City Council Rejects Apartments Near High School 5-0

Full story here: Residents pack City Hall, mostly to urge a no vote. They walked away happy.

Many in the audience at the San Juan Capistrano City Council meeting Tuesday held signs urging a no vote on the apartments. Patch photo credit: Penny Arévalo
Many in the audience at the San Juan Capistrano City Council meeting Tuesday held signs urging a no vote on the apartments. Patch photo credit: Penny Arévalo

Originally posted at 12:13 a.m. Jan. 22, 2014.

Believing low-income apartments aren’t compatible with the area, the San Juan Capistrano City Council unanimously rejected Tuesday a bid to build 100 units next to San Juan Hills High School.

The council chamber was standing-room only, filled with San Juan Hills parents present and future and residents from the nearby Valinda/Mirador tracts. The vast majority opposed the project, holding orange signs saying no to the rezoning and apartments.

Only two of some 14 speakers favored approval.

“I’m going to concur with the Planning Commission recommendation,” said Mayor Sam Allevato. The commission shot down the apartments in August, but city staff was recommending the City Council say yes.

The 4 acres where the apartment complex was proposed are part of a bigger, 10-acre site that is currently zoned for 14 or so homes.

While many of the speakers and some of the councilmen – notably Roy Byrnes and John Taylor – cast doubt on the traffic studies which said the apartments wouldn’t make the congestion any worse than it already is, the main point of contention was eliminating any chance for the school district to acquire the property and expand the high school.

The Capistrano Unified school board two weeks ago voted unanimously to urge the council to deny the apartments with a resolution which underscored a capacity crisis: When La Pata Avenue is punched through to San Clemente, Talega residents will have priority enrollment, possibly displacing San Juan Capistrano students from their hometown school.

That issue hit home for several speakers.

“Our children will be turned out of their own high school,” said San Juan Capistrano resident Shelly Welcome, who also asked an often politically divided council to “put aside your differences and look out for the children of San Juan Capistrano.”

“If the school cannot grow, the kids at Kinoshita cannot go to San Juan Hills. The people who pay Mello-Roos have priority,” said Gila Jones, who works with students at Kinoshita.

“Education is another basic service and we should be allowing the kids of our city to go to this school and not foist them off to other areas,” Jones said.

Former Mayor Mark Nielsen got the only considerable applause of the evening, as Allevato tied to discourage cheering and jeering.

“Yes, I was opposed to the project and the high school at that site. However, it is done and is now our high school. Our job is now to support it and make sure we do nothing that will damage its future ability to best serve our residents,” Nielsen said.

School capacity was also a salient point for Councilman Larry Kramer.

“I would probably do almost anything if the district would guarantee a seat to our children.  I thought they were guaranteed a seat,” he said.

Several councilmembers were critical of the school district, even as three trustees, John Alpay, Jim Reardon and Ellen Addonizio were in the audience, saying that the district created the mess by not having a better traffic plan.

“Can you visualize another 600 students coming up there every day [from Talega]? Horrible. You gotta do something about that,” Kramer said.

A city traffic engineer, George Alvarez, noted it took him 13 minutes to drive from the bottom of the hill to the school during the morning rush hour.

The councilmen suggested resuscitating a city-school district sub-committee.

After the meeting, Reardon said he would welcome the effort.

“Of course they’re right. There should be better communication between the school district and the city," he said. He added that he appreciated the decision because it buys the district more time to figure out how to accommodate all the students who want to attend San Juan Hills. 

