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By Fred Swegles

Everyone loves new foodie options. Three new ones may be coming to San Clemente in 2019 in a part of town that is no doubt itching for them.

A plan is afoot to build a drive-thru and two other eateries on what is now the west end of Target’s parking lot, across the street from Vista Hermosa Sports Park.

It’s a place, you may have noticed, where almost nobody ever parks because Target has ample parking and shoppers wouldn’t want to walk that far, anyway.

Target is asking the city to parcel off the triangular-shaped west end of the parking lot to allow a 2,772-square-foot drive-thru restaurant, plus a 1,546-square-foot eatery, a 1,562-square-foot eatery and a 2,500-square-foot bank. There are two roadway accesses to the site from Avenida Vista Hermosa.

The drive-thru, with stacking space for 11 cars, could be a coffee house offering fast foods, open before dawn to provide a handy stop-off spot for commuters as they head out from Talega, as well as serving fans of beverages and related menu items all day long. Or it could be another type of fast-food offering, as long as it fits into the same traffic generation model as a coffee place with drive-thru space to stack 11 cars, city officials said.

CoastLine: An artist’s rendering shows the site for a drive-thru restaurant, two smaller eateries and a bank on the west end of San Clemente’s Target Store parking lot. Photo: Fred Swegles
CoastLine: An artist’s rendering shows the site for a drive-thru restaurant, two smaller eateries and a bank on the west end of San Clemente’s Target Store parking lot. Photo: Fred Swegles

The prospective developers told city officials they are talking with possible tenants for the three proposed restaurant pads, but they wouldn’t divulge names.

Included in the plan is a pedestrian ramp up to the eateries from Vista Hermosa, at a signalized intersection that connects Target and the sports park.

In case you were wondering, the Target store is doing just fine, a representative told the city’s Design Review Subcommittee at its Nov. 14 meeting.

But the 14.8-acre Target site at 990 Avenida Vista Hermosa is pretty spacious, and you have to wonder if Target envisioned all along adding something on the 1.65-acre west end.

Eating options will offer more reasons for people to stop at Target. And for those already in Target, as they walk out the door with their purchases, why not stop in for a bite before driving home?

Can anyone imagine the voracious appetites of young baseball or soccer players, burning up calories at the sports park across the street, and their families?

The design review panel liked the architecture and forwarded the project to the Planning Commission, which could consider it Dec. 19.

The design panel cautioned the developers that the Planning Commission will likely have questions about traffic circulation, a shared-parking agreement and the developers’ request to display business signs motorists could see from Avenida La Pata, the street corner that the Target site intersects.

I was trying to imagine what kind of eateries might be coming. The possibilities are enticing. Even though the site has limited space, whatever goes there is likely to do very well.

Fred Swegles is a longtime San Clemente resident with more than 46 years or reporting experience in the city.

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