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Commission Eyes Ban on Three-Story Buildings

The San Clemente Historical Society members and property owners are expected to square off at the San Clemente Planning Commission Meeting Wednesday.

The San Clemente Planning Commission is set to discuss zoning plans that would, among other requirements, limit new buildings in the downtown area to two stories.

This third-story-ban was proposed by members of the to the . This group is helping to craft the latest iteration of the city's general plan, which will set policy for zoning, land use and the direction of development in the city for at least the next decade.

It's set to be approved by San Clemente City Council later this year.

The three-story ban has drawn outrage from some downtown property owners, notably Jim Eckel and the dozen property owners who joined him to form the in July.

touched off the furor when it submitted renderings for its three-story, retail-residential project just north of the historic City Hall. Olen has since amended its plans in response to historical society criticisms, but the group still takes issue with the building.

Proponents of the ban say taller buildings would ruin the city's historic, small-town character, while opponents say the rule would take away their property rights.

The General Plan Advisory Committee this spring voted in favor of the ban with 10 for, seven against, two abstentions and six members of the committee absent from the meeting.

Members of both groups are expected to show up wearing different colors in solidarity with their side; red in support of the ban and green against it.

The Planning Commission meets at 6 p.m. Wednesday in , 100 Ave. Presidio.

phil August 28, 2012 at 05:41 PM
DONT "SANTA MONICA-HUNTINGTON BEACH-LA JOLLA" SAN CLEMENTE!!! you can only sell your city soul one time!!!
Papa Rich August 28, 2012 at 07:26 PM
WHY ISN'T THIS IN YOUR NEWS TODAY? IS THIS A HUSH HUSH DEAL THERE OR WHAT? http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/08/28/san-onofre-radioactive-fuel_n_1836740.html
Adam Townsend August 28, 2012 at 07:39 PM
That's a silly thing to say, considering this story went out over the AP wire to every news outlet in the country. Unfortunately, I got beaten by the Associated Press on this one -- something I'm proud to say seldom happens concerning my continuing coverage of the San Onofre Nuclear Generating Station. Look for info later this afternoon.
Papa Rich August 28, 2012 at 08:35 PM
Outstanding !!
Bill Koelzer August 28, 2012 at 08:47 PM
Papa Rich---Please do not beat up on Adam Townsend. He is one of the most conscientious internet or print editors in the entire area, and I can say that having myself been an editor of five newspapers and magazines. His coverage of the San Onofre issue has been thorough, balanced and exemplary and it appears that everyone but you knows that.
Papa Rich August 28, 2012 at 10:21 PM
My apologies to the editor I like the patch I jumped to early Again I'm sorry
Adam Townsend August 28, 2012 at 11:39 PM
No worries, Papa Rich. Thanks for the kind words, Bill. This is the story: http://sanclemente.patch.com/articles/nuclear-plant-pulls-fuel-out-of-unit-3
Tom Barnes August 29, 2012 at 03:51 PM
After all these years of sticking to 2-story buildings why do we need these 3-story sun, view, and sky blocking edifices in our village? Is a “Spanish village by the sea” characterized by 3-story buildings?” I think not. In recent years we were able to stop the so-called “Village Courtyard” that would have created a shopping center and a Ralph’s market far out of scale to the downtown area. The result is a Ralph’s that is big enough, but does not destroy the character of the downtown. It is time to do the same to the Olen project. Scale it down to a manageable 2-story size that fits the San Clemente T-zone area. Once a building of this size is in the downtown area it is like the proverbial camel’s toe in the tent, let that toe in and eventually the entire camel will be in the tent. Some developers can’t wait for the Olen project to provide that toehold. If it is established, existing 1 and 2 story buildings in the downtown area will be crowded out. Stop the precedent setting 3-story structure by voting No on the Olen project. Preserve the “Spanish village by the sea” in downtown San Clemente.
Ian Dyer August 29, 2012 at 07:12 PM
I'm a San Clemente property owner who loves our Spanish Village by the Sea and I love so many things about San Clemente. But, this current push to change the zoning is counterproductive. It will stop old crummy buildings from being replaced by nice new ones. We don't need to take property rights away from property owners by further restricting what can be built in the T-Zone. In the same way, we shouldn't restrict residential owners from building nicer larger homes, nor institute view restrictions. Instead, we should leave the zoning alone, and with each proposed project, suggest changes to make the project more appropriate to our city. That is what happened with Ralphs and we now have a wonderful project that is WAY better than what was there before. The Olen project is very nice looking. It fits well with the Historic City Hall next to it. Look at the architect's renderings. It replaces a building not nearly as nice. Our zoning code is already very restrictive and only allows nice 3 story mixed use projects with housing on top. There have been a number of 3 story projects built under this current MU3 zoning that look very nice-go look at them. We can suggest changes to the Olen project to make it even nicer and fit even better next to the Old City Hall. The Olen project is a great improvement to the T-Zone.
Ian Dyer August 29, 2012 at 07:13 PM
While I'm on the topic, we need to allow a nice project to replace or renovate the former Miramar Theatre. We've said no to a project that would have looked MUCH better than what is there. We need to stop trying to get something perfect, as it is stopping us from getting something good that is WAY better than what we have. Right now, someone entering North Beach from the north or from Pico sees an EYESORE. We need to allow nice projects that are WAY BETTER than what we have now. I wish we'd allowed the proposed Miramar Theatre replacement as that area would now look good. One thing we do need to modify is the definition of "Spanish Colonial Revival". We've stuck strictly to a certain definition and it has resulted in some very clunky looking buildings such as Walmart, Lowes, Albertsons in the Walmart center. We need to encourage less clunky behemoths, a bit more graceful, streamlined, character architecture, still under the Spanish Colonial Revival style. The new Ralphs looks WAY better than what was there before!
Ian Dyer August 29, 2012 at 07:13 PM
Myself, I have discussed with a local designer having a nice MU3 project built in place of our existing little building at the corner of Palizada and North El Camino Real. It would be really nice, with tons of character, not at all a behemoth, and it would be WAY BETTER than what is there now. Again, we need to not change the code. Also, we need the Historical Society not to oppose every good project, but instead to evaluate each one on its merits, and then use its influence to encourage modifications to make each project fit even better into our cute city.
Lindsey Hanson August 29, 2012 at 08:06 PM
Ian are you aware that the project you mention (PDN) had NOTHING to do with the Mirramar????? You clearly are misinformed. The massive structure you are referring to would have been crammed in the North Beach Parking lot. DO YOUR HOMEWORK!
Ian Dyer August 29, 2012 at 08:16 PM
Lindsey, the project I referred to is not PDN. I referred to a project proposed by the Miramar property owner at the time (not sure if it's still the same owner) for the Miramar property. Also, I would prefer to dialogue about this with you without the personal attacks. That way we can focus on the issues.
Lindsey Hanson August 29, 2012 at 08:34 PM
I did not once personally attack you. I said you were misinformed. And yes the same folks that were behind PDN tried to buy the Miramar but they were turned down on the loan. No one other than that has attempted to do anything with the Miramar in ages. If you know of another project please inform us.
Mr Salty August 29, 2012 at 08:36 PM
The building on the corner of El Camino and Palizada is not even at half occupancy now! Why in Ole Hansen's name would you want to replace it with an even bigger structure? Keep San Clemente's Small Town Charm Charming Just say NO to greedy developers.

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