By Jim Shilander, Video by Quinn Conway

Height restrictions downtown returned to the council agenda Tuesday. Photo by Jim Shilander
Height restrictions downtown returned to the council agenda Tuesday. Photo by Jim Shilander

The issue of a proposed two-story height limit in the downtown T-Zone came before the City Council again Tuesday. This time, the issue confronting the council was just what constitutes the T-Zone.

After city officials submitted potential language for the proposed restriction, which would have set a height limit at 35 feet for a two-story building, with allowance for council approval to go higher if topography allowed.

Councilman Tim Brown suggested he was unclear about the area the language would effect. Brown, a former member of the General Plan Advisory Committee, said his belief was the restriction included the entirety of Avenida Del Mar to Avenida Serra, as well as buildings on Avenidas Cabrillo and Granada and El Camino Real. City staff’s version only included properties along Del Mar. Brown also suggested restricting height to 33 feet, as it is elsewhere in the general plan.

(GPAC co-chair Alan Korsen on why he supports a height restriction)

Councilwoman Lori Donchak said she was concerned that changing the scope of those effected by the change could effectively delay the general plan, if property owners along Cabrillo and Granada object to their inclusion without notice.

Brown countered that he believed the original T-Zone definition had been in place all along.

“To say we’re doing this at the 11th hour is a mischaracterization,” he said.

Councilman Jim Evert, who, along with Donchak, opposed the height restriction when it was approved last month, said he had been told by two members of the GPAC they had voted for the restriction with the idea it would only apply to Del Mar.

Resident Ron Trosper said no matter what, the council had already strayed beyond its role.

“You folks are meddling,” Trosper said. “You’re not just trying to make the city beautiful.”

(For another view, from Del Mar business and property owner Michael Kaupp, watch here)

The council voted 3-2 to accept a version of the map that included properties on the south side of Avenida Cabrillo and north side of Avenida Granada. The council had hoped to approve a final version of the general plan at a special meeting December 10, but the need for additional language may cause a delay into 2014.

For more on the height ordinance debate, pro- and con– visit the San Clemente Times on YouTube.

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