By Eric Heinz

At the March 21 City Council meeting, Council members approved to amend the Forster Ranch Specific Plan to allow for a senior living facility to be established near the Shorecliffs Golf Club.

The facility would be situated near the driving range of the golf course off Avenida Vaquero near the I-5 freeway.

The plan does not reduce the size of the Shorecliffs Golf Course and does not prohibit any future uses on the golf course, city staff members said.
Mark McGuire, a representative of the applicant for the senior living facility, said they are agreeable with the recommendations from the Planning Commission, but no application for the actual building has been submitted. The process on Tuesday was just to prepare for the incoming application.

Plans for the senior living facility were first introduced in 2014 as the city worked through its general plan and the applicants prepared to move forward with it.

Council member Chris Hamm said the project—given current zoning, setbacks and the possible density of the project—could be a bit too crammed for the current neighbors who live in the area.

“We need to make sure (this project) doesn’t hurt the current residents of that area,” Hamm said. “I think people are going to be pretty shocked when they see the total units of this project, but these are just conversation points right now.”

Councilman Tim Brown reiterated those points.

“I think we’ve been fairly responsible in public review to do the best for the residents and the applicants,” Brown said. “Some projects have been on the books for years and then finally come forward,” but he added the city needs to be diligent in making sure the project isn’t intrusive.

McGuire said part of putting the plans together for the center will include meeting with neighbors as well as going through the required process of notifying people who live within 300 feet of the project.

Council member Lori Donchak said it seemed like a good project to her because San Clemente is “woefully short” of meeting senior housing needs. Donchak said senior and affordable housing is needed and applicants must find a way to have the project work “in harmony” with the site surroundings.

The project could have as many as 24 to 36 units per acre, which could result in anywhere from 72 to 200 total units.

The name of the applicant was not mentioned in the city agenda reports for the City Council or the Planning Commission.

A map of the area and details of the project are available at www.san-clemente.org by clicking under the Government and City Council agendas tab 3-21-Revised agenda.

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