A new zoning plan for San Clemente is set to be discussed by the city's Planning Commission, and if it is accepted, will see new construction developments in the downtown area limited to just two stories.
The ban on new three-story buildings was proposed by the San Clemente Historical Society. The group was invited to help draft a new iteration of San Clemente’s general plan, which will decide upon the city zoning policies, as well as issues regarding land use and the direction of new development within the city for the next 10 years.
Insiders say that the plan will almost certainly be approved by San Clemente City Council before the end of the year.
Naturally, a number of people are opposed to the move. Jim Eckel, along with a dozen other downtown property owners, recently set up the commercial property owners Association of San Clemente, in order to try and block the move from happening.
Apparently, the issue first came to light when local construction firm Olen submitted plans for a new development in El Camino Real, only to be warned that its three-storey, residential/retail project in the north of the city would likely be rejected once the new zoning plan was drafted. In response to criticisms from the San Clemente Historical Society, Olen amended its plans for development. However, the Association of San Clemente is not happy with the news and plans to step up its opposition.
Those in favor of the ban on three-storey buildings say that such new developments would blight the city's small-town character, but opponents say that the proposals would threaten their property rights.
This spring, the general plan advisory committee voted in favor of the proposal. It was a close vote by all accounts, with 10 members agreeing with the initiative, seven opposing it, six being absent and two members abstaining from the vote.
Read updates at the San Clemente Patch - San Clemente Planning Commission.