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WAYNE EGGLESTON, former San Clemente City Councilmember and Mayor

In 2010, a dedicated group of 25 San Clemente residents met for more than two years to formulate a new General Plan, called The Centennial General Plan. The city council adopted this comprehensive document in 2014.

So, what is the General Plan? The Plan guides many important community decisions through 2028—the centennial year of the city’s founding.

Elements include Land Use; Urban Design; Historic Preservation; Economic Development; Mobility and Complete Streets; Housing; Beaches, Parks and Recreation; Natural Resources; Coastal; Safety; Public Services; Facilities and Utilities; Growth Management; and Governance.

Over the past two years, several members of the city council and planning staff have ignored/dismissed some basic premises of the General Plan and have foregone the detailed study and recommendations by our planning commission.

Unfortunately, the city has undergone tremendous planning staff turnover, and the city council has had issues with only four sitting members instead of the required five because of a mayor’s death and another member relocating.

Some of the issues the city council or planning staff have superseded without adequate consideration of the General Plan or input from our well-qualified planning commissioners include looking at reducing traffic lanes on North El Camino from four to two, and making Avenida Del Mar a one-way street.

The city has also approved a beer-tasting establishment on Avenida Del Mar next to apartments, as well as a residential coastal canyon development “in concept” without public hearings and sending it on to the California Coastal Commission, which fortunately rejected it.

I urge the new council to read the General Plan, apply its principles, and not “rubber stamp” recommendations. Also, it is vital for planning staff, even if they do not live in San Clemente, to follow the vision of the residents.

And I urge General Plan Advisory Committee members, who had the incredible General Plan vision, to become more involved in planning commission and city council agendas, and prior to decisions, forcibly speak out when you see your visions or established processes being altered or ignored.

With a new and full city council, hopefully these prior practices cannot and should not continue. We all need to pull together and follow proper procedure and policies that were adopted in 2014. Otherwise, why even have the Centennial General Plan?

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