The City Council on Monday night approved a construction project that will bring to Mission Viejo another 320 apartments, including 48 affordable-housing units.
The complex will sit between the 241 toll road and Los Alisos Boulevard. It was the topic of a five-hour debate in which several residents spoke against the proposed apartments.
Resident Frank Gilliland said he prefers homeowners to renters.
"Owners are better than renters," he said during public comment. "I don't think you have to be a genius to figure that out. People who have a monetary interest in their homes are going to be a lot better representatives of this city."
Resident Carl Hungerford said he was worried that "young, drinking, fun-loving adults" living in the apartments "would soon be zipping up and down Los Alisos Boulevard."
Mayor Dave Leckness said he did not agree with those descriptions of renters.
"They talk about slums, and these renters are going to turn it into a terrible place," he said. "I don't believe in that. I don't think it's correct. Everyone up here, when you left home, you probably went to an apartment."
Council members and proposed to stop the apartments despite approval from the Planning Commission July 11. They were the only two who voted against the project Monday night.
Councilman said fighting the apartments would put the city in danger of lawsuits and further state control.
"If we fight this, I have very little doubt the state of California will come down and say, 'We are done with Mission Viejo,' " he said. "We may win a little battle today and lose the whole thing going forward."
Councilwoman called the state of California "Big Brother" and said the state has come down hard on Mission Viejo in the past for being noncompliant with required affordable-housing offerings.
At that time the state took two pieces of land designated as open space and redesignated them for high-density residential development, Kelley said.
"The state gives us numbers ... and we are expected to comply with them, and if we don't there are consequences," she said.