as well as all the community farms, parks, common area landscaping, hardscape, lighting, trails, and monumentation as well as related staffing and administration. The monthly general Rancho MCC assessment for Esencia homeowners is $189.

Based on builder neighborhood, additional fees will be assessed for other purposes including attached-home sub-associations and/or “special benefit areas” (i.e., covering the maintenance of slopes, alley areas, gated neighborhoods, and more).


What school district is The Ranch part of?

Esencia students attending public schools will attend schools within the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD). Founded in 1965, CUSD encompasses 195 square miles in seven cities and portions of unincorporated Orange County (including Sendero, Esencia and additional villages planned for The Ranch). Over the last few decades, CUSD has grown in both size and acclaim, earning more than 50 California Distinguished School recognitions and approximately a dozen National Blue Ribbon recognitions.

What school will Esencia students attend?

CUSD is currently constructing Esencia K-8 school at Esencia. Esencia K-8 is planned to serve students kindergarten to eighth grade residing in the villages of Sendero and Esencia. Part of the acclaimed Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) and slated to open for instruction in August 2018, the 14-acre campus has been designed with cutting edge features including a modular Innovation Center to replace the traditional library as well as technologically advanced classrooms to create a more dynamic learning experience. In addition, Esencia K-8 students will enjoy school-time access to The Pavilion, an expansive recreational area highlighted by a fully equipped gymnasium with regulation-sized basketball courts and stadium seating for 300 as well as adjoining athletic fields for softball and soccer use, also now under construction at Esencia. Contact CUSD for the most current information on the Esencia school opening.

In the meantime, CUSD has indicated that Esencia students will attend Las Flores Elementary School and Las Flores Middle School. For current information on attendance boundaries, please contact CUSD directly at 949-234-9200 or visit Flores Elementary School (K-5) 25862 Antonio Parkway, Las Flores, CA 92688. Named a CALIFORNIA DISTINQUISHED SCHOOL and listed on the California Business for Education Excellence HONOR ROLL for demonstrating consistent high levels of student academic achievement.Las Flores Middle School (6-8) 25862 Antonio Parkway, Las Flores, CA 92688. Named a CALIFORNIA DISTINQUISHED SCHOOL and listed on the California Business for Education Excellence HONOR ROLL for demonstrating consistent high levels of student academic achievement.High School Tesoro High School (9-12) 1 Tesoro Creek Rd., Las Flores, CA 92688. Named a CALIFORNIA DISTINQUISHED SCHOOL, named one of America’s Best High Schools by both NEWSWEEK and U.S. WORLD & NEWS REPORT (earning a silver medal with a ranking in the top 5% nationally and the highest in CUSD), as well as listed on the California Business for Education Excellence HONOR ROLL for demonstrating consistent high levels of student academic achievement.Area K-12 Private SchoolsIn addition, to help provide a full range of educational choices, students living on The Ranch have the opportunity to select from numerous well-respected private schools as well as several colleges and universities located nearby and throughout the area.Kindergarten – twelfth grade private schools now operating within the adjacent communities of San Juan Capistrano and Ladera Ranch are Capistrano Valley Christian Schools (PK-12), Capo Beach Christian School (K-8), Heart Christian Preparatory Academy (K-8), J Serra Catholic High School (9-12), Mission Basilica School (PR-8), Rancho Capistrano Christian School (K-8), Coastal Mountain Youth Academy (8-12), Saddleback Valley Christian School (K-12), St. Margaret’s Episcopal School (K-12), Umana Academy of Fine Arts (K-8) and numerous others in the South Orange County area.Colleges/UniversitiesWithin the local area are numerous colleges and universities including the following: Brandman University, California State University at Fullerton (Irvine Campus), Concordia University, Pepperdine University – Irvine Campus, Saddleback College, SOKA University, and University of California, Irvine.

Trails and The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo

Describe the trails planned for Esencia. Will they lead into open spaces and connect with Regional trails?

The walking, biking and NEV (Neighborhood Electric Vehicle) trails of Esencia are part of a larger Ranch-wide trail system which provides passage throughout Esencia, connecting homes to signature places within the village including The Canyon House and its adjacent Oak Canyon, Esencia Farm, and The Hilltop Club as well as the additional amenities planned for Esencia.

The multi-use trails of Esencia also provide links with the village of Sendero and its amenities, as well as connections with hiking/biking trails accessing select Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo trails and a County Regional hiking and biking trails network (leading from O’Neill Regional Park into San Juan Capistrano and down to Doheny State Beach). Additional regional trails are planned.

How do Esencia and other Rancho Mission Viejo residents access The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo and its habitat reserve lands?

Approximately 75% of the 23,000-acre Rancho Mission Viejo will be preserved as part of the protected open spaces of The Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo. Only 25% of The Ranch will be developed into the villages of Rancho Mission Viejo. There are currently two villages on The Ranch – Sendero and Esencia. Combined with additional open spaces already dedicated by Rancho Mission Viejo, The Reserve will grow incrementally; over time, it’s planned to be combined with County-owned lands to form the 33,000-acre Southern Subregion Habitat Reserve, one of California’s largest and most diverse habitat reserves.

While the primary goal of The Reserve is to focus on habitat study and conservation, programs and activities (including docent-led trail walks) are conducted year-round – with many offered exclusively to Ranch residents. Ranch residents are invited to join-in on fun events such as Knee High Naturalists activities, Rambles on the Ranch, camping, stargazing, and more. To learn more about The Reserve, visit

Roads and Transportation

How is Rancho Mission Viejo addressing transportation demands associated with development?

For decades, Rancho Mission Viejo has worked with various agencies to ensure infrastructure construction is phased with Ranch community development so that improvements are completed in a timely fashion.

Click here to read more.

Currently, Rancho Mission Viejo is working with the County of Orange on the extension of Cow Camp Road and Los Patrones Parkway to serve local Ranch resident and regional needs.

When will Los Patrones Parkway open?

Phase one of Los Patrones Parkway opened on September 12, 2018. Los Patrones Parkway will ultimately be a 4.5-mile, north-south link between Oso Parkway and Cow Camp Road. Phase two is anticipated to open late 2018.

In addition to improving vehicular connectivity, phase one of Los Patrones Parkway also includes a multi-purpose pathway trail for pedestrians and cyclists that extends from Oso Parkway to Chiquita Canyon Drive.

Click here to read more.

Click here to see a map of Los Patrones Parkway

Is Los Patrones Parkway a toll road?

No. Los Patrones Parkway has opened as a free, County arterial highway.

Water Wise

Is there enough water to meet the needs of development on Rancho Mission Viejo?

Yes. In 2004, the County of Orange approved the Rancho Mission Viejo Environmental Impact Report (EIR) which includes a detailed analysis of the Ranch’s water sources, current and future projected demand from development, and water availability to demonstrate the availability of water supply for average, single dry-year and multiple dry-year rainfall conditions. In addition, analyses were conducted to determine the adequacy of water conveyance and/or storage facilities and the certainty of regulatory permitting for development-related projects yet to be implemented.

As ranchers, developers, and stewards of one of the largest land reserves in the state of California, procuring a regular supply of water is essential to nearly every operation conducted on The Ranch including ranching and farming, the management of on-site leases, the protection of open spaces on the Reserve at Rancho Mission Viejo, as well as phased residential and commercial development.

Click here to read more about Rancho Mission Viejo’s efforts to provide a reliable water supply and water-wise programs to reduce demand.