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Orange County Digest

San Clemente : Oceanfront Park Gets Supervisors' Approval

March 20, 1986|Gordon Grant

Creation of an oceanfront park, part of it on bluffs and part on level ground adjacent to the beach at the foot of Avenida Calafia in San Clemente, was approved Wednesday by the county Board of Supervisors.

The action followed a public hearing conducted by supervisors sitting as the governing board of the county's Harbors, Beaches and Parks District.

Ralph Hudson, manager of design for the parks and recreation department of the county's Environmental Management Agency, which now will take over the project, said the proposed $912,000 park plans still must be presented to the state Coastal Commission, probably within the next two months.

He said present plans call for a small landscaped area at the top of the bluff, a trail leading down the cliff, which will undergo minor grading and the planting of native shrubs, and a 213-vehicle parking lot at the bottom.

Santa Fe Railroad tracks run between the parking lot and the beach, presenting a problem in providing pedestrian access to the sands.

Hudson said there are three alternatives: an overpass, an underpass or an at-grade crossing, adding that while the county and the City of San Clemente, which will maintain and operate the park when it is completed, favor the grade crossing, the railroad and the state Public Utilities Commission have gone on record for one of the other two, despite higher costs.

It has been estimated that the underpass would cost $750,000, the overpass $250,000 and the grade crossing about $50,000.

Hudson said there is only enough money available in this year's budget to cover design costs, and that funds for the entire project probably won't be on hand until fiscal 1987-88.

The park will cover more than seven acres, including the slopes, and has met with generally favorable reaction from neighbors on streets near the top of the bluff, such as Avenida Lobeiro and Avenida Montalvo.

The property involved is under multiple ownership, which, according to Hudson, has complicated procedures. The City of San Clemente owns Avenida Calafia, the street leading to the beach. The state Parks and Recreation Department owns the beach and the bluff leading up to Avenida Lobeiro, and the railroad owns a 100-foot-wide right of way, which carries 14 trains a day between the parking lot and the beach.

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