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Measure B: A Violation of Property Owners' Rights

San Juan Capistrano City Councilman Derek Reeve writes a letter opposing Measure B.

On June 7, San Juan Capistrano residents will head to the polls to cast their votes on Measure B. If approved, Measure B will uphold the to change development standards for the property along each side of La Novia Avenue. This is a letter City Councilman Derek Reeve wrote opposing Measure B:

Vote NO and protect property rights

In violation of constitutionally protected property rights, the City Council approved developers [Advanced Real Estate Services'] request for a General Plan Amendment and a rezone of the property known as Distrito La Novia.

At the expense of neighboring property rights, the developer will reap millions in increased property value as a result of these new entitlements.

The General Plan is supposed to protect property rights by providing residents with assurances of what will be built on vacant land. Instead, the City Council ignored your rights when they approved this project. You know have the opportunity to overturn the council's decision.

Vote NO to high-intensity development

San Juan Capistrano Planning Commission denied approval of the project because, "design of the Distrito site includes significant building massing and intensity and a 4-level parking structure that will be incompatible with the low-density character of the nearby neighborhoods."

As approved by the City Council, the Distrito La Noiva portion of the project will include 10 three-story buildings and a 4-level parking structure on the 18-acre parcel.

Vote NO on the City's scheme to increase debt

The City Council erroneously believes this project will further downtown redevelopment, but this project will in fact increase city debt.

This development will compete with downtown merchants for business, causing more vacant buildings and failed businesses.

Vote NO—ARES is not a "good neighbor!"

ARES was sued by residents of Capistrano Terrace Mobile Home Park for failure to maintain the park. An Orange County jury found that "ARES acted with oppression, malice or fraud" toward the mobile home park residents, awarding them punitive damages.

ARES is not the type of developer we want in San Juan Capistrano.

Save San Juan Capistrano's small town character. Vote no on Measure B.

Coming up tomorrow: A rebuttal to Reeve's argument opposing Measure B.

Read an argument in favor of Measure B:

Read Patch's news coverage of Distrito La Novia-San Juan Meadows:

