City agrees to pay attorneys fees as part of settlement
By Jim Shilander
The San Clemente City Council voted Tuesday to officially settle a lawsuit with the Avenida San Juan Partnership, which has been in litigation with the city since 2008 after the council denied an application by the company to subdivide a 2.85 acre parcel at 404 Avenida San Juan into four lots in 2007.
The resolution rescinded a 2007 resolution denying the application, and ordered city staff to resume the proposal for the subdivision of the lot. Because of zoning changes, the partnership will not be required to obtain a conditional use permit for the subdivision. The city also agreed to pay attorney’s fees of $373,000 as part of the vote.
The Partnership won its initial appeal of the decision in 2009, but the city appealed that result several times, losing at each level. The California Supreme Court declined to review the case last year. Though the resolution indicates that the city still believes it had cause for denying the application, it acknowledges the courts denied the city’s position. Thus, the city agreed to rescind the restrictions, rather than pay damages to the Partnership.
Council member Lori Donchak asked that neighboring property owners be informed of the vote and that the proposal was again being considered by the city. The subdivision submission to put in four single-family homes on the pproperty.