By Allison Jarrell
A group of San Juan Capistrano citizens opposed to the recently-approved San Juan Hotel and Villas is set to legally challenge the project next week, according to the group’s legal representation.
Referred to as “Save Our Historic Town Center,” the group plans to file a petition challenging the development’s recent San Juan Capistrano City Council approval in Orange County Superior Court on Monday, Dec. 8, according to attorney Heather Minner of the San Francisco-based law firm Shute, Mihaly & Weinberger.
On Friday, Minner sent a letter addressed to the council and Joshua Host, principal of developer Urban Village, announcing the impending suit. Minner confirmed to The Dispatch Friday afternoon that she’ll be representing the “Save Our Historic Town Center” group, which is requesting the Superior Court review and reverse the City Council’s decision to approve the hotel and villas project.
The group challenging the project contends the council’s recent approvals violate state planning and zoning law, the Subdivision Map Act and the city’s municipal code, claiming the project is “inconsistent with the City of San Juan Capistrano General Plan.”
The letter continues that the city should consider the suit prior to permitting any project work or issuing further permits or approvals.
After years of working with the city, the Urban Village project was finally approved by the City Council around 3 a.m. on Nov. 19, following about five hours of presentations, public comment and debate.
The development will be operated by Kimpton Hotels & Restaurants and include commercial, hotel and residential uses on a 3.17-acre site in the heart of the historic town center. Thirty single-family homes will be situated near the 136-room boutique hotel, which will include a fitness center, lounge, restaurant, swimming pool and spa.
At a November Coffee Chat meeting at the Mission Grill, Host said the hotel will take 12 months to build, with the villas completed in multiple phases. He anticipates a June 2016 opening if all goes as planned.
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