The Urban Village

After more than a decade of planning and development work, the Urban Village project has been given a green light to begin final design and construction. This will begin a 15 to 20-year process to fulfill the final redevelopment of the 68-acre mall site into a mixed-use City Center for Laguna Hills. I will bring my experience as an urban planner and designer to assist the City and the developer to collaborate and make this major investment a successful outcome for the City of Laguna Hills and our region of South Orange County. Many other investment opportunities for all parts of our City will come as a direct benefit of the development.

Public Safety

Laguna Hills has had a spike in criminal activity in recent years. The presence of some gang activity where there once was none and months of thefts and burglaries has heightened everyone’s awareness and insistence on the need for new and enhanced strategies to provide better and more effective public safety. I support recent installations of automated license plate readers in both private neighborhoods and public arterials that have positively affected law enforcement results and criminal deterrence. As our city grows, the need to provide additional police services will have to grow with it.

Community Outreach

I am working with City Staff to continually improve communications with our community via our website and recording of our public meetings with media that can be full-screen with appropriate visualization of presentation materials, speakers’ faces, and easily heard audio. Social media needs to be enhanced to be more interactive and intuitive to find schedules and places of events, hear opinions and requests and connect ideas and aspirations for our community. We also need to be able to use our media infrastructure to be able to instruct our community about important aspects of what our City is being required to do via the government laws on the books at the State and Federal levels.

Community Planning

Laguna Hills is a mature city that needs a common “Vision of Place.” Our ‘General Plan’ needs to be updated with better design guidelines for future development standards and requirements both for the new and the refurbishment of existing assets at appropriate milestones over time. A strategic plan to accomplish these goals needs to happen on an ongoing basis so that we can monitor and adjust our aspirations with our resources as a City. Urban Design is a professional qualification that I would strive to bring forward to lead our community to a better future.

Financial Strength

For decades, the Laguna Hills Mall provided our City an extraordinary financial strength with millions of dollars in sales tax revenue. However, the nature of retail has long since shifted toward most sales happening over the internet. We receive a greatly diminished portion of these sales taxes. Our City now needs to find new avenues, minimize new forms of taxation, to create new City revenue to secure a robust future for our expectations as a community. Creating a vital City Center can be part of that. We will always be social beings with a strong need to come together as a community. Places to enhance dining and entertainment are vital to that. We will also need to find new ways to spend City revenue wisely while maintaining the expectations we must maintain to keep our City assets in the best condition possible.

City Beautification

We celebrate our City’s 30th Anniversary this year. When I moved here 40 years ago, my street was a graded road. About ten years later we officially became a city. We have more than an ample measure of parks and trails that make our community unique. We have pride in our ‘Rooted’ volunteer program which connects volunteers to take on projects to beautify our public assets, streets and parks and artwork uniquely suited to Laguna Hills character and history. Through the Urban Village project the City will be receiving millions of dollars in “Quimby” funds that are designated to focus on parks and recreation assets. As a past member of the Parks & Recreation Commission and an urban planner, I am dedicated to make the best use of those funds for our benefit.

Promoting Community Teamwork

Laguna Hills is unique. We have been a community with pride in our history, going back to our historical roots. It seems like we are now living in a time where the simplest things are often under attack. Many things that we have all celebrated and embraced are being labeled as ‘irredeemable.’ It almost feels like we are being divided with a purpose. Elements of my goals, as noted above, are to foster our community coming together instead of labeling and splitting into groups dominated by fear. We need to rekindle our legacy by recreating events and a robust use of our community facilities after the aftermath of two years of the pandemic. It is time for us to become a community of ‘US’ again, both in our neighborhoods and our schools. My adult children all grew up in the schools of Laguna Hills. If we want to, we can all pull the rope in the same direction.


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You can count on Caskey. He is results driven and committed to our community for a brighter future.

Don Caskey for
Laguna Hills City Council.

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Paid for by Caskey for City Council 2022, ID #1445536

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