Coto de Caza, California

Coto de Caza
Census-designated place

Location of Coto de Caza within Orange County, California.
Coordinates: 33°35′45″N 117°35′16″W / 33.59583°N 117.58778°W / 33.59583; -117.58778Coordinates: 33°35′45″N 117°35′16″W / 33.59583°N 117.58778°W / 33.59583; -117.58778
Country  United States
State  California
County Orange
  Total 7.974 sq mi (20.653 km2)
  Land 7.951 sq mi (20.593 km2)
  Water 0.023 sq mi (0.061 km2)  0.29%
Elevation[2] 709 ft (216 m)
Population (2010)
  Total 14,866
  Density 1,900/sq mi (720/km2)
Time zone PST (UTC-8)
  Summer (DST) PDT (UTC-7)
ZIP code 92679
Area code 949
FIPS code 06-16580
GNIS feature IDs 1867008, 2407666

Coto de Caza (meaning game preserve[3] in Spanish) is a census-designated place (CDP) and guard-gated private community in Orange County, California. The population was 14,866 at the 2010 census.

The CDP is a suburban planned community of about 4,000 homes and one of Orange County's oldest and most expensive master-planned communities. The project began in 1968, when it was envisioned as a hunting lodge, now the Lodge at Coto de Caza, and the community was completed in 2003. Around the town, there are still undeveloped lots available for purchase. The majority of the community is tract housing, with collections of custom-built homes on the outskirts off the main streets.. Coto de Caza also includes Los Ranchos Estates, a 355-acre rural community of 75 large custom homes. Los Ranchos Estates is a separate private community behind the gates of Coto de Caza and has its own homeowner's association.

Clubs, sports and recreation

Currently, there are two 18-hole golf courses and two clubhouses, one considered the "Historic Club" and the other, the "New Club". The Historic Club, officially named Coto Valley Country Club, was once home to tennis guru and teacher Vic Braden during the 1980s. It was also a popular watering hole for local actor and cowboy, John Wayne. He entertained many of his famous Hollywood friends at Coto Valley Country Club. It was purchased in 2015 by local resident and popular event planner, Kenney Paul Hrabik. It was given a complete make over and is now a very popular wedding venue and sports and swim club. It has continued to embrace its rich equestrian history and historic charm it has always been known for. It was also the original home location for the Coto de Caza Youth Swim Team, known as the Swordfish. The New Club, officially named the Coto De Caza Golf & Racquet Club, harbors the facilities of both golf courses and adjacent ten tennis courts. Coto de Caza Golf & Racquet Club finished construction of the new Spa & Sports Club building in April 2008. After the construction upgrade, the facility now houses a new fitness center with state-of-the-art StarTrac exercise equipment, a full-service spa, a snack bar with Starbucks coffee, and the Michael Chang Tennis Hall of Fame and Member Lounge. The golf courses are both of Robert Trent Jones Jr. design. The North course was rated one the most difficult golf course in all of Orange County. Specifically holding honors with the notorious dog-leg right 1st Hole.

The community is also home to the 24.1 acre Coto Equestrian Center. Coto Equestrian Center was used for modern equestrian pentathlon events during the 1984 Olympics in Los Angeles. Coto Equestrian Center boards about 160 horses and has 47 miles of riding trails in the surrounding wilderness and complete training facilities with five arenas including a Covered Arena, Grand Prix Arena and Dressage Arena. Coto Equestrian Center is preserved as an equestrian use forever through a record Equestrian Use Preservation Easement which runs with the land. In addition, Coto Equestrian Center is the venue for the 12 Saturday equestrian weddings and receptions per year from April through October.

The Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park

The Thomas F. Riley Wilderness Park, which is open to the general public except after rain, surrounds the community of Coto de Caza on its eastern, northern, and southern borders. The park is a Wildlife and Plant Sanctuary and is known for its biological diversity. It is known for its oak groves, sycamores, and two creeks. The park is home to mountain lions, that have been known to attack without warning. Nearly 500 acres (2.0 km2) in size, it features approximately 6 miles (9.7 km) of equestrian, hiking, and biking trails. Its nature center houses an educational center for outdoor education for local schools and community groups. It also serves as an ecological preserve for the native endangered plant and animal species. The park is maintained and paid for by Orange County Parks, and is administered by Park Rangers and maintenance staff.