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shelly January 28, 2014 at 08:28 PM
sunshine, I cited my examples in another patch article.
shelly January 28, 2014 at 11:20 PM
Thank you SJC Mayor and Council members for coming together for the children of SJC and voting no on the rezone.
Donna Fleming January 29, 2014 at 02:16 PM
All...there are so many different kinds of newspapers in this country and luckily we still have a choice to read them or use them to wrap fish. For years I subscribed to The Trout Wrapper, published by Ron Marr in Montana. It was full of humor and political satire. Kind of a modern day Mark Twain. It is a newspaper although Shelly may argue the point. http://www.montanasnews.tv/articles.php? mode=view&id=15579 “Troutwrapper.com is more riveting than the phone book, more informative than the obituaries, more fun than a barrel of monkeys who have broken into a barrel of rum,” says Marr. “The only new wrinkle is that we will be less political than in years past. Americans are in dire need of a humorous-stimulus package, something we’ll provide without adding one dime to the amusement deficit.”
Sunshine January 29, 2014 at 02:52 PM
Jonathan Vodka, you claim you and the Dispatch are such the purists. Every time you have written about someone or some issue you ALWAYS got the "subject's side of the story?" I think not. And in reference to the Dispatch's reporting, I have noticed facts sometimes mentioned with bias and information left out in their articles. No newspaper is without some bias in headline wording, page placement of articles, adjectives and descriptions, information shared or not shared, etc. And I'm sure the Dispatch and the CCS can't print every Letter to the Editor they receive.
shelly January 29, 2014 at 04:07 PM
Sunshine, Who is Jonathan Vodka? Why do you need to resort to name calling? CCS does not have some bias. It is all bias. It is an advocacy paper. It is perfectly legal but please be honest of its purpose and that it is group think paper. Every article is an editorial. And the Dispatch, OC Register and the LA Times do print varying views. CCS does not do this. The Capistrano Dispatch also allows guest editorials, here is just one racist statement from a CCS editor, Kim McCarthy, who wrote a guest column for the Capistrano Dispatch, "So, if you are wondering why you see so many pregnant Latinas and male Latinos not at work, with their well-dressed, well-fed, well-accessorized families, driving their new SUV’s or trucks around town, now you will understand. They come over the border, move in with their families, put their kids in school, are fed breakfast and lunch virtually for free, then they are directed to CHEC who hooks them up with tax-payer funded money and services galore.” — The Capistrano Dispatch, Kim McCarthy, April 24, 2009
shelly January 29, 2014 at 04:09 PM
Thank you SJC City Council members for looking out for all the children of SJC by voting no on the rezone.
Donna Fleming January 29, 2014 at 06:29 PM
The very fact, that our Mayor and city council banned CCS from the public is reason for me to want to read it. I never read it much before. Now I want to see what the mayor wants me NOT to see.
shelly January 30, 2014 at 01:02 AM
Donna Read it. It will try to tell you how and what to think or not to think just to accept. It is a group think kind of thing. Go right ahead but I would also suggest that you also read real news. It was not banned from the public but banned only from the city hall. The CCS is delivered to every resident in SJC. There were racks all over town. And it is online.
shelly January 30, 2014 at 01:05 AM
Thank you SJC Mayor and City council members for voting 5 to 0 against rezoning the property near SJHHS. Thank you for standing up for all the children of Marco, Kinoshita, Del Obispo, Ambuehl, San Juan Elementary and SJHHS.
Sunshine January 30, 2014 at 02:31 PM
The CCS is a good newspaper which reports facts, contrary to some people's "opinions". I would love to see examples of untruths they have printed. Bring them on.
shelly January 30, 2014 at 03:10 PM
Sunshine, The most recent edition and the edition before that and the edition before that and so on and so on. Every article is from one perspective. The only people interviewed are people who work for the paper or work for the people who work for the paper. No contrary view. It is an advocacy paper for the editors and their buddies. The articles do not just present facts or news but tell you how to think about the facts or news. If you want to be told how to think than by all means read it. I prefer to think for myself. Show me one article that does not do this.
Sunshine January 30, 2014 at 06:00 PM
I would love to see examples of untruths they have printed.
Sunshine January 30, 2014 at 06:39 PM
On the website of San Juan Cares, the written voice of Sam Allevato, John Taylor and Larry Kramer, it states: "San Juan Cares will bring you factual information – not politically driven editorial designed to tear our town apart." They are the "news" publication that gave us the "factual" 'Bring in the Clowns, article and flyer. They will be placing their papers in SJC City Hall. And, they have the right to, no matter how nasty, unfactual, opinionated, and classless their publication is. They are San Juan's version of the OC Weekly, and we know what their reputation is. Whereas, CCS doesn't lower themselves to character assassination and demeaning caricatures, they report facts. I assume those we've been hearing from who argue that CCS does not come under their "opinion" of what a newspaper is, will do so for SJC? I won't hold my breath.
shelly January 30, 2014 at 08:19 PM
Sunshine, I do not support San Juan Cares and find the flyers extremely distasteful. You tend to lump everyone together. I am a member of no group. I read many publications and I think for myself. San Juan Cares is not a publication but some sort of political action committee. And I find it disrespectful just as I find the CCS to be disrespectful. I find that both sides in SJC tend to lump people who disagree with them into one side or the other because they cannot fathom that people do not side with either side. CCS has been extremely disrespectful to a whole segment of the population and I am not talking about the Mayor and councilmen. So go ahead and defend it and read it and support it. I feel it is pushing an agenda just like the Mayor and others are pushing their own agenda. Be honest at least to admit that CCS is an advocacy paper. Or don't. Every fact is reported with bias and does not allow the reader to think for themselves but tells them how to think. If you like that sort of thing go ahead and read it and support it. I'd rather not. +++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++ This article was about the Mayor and city council coming together and doing the right thing. If you want to spin it for your own agenda go ahead, but I am thankful that they came together and listened and voted to not rezone the property.
