By Eric Heinz
Under a requirement from the state’s Housing and Community Development Department, the city of San Clemente’s 2013-2017 housing element was approved on July 24. The housing element, which is the city’s mandated plan for residential planning, had to be updated after the city was successfully sued for not having adequate space for an emergency or homeless shelter.
The city is working to correct and comply with an Orange County Superior Court injunction that currently prohibits issuing commercial permits in certain portions of the city. The injunction was issued earlier this year after a judge found the city had not adequately complied with an order to provide more space for an emergency or homeless shelter, a lawsuit brought forth by the Emergency Shelter Coalition in 2014.
Under Senate Bill 2, cities are required to provide the adequate space.
The city must also submit its 2017-2021 housing element to the state by Oct. 10. It is scheduled to be heard by City Council in the next month and should reflect the orders set by the court.
The city had established areas for a shelter, but only on city property, which wasn’t satisfactory to the coalition.
At previous meetings, city officials said there is an estimated need of about 70 beds for homeless people in San Clemente.
The latest order, signed July 20, mandates the city cannot go forward with any plans or permits regarding the Miramar Theater, which was approved by the planning commission about a month ago. Although no permits or anything else had been solidified, the judge decided the city needs to comply with the order before moving forward. The Miramar Theater is located in the injunction zone.
A hearing is scheduled for Sept. 8 in Orange County Superior Court regarding the order to not move forward with permits for the Miramar, but City Attorney Scott Smith said because the first housing element has been approved, the city will try to get the injunction lifted and show the court that it has complied.