DANA POINT A four-unit duplex project that residents complained was too large and incompatible with their Capistrano Beach neighborhood will be built.
On Tuesday, Sept. 19, the City Council voted 3-1 to reject an appeal by a resident to overturn an earlier Planning Commission approval of the project on Via Verde. Mayor Debra Lewis opposed the project and Councilman John Tomlinson did not vote because he owns property directly across the street.
The project, by Yaqout Investments, includes four detached 2,500-square-foot units with four bedrooms and four-and-a-half bathrooms on two narrow, side-by-side Capistrano Beach lots. A vacant home at the end of a driveway on one lot will be demolished to make way for the project.
Council members told residents at the packed meeting that they struggled with their decision but agreed that the project meets the city’s building code. They said they understood neighbors’ concerns but also had to consider the developer’s rights.
“To me it looks like someone went to a great deal of trouble to make sure it didn’t create more mass, said Mayor Pro Tem Paul Wyatt. “Looks to me like the architect thought a lot about how to make it fit in. We have to use discretion to decide what’s right.”
Dozens of residents spoke at the meeting, held at the Dana Point community center to accommodate the overflow, voicing concerns that the development is too massive and will cause more traffic congestion. They also submitted a petition with 200 signatures.
“We’d like to retain our beach community and reasonable neighborhood,” said Richard Gardner, who spearheaded the appeal. “The approved project does not meet the general plan or the approved urban design guidelines. The Planning Commission did not exercise discretionary review. We’re here from Capo Beach saying this does not fit in our community.”
Mayor Lewis cited sections of the city plan, municipal code and Urban Design Element to support her contention that Gardner’s appeal should be granted and that more discretionary review was justified.
“It is significantly large and takes up the entire two-lot areas,” she said. “When fully occupied, it could have 14 automobiles that…