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City Manager's Update: July 7, 2012

La Sala Auditorium, a dinosaur, weed abatement and more.

LA SALA AUDITORIUM:  La Sala Auditorium/Courtyard, a city-owned rental facility adjacent to the San Juan Capistrano Library, is in the process of getting a facelift.  The building is more than 20 years old and was starting to look its age. La Sala Auditorium recently received a paint job inside and will get new lighting and laminated flooring. The scheduled completion date is July 10. This beautification of this La Sala Auditorium/Courtyard, designed by renowned architect Michael Graves, will make a truly lovely venue for outdoor/indoor events available to the public. For more information please call the Community Services Department at (949) 493-5911.

 Staff inspected and noted the faux dinosaur installed at Zoomar’s without zoning entitlements, building permits or archaeological/Native American monitoring and issued a notice of violation and stop work order. The property owner has submitted a proposal that staff has reviewed and determined that legislative actions and zoning entitlements requiring Cultural Heritage Commission, Planning Commission, and City Council review and approval are required. If the legislative and zoning applications are approved, a building permit is required. Staff has forwarded a letter to the property owner regarding this issue. The letter provides the property owner 15 days to proceed with removing the dinosaur or submitting a formal application to obtain zoning approval of the dinosaur.

 The Shea /Oaks mixed-use project requires a general plan amendment to redistribute open space boundaries, requiring a vote of the people. On June 26, the Planning Commission voted 6-1 to recommend that the City Council deny the general plan amendment application.  The application is scheduled for public hearing before the City Council on July 17.

On June 26, the City Council reviewed a proposal to amend the Municipal Code regulating signs and advertising for auto dealers  and recommended denial on a 2-2-1 vote. The code amendment is scheduled for public hearing before the City Council on July 17.

 The city received a $500,000 grant to provide seismic retrofit, wall and roof stabilization and exterior improvements. The conceptual design plans were unanimously supported by the Parks, Recreation and Senior Services Commission on June 18 and by the Cultural Heritage Commission on June 26. The project was reviewed by the Design Review Committee on July 5.

JOB SEARCH: The city conducted its initial interviews for the accountant position on Wednesday, June 27.

DEL OBISPO STREET BRIDGE WIDENING: The contractor installed and compacted base material west of the bridge for the new road and curb. Workers started constructing forms for the curb and gutter on the north side of Del Obispo Street. They installed additional fencing to close off access to the site. They also met with the utility company construction representatives on-site to coordinate the underground conversion construction past the bridge approach slab which the utility companies will perform. The expected project completion date is in mid-August.

SUN RANCH CREEK PROJECT : The city  of San Juan Capistrano has completed plans to construct drainage improvements within the city’s drainage easement, west of the Sun Ranch development, located off Del Obispo Street, south of Calle Aspero. The proposed project consists of the installation of approximately 1,500 linear feet of buried 48-inch diameter reinforced concrete storm drain pipeline along the overgrown drainage course. The improvements within the easement will also include construction of an all-weather access road along the south edge of the easement, establishment of a restored drainage channel that will be vegetated with native wetland and riparian habitat, and additional landscaping, retaining walls and fencing.

The improvement will provide storm protection to neighboring properties while providing a natural cleaned-up ravine and water course. The Public Works Department will through late July. Award of the construction contract is anticipated in August with work to commence in September.

I-5/CAMINO CAPISTRANO INTERCHANGE IMPROVEMENT PROJECT: To enhance traffic flow, Caltrans, in cooperation with the Orange County Transportation Authority, is working toward improving the southbound ramp at the I-5 and Camino Capistrano. This project includes construction of a sound wall on the southbound I-5 between the southbound SR-74 on-ramp and San Juan Creek Road; construction of a retaining wall between San Juan Creek Road Bridge and San Juan Creek Bridge; the addition of an auxiliary exit lane on the southbound I-5 at Camino Capistrano southbound off-ramp; widening San Juan Creek Bridge; and widening San Juan Creek Road for 2,200 feet to the south.

This project is part of OCTA’s and Caltrans’ Chokepoint Improvement Program in which sections of freeways have been identified to have bottlenecks for short distances because of heavy traffic weaving and moving.  The project construction began in July 2010 and is scheduled for completion by the end of February 2013, with landscaping scheduled for early 2013.  For more information, contact the Caltrans project manager, David Richardson, at (949) 724-2341.

ORTEGA HIGHWAY REHABILITATION: Two Caltrans maintenance projects to resurface Ortega Highway began June 18.  Work on the roadway will be performed at night with lane closures and flaggers, where necessary. There are no scheduled roadway closures.  The project is expected to last 90 days. Project limits for the larger project are I-5 to Calle Entradero and east of Antonio Parkway (Mile Marker 3.0) to Mile Marker 13.3, near the Orange/Riverside County Line.  The project limits for the second project are Calle Entradero to the San Juan Capistrano city limits. Where necessary, ADA ramps will be reconstructed to current requirements.

