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By Eric Heinz

Since the start of 2017 to July 6, locations at the Outlets at San Clemente have been fined $16,400 for not removing temporary signs in accordance with the city’s ordinances. Extensions were filed by the companies in order to allow for the 18 signs, but the city recently rejected the latest extensions for the signs after Planning Commission rejected all but six.

The main battle going on with the Outlets signage identification—which in an agreement made more than a decade ago, ensures the mall’s ability to post freeway-oriented signage—is that Craig Realty Group, owners of the Outlets, are trying to put in permanent signage at their locations. But there has been pushback from locals who claim they would be affected by the signage and have contributed to the application’s stall.

Many of those who protested at recent meetings said the signage would decrease their home value due to the increased lighting, in addition to other reasons.

The Outlets proposed putting up halo signage, or backlight silhouette signs, that are intended to be less intrusive.
The Outlets obtained the agreement for permanent signage with the city years ago, but because certain aspects of the environmental review were left out, people who were opposed to the signage protested and a new review was required.

Cecilia Gallardo-Daily, the city’s community development director, said the city is conducting a new environmental impact report for the Outlets permanent signage.

“The city is currently preparing a supplemental environmental impact report. The report is expected to be reviewed by the city, and (City Council) must accept the analysis into the EIR,” Gallardo-Daily said. “When the study is finished, then they can find the publication dates and hearing dates that would follow. There’s a 45-day public comment period. During that time, the city wants to have at least one Planning Commission study session.”

Gallardo-Daily said the public comments will be added to the final draft before it is approved. The issue has not yet been scheduled for a future Planning Commission meeting.

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comments (3)

  • I can’t believe this city some times. You built a mall of all things on this beautiful property and now you won’t let them advertise their existence because the light gets in your eyes. Pathetic!
    Between the “Nimby’s” that don’t want the rest of us to be able to take the 241 north from town to get around the mountain to avoid all the traffic in north county and the “poor” folks who might have to close their blinds at night to prevent a little light in I’m just in awe of their silliness! Did they really think that when they moved into their homes that we would never, ever build another thing in San Clemente?
    I think the “Mall” will be out of business before anyone ever gets a answer from the courts….nice job folks.

  • Folks,

    You have to ignore the cynics, ill-informed, and those with ulterior motives that seem to like to add to the noise.

    The outlet mall is a financial flop and it has nothing to do with signage. It has to do with the owners ignoring hard trends. Traditional retail is on its way out the door. Just Google “Amazon Wardrobe” or visit deadmalls dot com.

    Look at the Carlsbad Outlets. They’ve been there for a while and have no signage. They are struggling too but not because of signage. It has to do with a paradigm shift in how people choose to buy today.

    The Outlet owners should have done more market research about how generational changes are impacting traditional retail. Then you combine it with not providing anything compelling that draw enough visitors and nothing local for the locals — not good.

    People are not going to drive past the Carlsbad Outlets or Mall from the South or past the Mission Viejo Mall to visit new Outlets on a regular basis. Perhaps once for curiosity sake but once they realize there are fewer options here and none are unique — they will not be back.

    The notion of putting outdoor restaurants over the parking structure so they have a view and whiff of the sewage treatment plant while they dine — not going to work either.

    Then most recently having the Outlet owner caught harassing a special needs child at Ruby’s and threatening to kick this child out — just makes it so true locals avoid the outlets as much as possible.

    For this center to prevail they need to rebrand it and lose the dated Outlet moniker. Make it like a city walk in San Clemente. They could reduce the number and scale of the retail units in the outlet and bring in clubs and sit down restaurants with some better outdoor seating. We are near the ocean, how about the addition of some water features. They want local support, bring in an indoor version of a Kelly Slater wave machine where people can break out their boards during the day and even surf it into the night.

    In summary, you can’t just cookie cut centers anymore. You need to cater to the needs of the residents if you will depend on them to succeed.

  • Carlsbad and San Clemente are anti growth cities but are otherwise nice places to live. The Craig owned outlets in Cabazon we’re just expanded by Riverside County Commissioner Marion Ashley, along with a parking garage. They have complete signage, and the Inn and Out Burger Sign is Gigantic. Temecula, and Murrieta, also in Ashley’s Riverside County, don’t have sign ordinances, and both cities are pro Growth.

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