A historical preservation group has asked the County Board of Supervisors to reject a proposed elderly center in Rancho Capistrano.
The center was approved on Jan. 14 by a 4-1 vote of the County Planning Commission. But the Friends of Historic San Juan Capistrano filed an appeal Wednesday, claiming that the 13-acre, three-story, 356-unit center being proposed by the Crystal Cathedral Ministries would be "too massive" for its site along Camino Capistrano, just outside the San Juan Capistrano city limits.
"If approved in its current form, this building will acquire the dubious distinction of becoming the most visibly massive structure in all the Capistrano Valley," said Mark Clancey, the group's president, in his written appeal.
The appeal also asks that the center and the future plans for the entire 94-acre ranch be subject to an environmental analysis. Crystal Cathedral Ministries has also purchased the adjacent 77-acre Bathgate Ranch and at one time developed a master plan for the entire area that includes a cemetery, mausoleum, a new sanctuary and a 45-foot high, lighted cross on the ridgeline.
"The developer needs to come out in the open and be forthright with the community as to what they intend to do with the property overall," Clancey said. "The plan has changed so many times. Now they have deleted all the Bathgate property from the master plan, which is all the property that's within the city's jurisdiction."
Clancey charged that the Crystal Cathedral Ministries is attempting to win approval for its project from the county, which imposes less stringent requirements than the city of San Juan Capistrano.
"This is a classic case of a developer wanting to have its cake and eat it, too," Clancey said. "They want to win their approvals and then be annexed into the city of San Juan Capistrano. Well, it isn't going to happen that way. Maybe they should just stay as an island of county territory or change their name to Rancho Niguel."
Rancho Capistrano was donated to the Schuller Ministries--now known as the Crystal Cathedral Ministries--in 1982. The ranch is now the home of Rancho Capistrano Community Church.