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LARRY CULBERTSON, San Clemente Historical Society President
We were disappointed with the decision by the Planning Commission to allow a 7-foot wall to be built at the front property line of the former San Clemente Art Supply. While the wall will not be directly in front of the historic building, it will enclose the garden adjacent to it.
The garden will be turned into a hardscaped courtyard for outdoor events. Sliding pocket gates built into the wall will allow the courtyard to be partially opened.
We fear that even with these peek-a-boo gates, the best remaining view of the historic building will be partially blocked. This unprecedented high wall will be in direct conflict with San Clemente Design Guidelines, which call for “low garden walls.”
Walls 36- or 42-inches tall with a couple of feet of decorative wrought iron fencing on top would provide all the privacy a courtyard needs without creating the exclusionary feel of a high wall.
Something like we have at the Hotel San Clemente, for instance. That is also what has been approved for the Miramar Event Center.
Several commissioners valiantly argued that the wall should be lowered, or pushed back, or have wider gate openings. But the majority, in my opinion, was that a wall will be OK. There will be some minor adjustments to the gates in the wall, but it will remain a 7-foot wall.
You win some, you lose some.