SCSQUARED halfBy Eric Heinz 

Although the city had a closed-session agenda item regarding the property negotiations of a land parcel at Avenida La Pata and Vista Hermosa with a potential homeless shelter provider, during Tuesday night’s City Council meeting City Manager James Makshanoff said that notions on social media of the city establishing a shelter at that location were unfounded.

The negotiations were listed to involve Ed Connor of Connor, Fletcher & Hedenkamp as well as representatives of Jamboree Housing Corporation, which provides shelter for the homeless.

People at the meeting stated the city had zoned the location to house homeless people, but Makshanoff said it was just an overlay, giving the land the opportunity to eventually become a homeless shelter but that there are many other locations throughout the city also designated with the same overlay.

“The city has a number of properties around town, and (the city) disposes of those properties or sell them, and we have to make them available to various groups and housing advocates,” Makshanoff said. “They have to have an opportunity to propose an offer to those sites before we go to commercial brokers, and we’re obligated by state law, once we receive those offers, to go to the council and share that offer. But we are in no way compelled to make a deal for that proposal (of a homeless shelter).”

The cause for concern for many people who spoke during oral communications during the meeting was the proximity of the land parcel to Vista Del Mar Elementary, The Gratitude Garden Preschool as well as Vista Hermosa Sports Park—areas where children frequent. Some cited statistics regarding the mental welfare and social practices of homeless people as cause for concern.

Makshanoff said the city has had offers from other vendors including CVS Pharmacy, a car wash and others.

“It’s part of the process to determine how we want to see city property developed, and that’s all we’re doing, and we will (let) the council make a decision of what we’re going to do with that property, but we have not made it available,” Makshanoff said.

In order to comply with state law, the city’s SB 2 ordinance was adopted more than a year ago to identify potential sites suitable for a homeless shelter.

“It doesn’t dictate the sale,” City Attorney Scott Smith said.

The city is currently battling a lawsuit regarding the land, which Smith said challenges the land’s use, not whether the city will sell it to a homeless shelter provider.

“(The lawsuit) seeks to have a broader zoning overlay,” Smith said. “The city is defending it very aggressively.”

At 4 p.m. on Thursday, Feb. 25, the city of San Clemente will host a long-term financial planning workshop that will address expenditures and revenue of the city. The meeting will take place at City Hall in the Council Chambers, 100 Avenida Presidio.

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  • Why don’t the churches take in the homeless? Are they not given the privilege of avoiding taxation because of their charity work? Not one church in town takes in the homeless.

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