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By Alex Groves 

The San Juan Capistrano City Council on Monday, Nov. 5, voted unanimously to reject an appeal of approved modifications to the Plaza Banderas Hotel project, also known as the Inn at The Mission.

The changes, approved by the city’s planning commission earlier this year, included splitting an entry driveway to allow traffic into and out of the hotel; moving the location of a swimming pool; and moving the location of a parking area.

An appeal filed by Charles Krolikowski of the Save our Mission Foundation asserted that small changes over time had accumulated to make the Plaza Banderas into a different project than what was initially approved in 2010.

As such, Krolikowski argued, the project needed to go through further California Environmental Quality Act reviews.

Dan Friess, project applicant, argued that the changes being appealed were very small in nature and noted that Krolikowski had been a detractor since the project’s inception.

“No project in San Juan Capistrano history has received more scrutiny or had more public meetings than ours,” Dan Friess said.

Rick Friess, legal counsel for developer Mission Commercial, argued that an extensive environmental impact report had already been conducted and that the changes being appealed are the kind that development projects frequently anticipate.

“As you finish your drawings, there will be tweaks here and there,” Rick Friess said. “That doesn’t change the environmental impacts.”

Acting on staff’s recommendation, the city council denied the appeal and upheld the planning commission’s decision.

Krolikowski indicated an intent to file suit against the approved changes and combine that with an existing lawsuit.

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