Sunshine January 30, 2014 at 11:11 PM
A fact is a fact.
shelly January 31, 2014 at 12:50 AM
Facts are facts so why does CCS dress them up and spin them around and not let people think for themselves? Because it is an advocacy paper? Read it but don't think because they will tell you how to think and if you don't agree their followers will attempt to smack you down with insults and names. Fact is fact.
Sunshine January 31, 2014 at 01:51 AM
shelly January 31, 2014 at 10:05 AM
Sunshine, So your posts all along had nothing to do with the Mayor and City Council members coming together for the children of SJC and the people they represent and voting no on the rezone of the property near the high school. So you do not really care about that at all. The whole purpose of your postings were for your own agenda to promote your political aspirations. Purpose revealed. Okay then. Have a lovely day.
Sunshine January 31, 2014 at 11:48 AM
shelly January 31, 2014 at 01:30 PM
Sunshine, We all know that your issue is to recall the Mayor but the issue of this article was that the Mayor and the city council members did the right thing. You have the right to comment anything you want but you insult people and call people names. You decry flyers that are insulting and yet you do the same thing yourself. Both sides of these issues behave disrespectfully to each other. Personally, I would never vote for a candidate promoted by the CCS. It has an extremely negative view of the people of our city and our city. San Juan Capistrano is not perfect but it is a wonderful place to live and has wonderful people from all over living here.
shelly January 31, 2014 at 01:46 PM
Sunshine, And I have experienced the insults first hand from you and others simply for disagreeing with you. You do not know me, my family or what I am about or who I voted for or who I support and yet you and others insult me and anyone who disagrees with you. I don't think you realize how alienating your rhetoric is. I feel that this is about a power. This is not about water at all. This is about who you and others want to control our city. People who are in attack mode all the time with anyone who disagrees with them would not be the people I will vote for. People who have denigrated, insulted and advocated against many of the residents and people of our city (and I am not talking about the developers or the city council members) I definitely would not vote for. So keep on keeping on, Sunshine.
shelly January 31, 2014 at 01:51 PM
Cue Sunshine, insert recall website.
Sunshine January 31, 2014 at 06:48 PM
Sunshine January 31, 2014 at 06:56 PM
CUSD Trustee, Jim Reardon, wrote a great article with the history behind the zoning of the apartments: http://sanjuancapistrano.patch.com/groups/opinion/p/san-juan-hills-school-access-threatened-by-proposed-apartments
Fr. Serra February 05, 2014 at 06:28 PM
Brothers and Sisters, Stay clear of the path of the egotistical, vain and deceitful. Non-common sensible clowns may publish what they want. Do not fret! They comfort themselves when portraying a false sense of having vision and a feeling of importance on their soap boxes. However my friends, be wise and determine from past history who dedicates their time truly to the community without the desire for attention, who volunteers without compensation to others-not just a pet project, and who accepts all our community, rich or poor. Celebrate diversity, honor and respect government, voice your concerns in a tempered manner! Grab a shovel, bring some stones and lets build an adobe for the needy. Blessings to all!
Sunshine February 07, 2014 at 02:17 PM
I agree, Fr. Serra. Stay clear of Sam Allevato, John Taylor, Larry Kramer, San Juan Cares and the rest of the power hungry, self serving, harassing, rude, egotistical "posse". www.RecallSam.com. Sign petitions any day at Von's and the picnic Saturday at Cook Park on La Novia.
Tornado Johnson February 07, 2014 at 02:46 PM
In 240 years Fr. Serra you still have not changed. My research shows that most of your comment is how history portrays you with the Native American tribes. Some fathers never change.
Donna Fleming February 07, 2014 at 02:49 PM
Oh brother where art thou Fr. Serra? One minute you are spouting equiminical verse and the next you are – he-hawing the San Juan Cares circus flyer. "OMG that is the best capture of the gang!!! LOL, nearly choked on my sandwich. Anyone know where I can get a large print? The artist is quite good and captures the essence of the personalities...especially the gut on the fat guy and the beloved jester!!!!” Quotes Fri Serra between bites of his big mac.
Donna Fleming February 07, 2014 at 04:08 PM
Shelly...seawater intrusion We cannot continue to use the GWRP as a source for water. Not in the San Juan Basin. We share the same latitude as Crete and have the same problems. In coastal aquifers, the less dense fresh water lies above a wedge of salt water, and is separated from it by a mobile transition zone. Small changes in the fresh water level can bring about large changes in the transition zone; a 1 m drop in the fresh water-table typically results in a 40 m rise in the transition zone. Thus, when groundwater is extracted more rapidly than it can be recharged, there can be a significant seawater incursion, so that well water often becomes saline. This is a major problem, in, for example, north-east Crete, as an effect of the rapid development of package tourism in a semi-arid environment. Read more: http://www.answers.com/topic/seawater-incursion#ixzz2sfZPFrEa
Donna Fleming February 07, 2014 at 06:21 PM
Oh brother where art thou Fr. Serra?. One minute you are spouting equiminical verse and the next you are -- He Hawing the San Juan Cares circus flyer. "OMG that is the best capture of the gang!!! LOL, nearly choked on my sandwich. Anyone know where I can get a large print? The artist is quite good and captures the essence of the personalities...especially the gut on the fat guy and the beloved jester!!!!


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