By Jim Shilander
The San Clemente City Council approved a modified proposal for the Ole Hanson Beach Club at its meeting Tuesday, which will begin the process of rehabilitating the club.
In addition to approving spending $2.5 million to rehabilitate the club itself, the council also approved separate spending on additional exterior projects, including repairs to the pool, roof and improving the kitchen facilities. The additional projects are estimated to cost $655,000.
The council approved the measure by a 4-1 vote, with Lori Donchak dissenting.
The club has been closed for maintenance since 2012 after extensive water damage was discovered on the first floor of the building. The scope of the project expanded after a survey of the facility discovered a number of different issues throughout the building.
Members of the San Clemente Historical Society spoke out against the proposal, which they said made unnecessary changes to the exterior, including the addition of double doors to both sides of the building, at the entrance and then immediately across from them at the pool entrance.
“The Ole Hanson Beach Club is arguably the most important building in San Clemente,” Historical Society President Larry Culbertson said. “We cannot change it just because we think our idea is better.” Culbertson noted that there could be issues with the California Environmental Quality Act based on the changes made by the council.
Raad Ghantous, who helped to adapt the Casa Romantica, criticized the idea that a “sense of arrival,” was needed at the facility. “A sense of surprise,” he said, was just as important, and was, in his opinion, being lost with the proposed changes.
“There’s nothing left to discover if you give it out at the curb,” Ghantous told the council. “Look at the cost of what would be lost.”
Other residents voiced concerns about the potential precedence set for other historic properties in the city, since the city was the owner of the Beach Club.
In response to some of the concerns, the council approved lessening the amount of glass next to the double doors on the pool-side exterior.
Council member Tim Brown said he took seriously the city’s responsibility to care for the building.
“If I felt we were impinging on the building’s history, we wouldn’t do it,” Brown said.
Mayor Bob Baker said he saw the proposed changes as relatively minor.
“I feel completely comfortable with the decision,” Baker said. “For a minor change in the building, I believe we’ve made it tremendously more efficient. I see a lot of benefit to this.”
Barring issues with CEQA or other setbacks, Beaches, Parks & Recreation Director Sharon Heider told the council that the work on the project would likely take up to 18 months, lasting to January 2015.
Discussion about this post