Coto de Caza contains commercial endeavors: the Lodge at Coto de Caza, the Coto de Caza Golf and Racquet Club, and the Coto de Caza General Store. Residents shop in Rancho Santa Margarita, Mission Viejo, Las Flores, or Ladera Ranch.

Geography and history

Coto de Caza is located in the northern portion of Wagon Wheel Canyon in southeast Orange County, at 33°35′45″N 117°35′16″W / 33.59583°N 117.58778°W / 33.59583; -117.58778 (33.595925, -117.587665).[4]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the CDP has a total area of 8.0 square miles (21 km2), of which, 8.0 square miles (21 km2) of it is land and 0.02 square miles (0.052 km2) of it (0.29%) is water.

The suburban planned community of Coto de Caza was a joint venture of Chevron and Arvida Corporations. Development was first initiated in 1964. In 1979, Arvida bought out Chevron. Richard Boultinghouse, who had previously developed McCormick Ranch in Scottsdale, Arizona, was hired as president and general manager. In 1983, Orange County approved Coto’s master plan for a community of approximately 5,000 homes, and three years later, the community officially opened. Coto de Caza’s reputation as an ecologically oriented recreation community was strengthened by the former Vic Braden’s Tennis College and a 36-hole Robert Trent Jones Jr.-designed golf course. In 1984, Arvida Disney, Chevron and City Federal Savings & Loan partnered in the development of Coto de Caza. Boultinghouse was later replaced by John C Yelverton. In 1996, Orange County-based Lennar Communities took over as development manager. Under Lennar’s stewardship, Coto was repositioned to promote more luxurious homes and lower densities, coincident with the regional recovery from the recent recession. The average price of a home in Coto increased from $375,000 in 1996 to $840,000 in 2000, to well over a million dollars, today.


According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Coto de Caza has a warm-summer Mediterranean climate, abbreviated "Csa" on climate maps.


Historical population
Census Pop.


The 2010 United States Census[6] reported that Coto de Caza had a population of 14,866. The population density was 1,864.2 people per square mile (719.8/km²). The racial makeup of Coto de Caza was 13,094 (88.1%) White (82.2% Non-Hispanic White),[7] 132 (0.9%) African American, 26 (0.2%) Native American, 878 (5.9%) Asian, 20 (0.1%) Pacific Islander, 174 (1.2%) from other races, and 542 (3.6%) from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 1,170 persons (7.9%).

The Census reported that 14,866 people (100% of the population) lived in households, 0 (0%) lived in non-institutionalized group quarters, and 0 (0%) were institutionalized.

There were 4,736 households, out of which 2,407 (50.8%) had children under the age of 18 living in them, 3,763 (79.5%) were opposite-sex married couples living together, 294 (6.2%) had a female householder with no husband present, 133 (2.8%) had a male householder with no wife present. There were 96 (2.0%) unmarried opposite-sex partnerships, and 30 (0.6%) same-sex married couples or partnerships. 420 households (8.9%) were made up of individuals and 116 (2.4%) had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.14. There were 4,190 families (88.5% of all households); the average family size was 3.35.

The population was spread out with 4,545 people (30.6%) under the age of 18, 996 people (6.7%) aged 18 to 24, 2,706 people (18.2%) aged 25 to 44, 5,452 people (36.7%) aged 45 to 64, and 1,167 people (7.9%) who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 42.2 years. For every 100 females there were 96.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 95.1 males.

There were 4,853 housing units at an average density of 608.6 per square mile (235.0/km²), of which 4,341 (91.7%) were owner-occupied, and 395 (8.3%) were occupied by renters. The homeowner vacancy rate was 1.0%; the rental vacancy rate was 1.5%. 13,738 people (92.4% of the population) lived in owner-occupied housing units and 1,128 people (7.6%) lived in rental housing units.

According to the 2010 United States Census, Coto de Caza had a median household income of $169,176, with 2.0% of the population living below the federal poverty line.[7]


As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 13,057 people, 4,049 households, and 3,644 families residing in the CDP. The population density was 1,654.5 inhabitants per square mile (639.0/km²). There were 4,152 housing units at an average density of 526.1 per square mile (203.2/km²). The racial makeup of the CDP was 89.36% White, 0.74% Black or African American, 0.15% Native American, 5.16% Asian, 0.15% Pacific Islander, 1.65% from other races, and 2.80% from two or more races. 6.65% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 4,049 households out of which 56.1% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 83.4% were married couples living together, 4.1% had a female householder with no husband present, and 10.0% were non-families. 7.5% of all households were made up of individuals and 1.1% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 3.22 and the average family size was 3.40.

