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Orange County Focus

SAN CLEMENTE : City Nears Update of General Plan

April 24, 1993|ANNA CEKOLA

The City Council moved closer this week toward updating the city's General Plan, which will guide planning and growth for the next 20 years.

Much of the debate at a 4 1/2-hour hearing on the plan Wednesday focused on the land-use or zoning designations proposed in the plan.

First on the agenda was debate about a proposal that would have allowed commercial or residential development on a two-acre parcel, known as the Townsend Property, across the street from City Hall and next to a church and school.

After hearing from several residents who objected to commercial development on the property, the council voted 3-2 to limit use of the land to housing. Under the guidelines adopted, about 15 housing units, or a senior citizens' housing complex, would be allowed on the site.

In a related action, the council voted unanimously to leave the zoning for the city's Civic Center site as it is, until the city is ready to move to a larger location.

The council also spent a considerable amount of time discussing whether it wanted to restrict the number of auto-related businesses, such as repair shops, on El Camino Real as part of a larger effort to create a pedestrian-oriented shopping district.

In a 5-0 vote, the council agreed to restrict any new auto-related businesses on El Camino Real adjacent to low-density residential neighborhoods. The General Plan policy will not affect any existing auto-related businesses on El Camino Real, planners said.

The council also reaffirmed an earlier decision to reject a controversial rezoning plan in the Avenida Pico/Los Molinos industrial area.

In addition, the council decided to keep the zoning for Verde Canyon that allows 1.5 dwelling units per acre and to proceed with an extensive environmental study of the area.

After receiving a survey showing that a vast majority of residents oppose development of the canyon bottom, Mayor Truman Benedict sought to change the zoning for Verde Canyon to a designation that would allow only one unit per 20 acres, which would essentially keep the canyon bottom free of development.

Benedict failed to gain council support for the zoning change.

The council is expected to take final action on the General Plan during a special meeting at 6 p.m. on May 6 in council chambers.

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