OCTA’s consultant, CDM Smith/Minagar & Associates, Inc., finalized the Del Obispo Street operations study to evaluate options to minimize the long delays caused by the queue-cutter signals. Presentations were made to the Transportation Commission on April 11 and to the City Council at the April 17, 2012 meeting, outlining the recommendations of the study. OCTA staff outlined various options available to the city. 

OCTA and city staff will continue to work on timing adjustments at the queue-cutter signal and the adjacent intersections to minimize delays. OCTA is also initiating a separate consultant study to address the “ghost train” issue. The study is expected to be completed by mid-July.

PAVEMENT REHABILITATION IMPROVEMENT : The remaining portion of the project calls for slurry coating of the alleyways in Capistrano Villas II & III (Phase 3). The start date of the alleyway work is pending the contractor’s agreement to be in place with Capistrano Villas II & III HOAs for the private portion of Phase 3.

SIDEWALK AND ACCESS RAMP CONSTRUCTION: Road work started April 16 on a, roughly, two-month street  improvement project to construct and upgrade access ramps and install sidewalks at various points along Del Obispo Street, Alipaz Street, Avenida de la Vista, and at the entrance to the San Juan . To date, the contractor has constructed all 15 ADA ramps and sidewalks at the aforementioned locations.  Final inspection of the project sites by the city and Caltrans will be scheduled next week.

2011-2012 SANITARY SEWER REHABILITATION PROJECT: This project performs lining or complete replacement of approximately two miles of city sanitary sewer pipe, based upon last year’s sewer video inspection program. Public Works staff is preparing plans and specifications in house and is expecting to bring the project to the Utilities Commission in July and the City Council in August for approval to go out to bid. The areas proposed for rehabilitation include sewer lines on: Camino Capistrano in the downtown area, Camino De Vista in Capistrano Point, Kimberly Lane in Village San Juan, Avenida De La Vista in the Casitas, Calle Del Gado and Calle Miramar in Meredith Canyon and Calle Chueca in Los Brisas. The project will also include the renovation of 30 manholes in the areas of the pipeline work.

CITY HALL ONE-STOP SHOP PROJECT: The City Council, as part of its 2011-12 urgent strategic priorities, included the implementation of a “one-stop shop” customer service concept as a way to streamline activities and enhance the effectiveness and efficiency for the city’s residents and other visitors to City Hall. The “one-stop shop” idea revolves around the concept of all public counter activity and related customer service functions being centrally located.  These functions are currently located at various counter areas throughout the City Hall building. The plans to bring these segregated activities together into an expanded public counter and waiting/service area was completed in-house.

On May 15, City Council awarded the construction contract for the improvements to Insley Construction, Inc. in the amount of $60,582. Work commenced June 4 and will take approximately one month to complete. To date all demolition, framing, drywall, electrical finish carpentry and painting has been completed. Flooring, glass and final cleanup were completed by July 1.

WEED ABATEMENT: Field work for the city’s annual weed abatement program has been completed.  A public hearing will take place Aug. 7 to authorize the Orange County Auditor-Controller’s Office to include the assessments of weed abatement costs on the 2012-13 property tax bills.

Eric Bergstrom July 07, 2012 at 05:54 PM
Thank you, Penny, for this user-friendly version of the city manager's update.
Alberto Barrera July 07, 2012 at 10:24 PM
I always knew that the Del Obispo bridge widening project would take longer than they said it would.
Penny Arévalo (Editor) July 07, 2012 at 10:42 PM
Hmm, you're right. According to this story, http://sanjuancapistrano.patch.com/articles/del-obispo-widening-set-to-begin-this-week it should have been done in May.
Laura Lee Bender July 08, 2012 at 04:16 PM
Any info on when they plan on putting the embedded lights at the crosswalk at Del Avion and Descanso, at Marco Forster middle school? Was suppose to be done by September 2010....
Shelley Bachelder July 08, 2012 at 04:37 PM
Hi Penny, I wanted to reiterate Eric's comment (above) about making the City Manager's update so accessible to us. It's great to have a concise summary of all the projects going on around town. Thanks!
Penny Arévalo (Editor) July 08, 2012 at 05:17 PM
I was not aware of those plans. I'll ask. Thanks!
Penny Arévalo (Editor) July 08, 2012 at 05:18 PM
You're welcome, Shelley. City Manager Karen Brust started publishing these when she came on last year. They're available for download at the city's website. I take the items of most interest and link to previous stories I've done on the topics so everyone can "catch up." Glad you enjoy them.

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