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Historic Sexlinger property, orange orchard in mediation

Santa Ana has designated a nearly century-old orange grove, seen in this photo from Wednesday, June 20, 2012, as historic to stop or delay development.

June 29, 2012 12:00:00 AM PDT
A Santa Ana commission has set up a special committee to help resolve a dispute between the owners of a historic orange orchard and those who want to preserve it.

At issue is the Sexlinger Farmhouse and the Valencia Orange Orchard, which contains 230 orange trees. The property is currently owned by Concordia University and Lutheran High School, which want to develop the property with 24 new single-family homes.

The Santa Ana City Council recently put it on the register of historic properties. The owners objected.

The Santa Ana Historic Resources Committee heard Thursday night from the Save Our Orchard Coalition.

"It's our goal to have the Sexlinger Farmhouse and Valencia Orange Orchard serve an important role in this community by bridging our past and our future," said Ryan Bensley, a member of the coalition.

The property is five acres and is worth millions. The Save Our Orchard Coalition has so far raised $10,000 to buy it.

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