In the CDP the population was spread out with 35.1% under the age of 18, 4.0% from 18 to 24, 33.4% from 25 to 44, 23.8% from 45 to 64, and 3.7% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 35 years. For every 100 females there were 99.6 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 97.4 males.

The median income for a household in the CDP was $136,726, and the median income for a family was $141,598. Males had a median income of $97,803 versus $50,689 for females. The per capita income for the CDP was $55,900. About 0.7% of families and 0.9% of the population were below the poverty line, including 0.7% of those under age 18 and none of those age 65 or over.


Most students in Coto de Caza reside in the Capistrano Unified School District and attend Tijeras Creek Elementary, Wagon Wheel Elementary, Las Flores Middle School, Tesoro High School, and [Santa Margarita Catholic High School] (located at the North Gate and not part of Capistrano Unified).[9] St. John's Episcopal School and Serra Catholic Schools are private elementary and middle schools located outside the gates.

The residents rebuffed an attempt to build a 400-student public school within the walls of the community.[9] They had concerns that it would "undermine the privacy and security" of the enclave, that it would be "downright illegal [to place a public school on a gated private property]", that it would force admission of large numbers of non-residents to the community, and that an eventual lawsuit would force the removal of the gates.[9] The reason for proposal was that Wagon Wheel Elementary School, which is located immediately outside the community gates, had far more students than planned.[9] The school equipment was to consist of 20 portable buildings which would have simply been added to Wagon Wheel if the new school's construction could not be completed.[9] Had it been built, it would have become the first public school to be built inside the limits of a gated community.[9]

Politics and government

In the California State Legislature, Coto de Caza is in the 36th Senate District, represented by Republican Patricia Bates, and in the 73rd Assembly District, represented by Republican Bill Brough.[10]

In the United States House of Representatives, Coto de Caza is in California's 45th congressional district, represented by Republican Mimi Walters.[11]

Coto de Caza gave more than 65 percent support to Proposition 8 in 2008.[12]

The area is patrolled by the California Highway Patrol, Orange County Sheriff's Department, and the Coto de Caza security force.

In popular culture

For the 1984 Summer Olympics, the community served as host to the riding, running, shooting, and fencing portions of the modern pentathlon events.[13] Princess Anne of England attended the event to support Richard Phelps, who finished fourth at the Olympic event.

The community is the setting of the reality-based television show The Real Housewives of Orange County on Bravo.

Notable natives and residents

See also


  1. "2010 Census U.S. Gazetteer Files – Places – California". United States Census Bureau.
  2. "Coto De Caza". Geographic Names Information System. United States Geological Survey. Retrieved October 18, 2014.
  3. While some residents believe that Coto de Caza means "Preserve of the Hunt" in Portuguese, this is erroneous. Actually, Coto de Caza is Spanish for "Hunt Reserve" and implies that the reserve is private.
  4. "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.
  5. "CENSUS OF POPULATION AND HOUSING (1790-2000)". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 17, 2010.
  6. "2010 Census Interactive Population Search: CA - Coto de Caza CDP". U.S. Census Bureau. Retrieved July 12, 2014.
  7. 1 2 "Coto de Caza CDP QuickFacts from the US Census Bureau". Retrieved October 18, 2014.
  8. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. Retrieved January 31, 2008.
  9. 1 2 3 4 5 6 Linn Groves; Liz Seymour; Tina Nguyen (December 14, 1998). "Public School Plan Rattles Coto de Caza Residents". Los Angeles Times.
  10. "Statewide Database". UC Regents. Retrieved October 23, 2014.
  11. "California's 45th Congressional District - Representatives & District Map". Civic Impulse, LLC.
  12. ECCOPAC. "ECCOPAC: Orange County Says Yes On Prop 8".
  13. 1984 Summer Olympics official report. Volume 1. Part 1. pp. 140-3.
  14. "".
  15. "Orange County Register - Steam locomotive runs around Coto de Caza home". The Orange County Register.
  16. "Orange County Register - Coto de Caza's Real Steam Railroad". The Orange County Register.

External links

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