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More Alfresco Dining on Tap Downtown

The Planning Commission gives five stars to the idea of an expanded outdoor area at the Franciscan Plaza.

Patrons of and will soon have more outdoor dining options.

The San Juan Capistrano Planning Commission unanimously approved Tuesday the addition of 879 square feet for an outdoor dining area, street level, at the Franciscan Plaza.

“I think this will add a lot to the street scene along Camino Capistrano,” said Commissioner Jeff Parkhurst.

The area will achieve the extra space by covering up the downstairs courtyard. It will feature a fire pit, skylights for the downstairs plaza, a wooden trellis and wrought iron railing. 

The downstairs portion of the plaza, which has seen retail outlets steadily come and go, will be converted to office space, said Robert Quest, president of Sundried Tomato, who spearheaded the project.

Quest first , to see if there was any interest in making the change at such a prominent downtown corner. Commissioners gave the green light, and within months, the restaurants had finalized plans.

Right now, there are no plans to provide shelter in the event of inclement weather, Quest said. But at his other locations,  and , they’re still able to offer al fresco dining 300 days out of the year, he said.

In other news, the commission granted a permit to allow the owners of the Capsitrano Valley Mobile Estates on Avenida Aeropuerto to remove two laundry facilities to make way for two new coaches and relocate the laundry facilities to a clubhouse. 

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