socalfam March 20, 2011 at 05:34 PM
When will the SJC City Council learn to listen to their residents? This is history repeating itself; a few members of the council (it only takes 3 for a majority vote) ignore the pleas of hundreds of angry residents in order to change zoning (and the General Plan in this case) to benefit a wealthy and well-connected developer by approving an ill-conceived plan to put a New York-style high density retail/commercial with low income rental apartments on top, next to quiet residential neighborhoods. The residents, realizing they've been ignored (again) are angry enough to spend considerable time and effort to collect more than enough signatures for a referendum to overturn the council majority's vote. Now it will be on the ballot so the community can weigh in and this time be heard. The problem is, the developer has far more money to try and convince the public to endorse his massive development. He stands to lose millions, so he'll go all out in trying to preserve his multi-million payday. And if he wins, the residents get stuck with even more traffic, more crappy apartments with graffiti and a strip mall next to their once-peaceful neighborhoods, which they were promised would remain that way. I hope the residents win this one. But I'm not sure the politicians will learn anything from it. Any elected leader willing to sell their residents out like this is too tone deaf to care.
Rob Clyde March 21, 2011 at 01:48 PM
The developer, ARES has had all the building permits in place when they purchased the now known Distrito La Novia /Meadows property. It wasn’t until a few years ago that a couple of city council members and ARES came up with a way both could make fare more money and that was with the Distrito La Novia/The Meadows development. They violated all sorts of laws and residents wishes but they went ahead away with this massive development that was totally out of character for this small town. The traffic gridlocks would be immense at the Camino Capistrano exit at the 5 Freeway. Close to 20% of all SJC registered voters said NO on a referendum to stop this mega million-dollar giveaway and still the developer ARES and most of the City Council went on record that residents were misinformed. That’s right! Over 3,200 residents were essentially called idiots and duped into signing the referendum. So sad that a few people in the City Council make unconscionable decisions against the very people that put them into those positions in the first place.
Small Town Girl April 08, 2011 at 03:19 PM
NO on ARES. NO on Distrito-La Novia. NO on San Juan Meadows. NO, NO, NO on MEASURE B.
d April 11, 2011 at 04:27 AM
compete with downtown??? What a strange comment. This project is suppossed to be anchored by a trader joes or whole foods type store and other retail for locals. Downtown is for locals and tourists with the Mission as it's anchor. What a weird argument- like apples and oranges. And why would any city leader "scheme" for more debt? That would be self-defeating.... some of these arguments are simply silly, which seems strange coming from a lawyer would should know better. The property rights argument is fair, but nothing illegal has been done here since the law has been followed: those owners started a referendum and now the people will vote. Sounds fair to me. We voted the city council in knowing what they stoof for, including this project. If voters didn't want it, they surely would have voted another way. Or are we calling those voters inept?
smoothpuss2 April 11, 2011 at 04:09 PM
D, possibly if you knew a little bit more of the back ground on this project. Lon Uso and Mark Nielsen along with Laure Freese ( before she was on the City Council) all had a hand in developing this project. All three of them guided the developer along and making changes as to what they would like to see before the project ever came to the City Council. While it may not be illegal.... Does it not bother you that there were City Council members ( a majority) who had a hand in designing this project. Now D, after helping to design this project, do you think there is any way that they could have voted no on the project after they helped design it?
d April 11, 2011 at 10:35 PM
I think if they didn't get involved that the project would be a poor one... the original project is lame and everyone knows it. NO one opposing Measure B LIKES the original project, they just want to delay it by voting this down in hopes no one develops it for a long while. That is NIMBYism that I am not comfortable with. Again, we voted for these people on council knowing their stance. But then again, I like the project so I think they did a good job making it fit SJC. THere are obviously personal reasons why some people don't like certain council members, but that is not a reason to shoot down something positive for SJC. Why shouldn't the council be involved in shaping projects that affect our city?
SJCfamily April 13, 2011 at 06:00 PM
"d"- In re: your comment that you don't understand how putting in more retail and commercial at the Distrito site would compete with downtown merchants; I'll give you one example. The manager of Von's stated that they have such a thin margin of profit that if another store opened at the Distrito location that takes business away from them, they will likely have to shut their doors. Von's is an anchor store for that strip mall; consider what not having Von's there will do to that area. There are so many downtown retail and commercial merchants who are already struggling to keep their businesses alive that introducing ANY competing business that would draw people away from downtown would present a potential hardship for them. I'm surprised that you don't (or won't?) see that. I'm equally surprised that our city council majority would support even more competition for these struggling merchants. But then, the council is so desperate for tax revenue money that they're willing to do just about antyhing to get more taxes - except the most obvious solution, which is to CUT SPENDING.
d April 13, 2011 at 10:29 PM
I agree on cutting spending in some areas. However, every single city surrounding us, with the exception of Ladera Ranch, has a Vons or Ralphs with a trader joes or whole foods close by. They are all doing fine. I still go to trader's NOW but have to go out of the city to do it(as does everyone else I know) but if they built one of these the ONLY difference is it would be closer and my tax dollars would stay here in town vs. going to San Clemente. If Von's is that close to shutting their doors now w/out competition, they should consider what they are doing wrong. Though I don't know if I believe that to be the case- of course Von's doesn't want competetion close by, so they say things like this hoping it doesn't happen. BTW, Von's isn't downtown, as I'm sure you know. I understand your concerns I just feel that the good outweighs the bad.
SJCfamily April 13, 2011 at 10:59 PM
"d" - First, if you're hanging your hat on a Trader Joe's being put in at Distrito, you might be disappointed as I understand that TJ's management said that they would not build at that location, since they already have two stores in close proximity (LN and SC). Regardless of what type of liquor store or mini mart is put there instead of a TJ's, it's unrealistic to suggest that it would have no impact on businesses a couple of blocks away (which I do consider downtown by the way, as does nearly everyone I know in SJC). Of course it will. I'm not sure whether the recession has impacted you, but it has impacted many SJC residents negatively. Your suggestion that it's somehow the business owners' fault that people are spending less money in their stores which impacts their bottom line is odd, given this horribly flat economy. I'm glad that we agree on one thing - that spending cuts are in order. There's a long list of waste at City Hall. I wish the council would look at that rather than re-zone property and amend the General Plan (which residents counted on when they bought their homes) to award developers like ARES with immediate entitlements to millions more in increased property value, just so the council can drag in a few more bucks for the City coffers (which ironically, they probably wouldn't get anyway - at least not anytime soon, given this recession).
Sandra Weaver May 22, 2011 at 03:26 AM
I voted already. I votes "Yes" on B.
Small Town Girl May 23, 2011 at 07:16 PM
We voted NO on B to protect our property rights and get rid of the developers scheme to con our city. Besides the ARES developers have a bad reputation for lawsuits in Orange County. Maybe they should move their operations to another county or state.
d May 23, 2011 at 08:46 PM
ARES WILL DEVELOP THIS PROJET NO MATTER HOW YOU VOTE!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! I wish people would do the homework and get the facts straight. If you vote no on this, it will still get developed. I am voting yes for a better project. EVEN THOUGH I WISH NOTHING WAS GOING THERE AT ALL. I like it empty. But that's not a choice. I hope people see through the crap they are being sold from the no camp.
socalfam May 23, 2011 at 09:26 PM
"d" - THAT's a LIE. ARES cannot develop this crappy mixed-use project if the voters vote NO. A No vote undoes the council's re-zone and change of General Plan, which is the only way this "new" project was approved. But of course you know that - you're just trying to confuse the voters. People - DON'T BE FOOLED - if you vote NO, the developer CANNOT build his unsightly, massive retail/apartments/commercial/condos and 500-horse equestrian event center which will create 2,200 MORE traffic trips per day than the old plan. The residents just want what they were told would be built there in the old plan. The Planning Commission listened and agreed with the residents and recommended the council NOT approve this inappropriate, crappy mixed-use project. The council IGNORED the will of the people and their own Planning Commission and voted to approve this crappy project anyway. VOTE NO on Measure B!!! - send the developer back to the drawing board!
Alberto Barrera May 23, 2011 at 11:02 PM
It can build the old plan.
JessC May 24, 2011 at 12:47 AM
If ARES thought that the "old plan" was such a good idea, they would have built it by now. Do you really think that a "mixed use" development fits in SJC? I don't. Why do you think the planning commission voted the development down? They don't think the development fits in SJC either. Do you think it is right for the YES people to steal NO signs? What are they afraid of?
smoothpuss2 May 24, 2011 at 02:26 AM
Then Alberto, let them build the old plan.
Ally May 31, 2011 at 10:38 PM
I Voted NO on Measure "B". socalfam and JessC are obviously well educated on this subject and have not been pursuaded by this clever "yes is less" bs campain. SJC is not like Mission Viejo or Laguna Niguel those are all high density and gross (including Ladera Ranch) SJC has a small town feel and as far as SOCAL is concerned it is a small town. Why would you approve such a development. Loma Vista and Mesa Vista I can not believe I am seeing signs up on that hill, in front of your homes, supporting this measure, if it passes say goodby to some of your views, your quite hills that you hike or ride your bike in, say goodby to your property values too!!! This will 100% effect the property owners, the business owners, the traffic and the character of SJC.!!!

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