By Collin Breaux | Email: cbreaux@picketfencemedia.com | Twitter: @collin_breaux

The San Juan Capistrano City Council approved a cost sharing and cooperative agreement with the City of Dana Point for an improvement project along Stonehill Drive and also for San Juan’s future skateboard park during a meeting on Tuesday, July 21.

Potential traffic concerns along Stonehill Drive and at the intersection of Stonehill Drive and Del Obispo Street were identified during the environmental review process for the Ganahl Lumber Project on which the City of San Juan Capistrano has been working. The traffic areas are generally in Dana Point, and “for several months” staff from both cities have reportedly worked together to discuss potential traffic mitigation for both areas, an agenda report said. Additional opportunities to collaborate on San Juan’s skate park were also brought up.

“We identified the option to improve Stonehill in the easterly direction from Del Obispo to Camino Capistrano, the way everyone goes to the freeway in the morning,” San Juan Capistrano Assistant City Manager Charlie View said when discussing the agreement. Photos: Collin Breaux.

The agreement would be effective only after land sale of the Lower Rosan Ranch property from San Juan to Ganahl Lumber is completed. The sale is expected to come to the council for consideration in September.

“We identified the option to improve Stonehill in the easterly direction from Del Obispo to Camino Capistrano, the way everyone goes to the freeway in the morning,” Assistant City Manager Charlie View said. “We identified that as a project that would benefit both cities and alleviate traffic congestions in the actual roadway itself, as well as the intersection. The overall project estimated cost is about $1.3 million. That estimate is by the City of Dana Point.”

Dana Point would be the lead agency on the project. A third lane could be added in the eastbound direction on Stonehill Drive under the project, generally between Del Obispo and the I-5 freeway, according to the agenda report.

San Juan Mayor Troy Bourne said anything the city can do to facilitate more access to the freeway that doesn’t involve people going through downtown on Del Obispo to Ortega Highway is an investment he’s excited about making. The Del Obispo/Ortega intersection is considered a key entry point to downtown San Juan, particularly when coming off the freeway, and will be the site of a landscaping beautification project.

“Widening the path to the freeway anywhere other than Del Obispo and Ortega is a good investment,” Bourne said.

The agreement identifies a share of $445,000 of the total project cost to the City of San Juan Capistrano, and under the agreement, San Juan would contribute $400,000 as payment to the project. The remaining $45,000 would be applied as Dana Point’s investment for construction of the future skate park project in San Juan.

“The skate park has been thought to be located in the location of the sports park and The Ecology Center, and that is in very close proximity to the city of Dana Point,” View said. “Dana Point has readily agreed that is a mutually beneficial project also. They have agreed to spend $25,000 a year towards maintenance of the skateboard project when that is constructed.”

The Dana Point City Council separately approved the agreement on July 21, according to a staff report that went to their council.

“The City of Dana Point looks forward to working with San Juan Capistrano on all of these items and many more in the future that are of interest and importance to both communities,” the staff report said.

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