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By Eric Heinz

The city of San Clemente recently announced that a scoping meeting will take place at 7 p.m. on Thursday, April 13 at the city’s offices at 910 Calle Negocio regarding the supplemental environmental impact report, which is required to add information that was not prepared when this was first proposed.
City Attorney Scott Smith said a lawsuit filed in 2007 challenged the review, and a judge ordered that in order to move forward, the project would have to include enough information on environmental impacts regarding the signage.

“It’s essentially the sign program approved way back when, and it needed more environmental analysis, and what’s being prepared is a full-blown report,” Smith said

There’s more that’s stirred up people, especially the Marblehead area homeowners. The lighting from the signs has people angry that it will destroy nighttime views and cause other problems, stemming from highway impacts to the fairness of business.

Smith said an agreement was struck with the city and Craig Realty, the owner of the Outlets, before the city’s sign ordinance changes were finalized in 2016. Therefore, designs from the original plans could remain in place, so long as they comply with the judge’s requirements for the environmental report.

The report is required under California Environmental Quality Act unless the project were to meet requirements for exemption status.

Members of the public have 30 days to submit comments on the proposed project from April 13. Responses must be sent to Cliff Jones, 910 Calle Negocio, San Clemente, 92642. We will provide as much information as possible so people who want to respond may be informed beforehand.

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comments (3)

  • The City Council has got us in another mess. The City proceeded with development of Vista Hermosa Park with the promise to us that on going maintenance cost would be covered by the tax revenue generated by the Outlet Mall. We need the Outlet Mall to be very successful to avoid shortfalls in the maintenance budget. Unfortunately we are already seeing that occur. The Outlet Mall was delayed due to the recession and extra months of tinkering by the City when plans were finally submitted by the owner, while development Vista Hermosa Park proceeded. Bad timing? There is a small but vocal group that hates the mall, won’t shop there, discourages others from shopping there and would like to see it fail, go dark and be demolished and returned to a vacant tract of land. Not going to happen folks. This group will demand the City Council prevent the Outlet Mall from having any signs facing I-5. God forbid that these signs might attract customers, assure success and provide the tax dollars the City Council promised would cover the maintenance of Vista Hermosa Park. We need the Outlet Mall to be successful and the City Council should approve the sign package to help bring the tax dollars we were told would avoid budget shortfalls. Its amazing that the mall is a few months away from its second year of operation without approved signs. Who knows the City might even find a way to increase Police service if there is money left over from mall tax revenue. .

    • Folks, I do not know this person. Their comments are all over the place and not accurate at all. Seems they have a real estate related motives –

      It may be accurate to say that the Dahl city council era (decades ago) brought us much of the congestion pains we have today and the outlet mall related pains.

      The fact is the Outlet mall has missed all projections even after they had been lowered considerably. The reason the Outlet mall is in this position is because the owners are ignoring hard trends. Outlets were a 70-80s concept that is fading away much like regular malls and stores are. See

      This is attributed to consumers being far more empowered with technology. Today smart consumers spend far more on-line than they do in person. That trend is only increasing as e-commerce continues to globalize. Here is a recent article from Fortune about what stores are doing to deal with what is coined the digital disruption –

      An ocean close outlet is expensive and requires recurring weekly foot traffic to really flourish from a larger population of visitors that even live in our town. This outlet does not have the kind of tenants that will draw weekly foot traffic. What makes it worse is that out of towners will not drive here from the north or south because there are better venues like the Mission Viejo Mall and Carlsbad Outlets which have the same tenants or better ones.

      With regard to signs. The owners seem to have a history of not keeping their agreements and violating state and federal sing related laws. See this article –
      Steve Craig – HMG-CN Exclusive: Citadel Outlet Mall Billboards Violate City And State Laws

      As for the small and vocal group blurb — they are better known as neighbors who live adjacent to the outlet mall that the council from prior decades put next to their homes.

      The last low acumen comment about added revenue is comical and out of just out of touch for a residential city like ours. Retail fluctuates so much that putting hopes on the smidgen of potential revenue for annual services as the commenter suggests is misguided.

      With three prior sign exception proposals in the past already the question residents should be asking is why do we have to go through this with the outlet owners when their former property in Carlsbad, CA is among the most successful with no freeway signage.

      #outletmall #stevecraig #digitaldisruption #signage

  • i like the mall it was built without a subsidization ,, but allowing them to do what others cant is wrong and a subsidization ,, residents first

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