San Juan Capistrano rejects request to build 47 homes on planned school site
For the second time in six months, the City Council has rejected a Capistrano Unified School District request to convert a planned school site into a residential development.
The vacant site, at Camino Las Ramblas and Avenida California, is next to the 416-home Pacifica San Juan development.
The homes still to be built in that development won’t generate enough students to warrant building a school, CUSD officials decided. The additional students can be accommodated on other campuses, they have said.
The district has an option to acquire the designated school site, zoned for institutional use, from Pacifica San Juan developers. The proposal, officials said, is to secure approvals for constructing homes, sell the site to a developer and use the money to upgrade two campuses – Palisades Elementary and Shorecliffs Middle School – that serve children from the Pacifica San Juan area.
For the City Council, the issue is how many homes would be sought.
In September, the council denied CUSD’s request to initiate a zoning process to convert the 7.29-acre vacant lot into high-density housing, with up to 131 residential units. On council member called the proposal “insulting.”
On Feb. 6, council members nixed a downsized request for 47 homes, this time telling the school district to come back with fewer homes and a public park.
Council members didn’t specify numbers. Discussions at the meeting mentioned 40 to 42 homes and a minimum 2-acre park.
The City Council heard from residents who spoke for and against the proposal, including people who had purchased homes in Pacifica San Juan a decade ago expecting a school and a park. The council also heard from parents of school children supporting the plan.
Curt Visca, principal at Palisades Elementary, said the district performs repairs when needed, but “we need a major overhaul.” Several parents said they love Palisades although the school is more than 50 years old.
George Peterson, representing CUSD, said a 2017 assessment found that Palisades School needs more than $11 million in upgrades and Shorecliffs about $5.8 million.
The proposal for 47 homes was an outgrowth of two meetings the school district held with residents after the council’s September denial.
Powered by WPeMatico