With all precincts reporting, Measure A failed, with 42.3 percent of the vote for it and 57.7 percent against, or 6,922 votes for and 9,424 against.
"We the people voted very loudly and clearly that we do not want a shopping center adjacent to our beach on land that was seized by eminent domain," project opponent and former Councilman Wayne Eggleston said in an e-mail after the election. "This is land that we own and have a right to vote on its destiny."
"Earlier in the evening I said I was cautiously optimistic," said project opponent Tom Barnes. "We can take out the caution now; this is a great victory for San Clemente."
The group of opponents who were gathered at Ichibiri were ecstatic about the results.
The Playa del Norte retail project will not be built. Negotiations on any new project are frozen for one year.
The "yes" and "no" crowds gathered at supporter Wendy Yoder's home and Ichibiri, respectively.
As if any further evidence was needed that the debate over Measure A was a lightning rod in the community, hundreds of voters have turned out even to precincts miles away from North Beach to voice their opinions.
As of 6:58 p.m., more than 250 people had come to vote at the Orange Coast District Office precinct on the 3000 block of Avenida del Presidente.
Barbara Conn, a poll worker at the precinct, said those high numbers are not typical of an off-year, single-issue election.
"I think we're surprised," she said. "We're pleased."
Poll worker Sean Henschel said other, nearby precincts were seeing similar turnout.
"Concordia [Elementary] across the way—their numbers are even more," Henschel said. "They have a bigger volume."
Stay tuned to San Clemente Patch: Our next update will be with the first mail-in ballot counts after the polls close at 8 p.m.
Poll worker Bob Ryan said the Ole Hanson Beach Club precinct he was working got busy around 4:30 p.m. and has steadily increased in traffic.
Of the 26 precincts in town, Ole Hanson is the closest to the site of the proposed Playa del Norte retail development that this election is all about.
A vote in favor of Measure A will move the 50,000-square-foot retail project another step closer to completion.
Ryan said that the Ole Hanson precinct has 499 mail-in ballots on the books and that as of 5:46 p.m., nearly 300 voters had cast their ballots in person.
Chine Duffy and her 4-year-old son, Nathan, came to vote at about 5:30. Duffy said she was voting "yes" on Measure A because she wanted more variety in North Beach.
"We just think it would be nice to have more variety here and upgrade things," Duffy said.
Stay tuned to San Clemente Patch for another precinct update with photos before the polls close, and then continual vote count updates through the evening. Reporters Jackie Connor and McKenzie Sixt will be filing from gatherings of both the "yes" and "no" campaigners as they await results.
Late Tuesday morning:
The Pacific Coast Church voting precinct off Vista Hermosa is still pretty quiet this afternoon as Measure A voters trickle in.
Poll workers there say the increasing popularity of vote-by-mail ballots has taken pressure off the 26 brick-and-mortar precincts in San Clemente.
"We've got so many people voting by mail [that low numbers at precincts are] not really an indication of turnout," said poll worker Charlie Fraser.
He also said that such single-issue, off-year elections tend to have low turnout.
Still, the Measure A issue has been a flashpoint in the community:
The lines are sparse at the Ole Hanson Beach Club voting precinct this morning.
Poll worker Bob Ryan of San Juan Capistrano said the flow of voters casting ballots in the controversial Measure A special election was steady, however; more than 70 had voted by 9:15 a.m.
Polls around town opened at 7 a.m. and will remain open until 8 p.m.
The Ole Hanson Beach Club is in the center of ; approval of the measure will move forward the proposed 50,000-square-foot Playa del Norte retail development just feet away.
At the Beach Club, swimmers, mostly retirees, mingled with the voters heading in and out of the building. Some cast their ballots in swimsuits and towels after a morning dip.
One couple who live in the neighborhood, , said they voted “no” on Measure A.
“I was standing out on the corner waving my surfboard around at the rally last weekend,” he said.
Sherry Forsen said she was voting against the measure in part because of all the vacant commercial space already in town.
“We’ve got all these vacancies all over town,” she said.
Multimedia uploads are enabled on this article; only photos labeled with the byline "Adam Townsend" or "Jackie Connor" were uploaded by the authors.
CORRECTION: Because of a reporting error, the number of precincts in San Clemente was mistaken in an earlier version of this article.