City approves code change to meet state housing requirements

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By Collin Breaux | Twitter: @collin_breaux

In order to comply with state housing regulations, the San Juan Capistrano City Council on Tuesday, September 21 approved a general plan and a study to modify the code that allow high-density housing developments on four plots of land. Doheny Park Road.

The plots are currently commercial areas and are located at 33953, 33955, 33959 and 33963 Doheny Park Road. Existing businesses on these plots include Costco and Staples. The amendment allows for up to 50 housing units per acre.

A graph shows the areas where the city allows residential development to meet the state’s housing requirements. Graphic: The city of San Juan Capistrano

The city of San Juan Capistrano is working to meet regulations on housing requirements issued by the state and has already approved the study of a rezoning project that allows high density residential units in other parts of town. City staff have identified the Doheny Park plots – which lie near the Dana Point border – after previous similar plans in the Avenida Los Amigos area were rejected following residential outcry from residents of this area. district.

The regulation of the plots discussed at Tuesday’s meeting, known as the Specific Price Club Plan, already allows a number of commercial uses. Staff “do not recommend modifying or eliminating any of the commercial uses permitted in the specific plan area, but that residential uses be permitted in addition to those uses,” an agenda report reads.

“The developer could maintain current commercial uses, remove commercial uses and add housing in their place, or use both,” Joel Rojas, director of city development services, said of the significance of the change. code.

The board voted, 4-1, to approve the plan and the code change. Mayor John Taylor, Pro Mayor Tem Derek Reeve and council members Howard Hart and Troy Bourne voted yes. Board member Sergio Farias voted no after expressing concerns over the loss of retail establishments.

City manager Ben Siegel said city staff explored the concept of mixed use with consultants, who recommended adding permitted residential use to the price club’s specific plan, so that the open market and developers can determine the exact uses.

Rojas said cities can face penalties if they fail to comply with laws on state housing requirements.

“The state can cut funding for capital improvement projects,” Rojas said. “Not having a certified housing component exposes a city to litigation, not only from the state, but also from affordable housing groups. “

Council members have already spoken out against state regulations and local municipalities having no more say in housing decisions – a point reiterated Tuesday by Reeve, who said that it was hard to disagree with Farias.

“The challenge is the last we have had – I felt Avenida Los Amigos logically made the most sense. Obviously none of the residents agreed, so I lost that, ”Reeve said. “There are other places we can explore, but it would be just disastrous, certainly for my constituents, as well as some of yours. It’s not something I break my pom-poms for, but I do try to make the most of a bad situation.

City staff planned to submit their housing component project to the state the day after the council meeting, and plan to return to council to adopt a new housing component in February, a deadline by which the city must set. update the item and get the status. approval of the framework to do so.

Updates to a municipality’s general plan, of which the housing component is a part, are required every eight years, under state law.

Collin Breaux

Collin Breaux covers San Juan Capistrano and other South Orange County news as editor of The Capistrano Dispatch. Before moving to California, he covered Hurricane Michael, politics and education in Panama City, Florida. He can be contacted by email at [email protected]

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