By Emily Rasmussen
At a special meeting on Monday, June 11, San Juan Capistrano City Council adopted two ordinances that push forward development at Vermeulen Ranch off of Del Obispo Street.
Vermeulen Ranch, a 35-acre parcel of land owned by the longtime, farming Vermeulen family aiming to sell the land, has been sought after by Spieker Senior Development to build on it for years. Between back-and-forth proposals with the city, a lawsuit developed and on May 15, Spieker offered to remove claims from the city if the Council approved a zoning plan that representative Troy Bourne brought forth to the Council at that meeting.
The Council approved the first readings of the zoning proposal, the Farm Specific Plan, which would allow for the property to be developed into a residential community of up to 180 single-family units, a 0.5-acre park and a public trail leading from Del Obispo Street to Via Positiva. In addition, the Council approved the introduction and first reading of the development agreement ordinance.
At the June 11 meeting, the Council passed the second reading of the two ordinances and adopted them, 4-1, with Councilmember Pam Patterson opposed.
“It’s not realistic anymore to expect that this land is not going to be developed, we as citizens have a voice in what this development becomes,” resident Sue Turner said. “We need to come together and put this divisiveness behind us, our city’s special and we have a special piece of land that is one of the last historical agricultural lands in San Juan.”