Rancho Santa Margarita is an affluent city in Orange County, California. One of Orange County’s youngest cities, Rancho Santa Margarita is a master planned community set upon rolling hills. Most neighborhoods in Rancho Santa Margarita are within various homeowners associations. The population was 47,853 at the 2010 census, up from 47,214 at the 2000 census.
Although it is named for Rancho Santa Margarita y Las Flores, which was in San Diego County, the city limits fall within the borders of Rancho Mission Viejo.
The city seal has the brands of Rancho Mission Viejo and Rancho Santa Margarita and Las Flores on the border, with artwork containing Santiago Peak in the background. The tower in the foreground symbolizes the Rancho Santa Margarita Lake Tower.
Hughes Aircraft Company’s Microelectronic Systems Division moved to Rancho Santa Margarita in May 1988 from Irvine. In August 1992 the Hughes plant closed its facilities and moved the division to Carlsbad, California due to budget constraints in the aerospace industry.
The City is a general law city and operates under the council-manager form of government. Rancho Santa Margarita is a contract city. Police services are provided through contract with the Orange County Sheriff. Fire Protection services are provided through the Orange County Fire Authority.
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