Mixed-Use Zoning

Mixed-use zones provide diverse housing options as well as new places for people to work, shop, and recreate.


The City is currently proposing to change the zoning of properties in five select areas throughout the City (refer to the Map below). Properties within these areas are proposed to be rezoned “mixed-use”. Mixed-use zoning is intended to accommodate future development while assuring compatibility with existing uses. Mixed-use zoning will provide for commercial, office, and industrial uses, as well as additional housing opportunities. 



  • In early 2018, the City of Lake Forest embarked on an effort to update its General Plan, a State-mandated long-range plan to guide future development in the City.
  • In June 2020, the City Council adopted the 2040 General Plan. The 2040 General Plan is a roadmap for the City’s future growth. It is a blueprint for the future physical and economic development of the City.
  • After an extensive public outreach process, the City identified five “focus areas” near major roadways and transportation facilities where future growth could be accommodated (see map).
  • In response to the State mandating the City to designate properties for residential use, the 2040 General Plan established a new land use designation: “mixed-use” to encourage greater opportunities for residential development in the future.  
  • City staff is now proposing mixed-use zoning regulations to set forth the allowable uses and development standards such as building height, building setbacks, and open space for these five areas.
  • Under the new mixed-use zoning, some new uses will now be permitted, such as residential in key areas that were previously only non-residential. Existing uses in commercial and industrial areas will remain as permitted uses.

Frequently Asked Questions ("FAQ")

1. What is mixed-use?

Mixed-use zoning is a mix of land uses or development on one lot or in one building. It may take the form of all nonresidential (e.g., commercial, office, industrial uses), all residential use, or a combination of both nonresidential and residential. In some cases, mixed-use will be accomplished by placing nonresidential uses on a multi-storied building’s ground floor with residential units above, or a nonresidential building next to a residential building.

2. What is mixed-use zoning?

Mixed-use zoning implements the General Plan adopted by the City Council in the year 2020. Mixed-use zoning regulations set forth the allowable uses and development standards such as building height, building setbacks, and open space.

3. How many mixed-use zones are there?

There are five (5) mixed-use zones: Mixed-use 32 (MU 32), mixed-use 43 (MU 43), mixed-use office (MUO), mixed-use industrial 25 (UI 25), and mixed-use industrial 43 (UI 43). The MU 32, and MU 43 zones provide opportunities for a mix of commercial, office, and residential uses in the same building, on the same parcel of land, or within the same area.

4. What is the difference between the mixed-use zones?

The MU 32 and MU 43 zones provide for mixtures of commercial, office, and residential uses. The MU 32is limited to 32 units per acre and has a maximum floor area ratio (FAR) of 1.0:1. The MU 43 zone allows 43 units per acre and a maximum FAR of 1.2:1. Building heights within these zones are limited to 65 feet.

The MUO accommodates high-intensity business parks, hotels, office buildings, light manufacturing parks, and light industrial uses, but no residential. The MOU zone allows a maximum FAR of 1.5:1. Building heights in this zone are limited to 65 feet, similar to existing hotel uses along the 5-freeway.

The UI 25 and UI 43 provide for a mix of traditional light industrial, commercial uses, and residential uses. Residential densities in the IU 25 zone are limited to 25 dwelling units per acre and a FAR of 1.0:1. (FAR). Residential densities in the IU 43 zone are limited to 43 dwelling units per acre, and a maximum FAR of 1.2:1. Building heights in these zones are also limited to 65 feet.

5. Where are mixed-use zones located?

The mixed-use zones are located in five key areas as identified in the 2040 General Plan. These five key areas are located near major roadways and transportation facilities and are shown on the map above and identified as:

1) Foothill Ranch Towne Center

2) Civic Center Area

3) Lake Forest Drive Corridor

4) El Toro Road Corridor

5) Light Industrial/Rail Corridor

6. How do I know if my property is located in a mixed-use zone?

A listing of properties by parcel number and/or address can be found by utilizing the City’s ArcGIS online map. Please enter the property address or assessor’s parcel number, and press search. The map will identify the mixed-use zone associated with your property Lake Forest Proposed Mixed-Use Sites (arcgis.com).

7. How will mixed-use zoning affect my property?

Mixed-use zoning will allow permitted uses to remain as well as add new uses (see mixed-use land use matrix under the Mixed-Use Zoning heading. https://lakeforestca.sharepoint.com/sites/CommunityDevelopment/SitePages/Planning-Division.aspx

8. When will the mixed-use zones become effective?

Establishing mixed-use zones will be considered at public hearings by the Planning Commission and City Council. A tentative date for the Planning Commission hearing is July 7th at 6:30 p.m. Hearings will be held in the Council Chambers at the City of Lake Forest City Hall, located at 100 Civic Center Drive. A public hearing notice will be mailed to you via the United States Postal Service (USPS).

9. Where can I get more information?

Please contact City staff: Marie Luna, Senior Planner, is available to answer your questions. Marie can be reached at (949) 461-3466 or by e-mail at mluna@lakeforestca.gov and is also available to meet with you in person, or virtually.

ArcGIS Map link

ArcGIS link image