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Committee Praised for Guiding City's Future

The General Plan Advisory Committee has worked through the painstaking process of tweaking plans and zoning ordinances for governing growth in town for at least the next decade.

The San Clemente General Plan Advisory Committee received a pat on the back from the City Council Tuesday for the committee’s draft plan, slated for final approval by the council in the spring.

The plan will govern growth in the city for at least the next decade, if not longer ― a previous council adopted the city's current general plan in 1993. The draft plan includes controversial recommendations for the city to develop and implement form-based codes to govern building height, rather than the blanket two-story limit for downtown and North Beach favored by the two council candidates who won the recent election, Chris Hamm and incumbent Bob Baker.

Other elements of the plan include discussion of potential new developments, broad plans for traffic and signaling, bicycle and pedestrian plans, rules for architecture, rules for signs, zoning direction and other city planning issues.

"We're coming off an election that was contentious... and issues were amplified," said GPAC co-chair Bill Hart. "What I focus on is the incredible number of issues we agree on."

Mayor Jim Evert expressed similar sentiments along with congratulations to the committee.

"I think there are certain issues in this city we are divided on, but when we take a closer look, we're not that far apart," he said.

The San Clemente City Council must ultimately approve the package of ordinances, direction and statements of intent, which has been painstakingly developed by the appointed committee, a consultant and city staffers over the three past years.

The plan will govern growth in the city for at least the next decade, if not longer; a previous council adopted the city's current general plan in 1993.

The GPAC has met 28 times over the past two years to hash out a plan, the skeleton of which was drawn up by The Planning Center consulting firm that helped guide the process throughout.

San Clemente Principle Planner Jeff Hook said the Planning Commission will have worked through its revisions of the plan draft to then send to City Council. The council will add its own revisions and take input in a public hearing process. Hook said, barring unforeseen complications, the new general plan will likely be adopted into law by the end of May 2013.

Also on the horizon is another joint meeting with San Clemente City Council and the General Plan Advisory Committee to allow appointees to give the elected officials their perspective on revisions made by the Planning Commission. That date is not yet set.

Tom Barnes November 15, 2012 at 04:42 PM
As with all plans "the devil is in the details." I must have been misinformed but I thought GPAC voted for a 2-story height limitation in the downtown area. I don't see how they can have it both ways, a two-story height limitation and the bureaucratic "form based codes," whatever that means. Clarity, not obfuscation, is needed on this important issue.

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