By Ruth Clark, San Juan Capistrano
Most of the time I find that the things San Juan Capistrano City Councilman Derek Reeve says leave my head spinning and wondering why he dispenses so much misinformation, untruths and insults. His particular take on things has me questioning his agenda.
But even though I disagree with almost everything Mr. Reeve seems to stand for, I have to say I agree with his and Dr. Byrnes’ recent vote against the Urban Village plan for our historic downtown area.
I think the city’s residents and tourists alike feel the same as I do about the importance of our family-oriented activities, concerts, fairs and fiestas held in the Historic Town Center Park and downtown area. Permanent residences bordering the park would likely result in noise concerns and complaints and could potentially curtail future musical performances, annual celebrations and the various fairs and festivals the tens of thousands of people come to San Juan Capistrano to enjoy.
An upscale, large-capacity hotel is very important for San Juan to keep visitors, their tourist dollars and taxes here. People come to our quaint little town—that’s over 200 years old—from all over the world to visit the Mission, petting zoo, the boutiques along Los Rios Street, the antique mall, Camino Real Playhouse, the adobes and other historic buildings.
But then they stay in Dana Point at the Ritz-Carlton, St. Regis and Laguna Cliffs Marriott. The Residence Inn and Best Western hotels really can’t compete with those luxury accommodations. While we have a lot that keep tourists coming, we could probably create more points of interest—like some of what the planners of the Urban Village group had in mind—to make sure that San Juan Capistrano remains a major tourist destination. We still have to keep our little town just as special as it’s always been.
Think of what we have here in our famous little town: the train station, horse stables, hiking and horseback riding trails, world-class rodeos, the famous Swallow’s Inn, the newly remodeled Regency movie theater, many wonderful restaurants, The Coach House with great music, local wineries, a beautiful regional library (designed by the renowned architect Michael Graves), a golf course and dozens of unique shops and several historic landmarks.
A trolley or tram service would be fun and useful for the downtown area that would benefit tourists and locals alike—park your car once and walk or ride the tram to places of interest, shops and restaurants. This would make downtown and points beyond more accessible for the older senior citizens and disabled people, as some places are not within easy walking distance. I’m sure there are many more ideas out there and I find it difficult to believe that San Juan Capistrano cannot support a first-class, luxury hotel without permanent housing.