By Eric Heinz
City Attorney Scott Smith said his law firm has obtained prior agreements among the city of San Clemente, the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and other governmental entities from years ago that mandate San Clemente must maintain open space as a form of mitigation to its development over the last few decades.
The significance of these agreements are related to San Clemente’s ongoing fight against the Transportation Corridor Agencies (TCA) effort to construct a toll road through San Clemente. The theory is that if San Clemente can protect its open space, the TCA won’t have room to construct a road.
Additionally, Patricia Holloway, the Capistrano Unified School District (CUSD) Board of Trustees District 3 representative who represents most San Clemente Schools, said the school district voted 6-1 on Oct. 11 to support the lawsuits filed by The Reserve subdivision in San Clemente, which challenges the validity of the way in which the TCA has established protective agreements with environmental organizations.
Regarding San Clemente’s Interstate 5 corridor, Kurt Brotcke, a strategic planner with Orange County Transportation Authority (OCTA), said during the Oct. 17 City Council meeting that officials are looking to conduct additional traffic studies in South Orange County in order to determine whether further extensions to lanes along the interstate would be necessary.
OCTA nearing completion of a $230 million expansion project from the Beach Cities exit to Avenida Pico in which more lanes and an HOV lane are planned.
OCTA is looking at traffic figures through the year 2040 and is looking to finish the traffic study by mid-2018.
At meetings within the last year, San Clemente officials have been looking to OCTA to provide alternatives to toll roads, such as increasing arterials or other traffic improvements.
The San Clemente Times has requested copies of the agreements related to open space to examine in full. A story related to the details will be published once the documents have been obtained.