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Jerry Nieblas, San Juan Capistrano, Janice Pickartz, Dana Point

The Capistrano Historical Alliance Committee vehemently opposes development of a hotel and townhomes next to Historic Town Center Park. As most of you know, CHAC is dedicated and committed to preserving the historical integrity of San Juan Capistrano.

Developers have money and back room deals can be made, but history and preservation should never be for sale, never. We remind you that San Juan Capistrano is the birthplace of Orange County. Let your actions of support towards the referendum be a message to the developers that San Juan Capistrano cannot be bought. We ask you to protect this land. The hotel and townhomes would desecrate one of the most important and historically sensitive sites in San Juan Capistrano. We are not our ancestors. Those ancestors had to stand silent while the land was violated. Hear our voices. The historical families that descended from pre-Mission, early California Rancho, European and Hispanic families have ties to this site. It was part of the early Mission plaza area. The Mission constructed adobe homes and later a Forster home and the Las Rosas/Nieblas family home and restaurant. When a local developer destroyed the Las Rosas, the community was given a huge wake-up call to begin their efforts to preserve the Mission, historical buildings, landmarks, etc. that were important to the historical families.

With a deep respect for the history of San Juan Capistrano, we stand behind our mission statement. And as most of you know, CHAC will use whatever means necessary to be heard. The historical families and community need you to support their opposition to this development, just as we join in the thousands who opposed the Laguna Glen project. We respectfully ask you to really think about these next few questions. How does the developer get to come in and destroy whatever is in its path? When will all of you realize how fast our small town atmosphere is vanishing right in front of our eyes? What will it take to help you see how wrong this hotel and townhomes plan is for our town? The City Council has the ability to accept the referendum and protect history in San Juan Capistrano. Please do just that; protect our history.

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comments (16)

  • Well said, Jerry.

  • Thank you, Jerry, for vowing to protect and preserve our treasured historical resources that makes San Juan Capistrano so special. I am most concerned about the structural damage that developer acknowledges is a possibility in their own report submitted to the City, and the service road proposed to be right next to the Egan House:

    POTENTIAL DAMAGE TO EGAN HOUSE AND ESSLINGER — Page 78 of Urban Village Mitigated Negative Declaration, March 7, 2014, regarding the two historical buildings, Esslinger and Egan House: “However, due to their close proximity to the project, direct and indirect effects from construction vibration or differential settlement may have the potential to harm the physical structure and diminish the structural integrity of the two historical resources.”

    SERVICE ROAD ON CAMINO CAPISTRANO — Developer Site Plan identifies the alley between Egan House and hotel restaurant building as the Service Road for the hotel, shops and restaurant; a one-way alley fronting Camino Capistrano that dead ends, and is steps away from the El Adobe crosswalk. Imagine the delivery/dumpster trucks backing up onto Camino Capistrano to exit service road and stopping traffic. Also imagine trash dumpsters in plain view along Camino Capistrano and right next to the iconic Egan House.

    The residents are most grateful to you and the Capistrano Historical Alliance Committee for your efforts to ensure our historical buildings are protected. Our General Plan also strives to maintain the historical integrity of our City, yet the developer is fighting the legality of this critical land use document. Surely, the Urban Village Hotel and Townhomes do not conform to the vision and intent of the General Plan.

    City of San Juan Capistrano General Plan Preamble:

    “The underlying philosophy of the General Plan should be to preserve the present character of a small village-like community with abundant open space. A community that recognizes the contributions of its historic and cultural foundations is in harmony with its natural valley-like setting, as defined by its creeks and ridgelines, and strives to embrace unique solutions to issues that may arise in the future to ensure that this vision continues to be carried forth for future generations.”

  • Thank you Jerry. This is why 100’s of residents showed up at the city council meeting, volunteers carried picket signs, still more volunteers sat for hours in front of grocery stores to gather signatures to HALT the developers. The community is paying attention now.

    The proposed demolition of a brick building near the proposed Hotel project site will result in considerable seismic activity by using jackhammers, bull dozers and dump trucks to haul away the debris.
    The nearby Egan House was constructed in 1863, over 105 year ago, using terra cotta bricks as a structural element. At that time unenforced masonry was commonly used for construction of multi story buildings. Without structural steel holding the soft bricks together, any nearby seismic activity could seriously damage the structure of the Egan House.
    Before a demolition permit is issued by the City of San Juan Capistrano, an engineering study of how to mitigate seismic shock transmitted through the soil to the Egan House as a result of the demolition activity together with the loading and hauling of heavy concrete and brick material needs, to be evaluated by seismic engineers in a formal study. Without an adequate study the precious Egan House could be permanently damaged by nearby seismic activity.
    Therefore, I propose to delay the issuance of any permit to demolish any structure in the vicinity of the Egan House until an engineering study is conducted that documents the risks involved and defines methods to mitigate possible damage to the Egan House.

    • Studies should be done in the ENTIRE area…..well said, John Perry.

    • It sounds as if the current owner of the Egan house should be required to undertake some extensive and expensive seismic retrofitting. This is an earthquake prone region and if Mr. Perry’s description of the buildings susceptibility to earthquakes is correct, this poses an unacceptable risk to one of SJC’s cultural treasurers. Not to mention the potential for loss of life if an earthquake struck while the building was occupied or passersby that could be struck by falling building material. Who owns that property?

    • Wow, great statement, John! This is absolutely true! I’m sure San Juan residents are greatly concerned of all of the damage that will occur to the cases of beer & liquor, smelly bags, drug paraphernalia, and blankets, the homeless people have, who pass out, defecate and live on the steps and deck of the Egan house. Perhaps that jackhammer you refer to will actually waken the loiterers for once after years of neglect to the Egan house. I’m so very happy to hear that “preserving the Egan house” is suddenly a concern. Cheers!

  • Clint Worthington

    This project is not a fit for our town as this story attests to and more than 2,500 signatures presented to the City Clerk to qualify for a referendum.

  • There are several locations in and around this”demolition” area that are very historically sensitive sites. All could be compromised or destroyed if this “demolition” is allowed to occur. Thorough and complete engineering study needs to be completed on this entire historical site/surrounding area – from Blas Aguilar Adobe to the Egan Home.

    • Mr Nieblas,

      This is off subject but if you could please email me I have recently come across old family documents and I believe through my little bit of research we might be related thruough Maria B Cota.

  • Yet more proof that the developers have no clue about the historical treasures of San Juan Capistrano. DO your homework/research BEFORE even mentioning the word “demolition”.

  • Please attend the City Council meeting this Tuesday, January 20th, and speak on behalf of the preservation of our historical resources! It is so important that your voices are heard, not just the “friends” of Urban Village developer!

  • The project does not fit the town history. congestion will only increase ,unless road/street traffic is re-programmed.

  • Well said, Jerry. Thank you.

  • this project is inappropriate for San Juan Capistrano

Comments are closed.