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Barry Heatherley, San Juan Capistrano

I have been a resident and operated a business, The London Hair Studio, in San Juan Capistrano for more than 25 years. It has not always been easy—the years of 2008, 2009 and 2010 were especially difficult.

We survived, and even prospered. In 2013, we were able to secure a good lease for a new space on Camino Capistrano, north of Del Obispo, right in the commercial sweet spot of San Juan Capistrano. The shop is in the Mercado Village, full of light and fresh air, with the added feature of several on-street parking spaces directly out front. I felt like I had finally made it to Main Street USA.

Then on July 5, without adequate notice or discussion with any of the affected merchants or the property owners, the city dispatched a road crew to eliminate 10 on-street parking spaces that had been enjoyed for years by the customers of the Mercado Village merchants.

I have spoken with San Juan Capistrano officials about this action. Their explanation is incredible. City officials have said the parking changes were necessary to allow the addition of a second northbound traffic lane. This is untrue. No traffic lanes have been added while our businesses have been damaged.

My fellow merchants and I believe that the city should restore the on-street parking to its historical configuration immediately. If the city refuses to restore the traditional parking, then in order to survive, we merchants will have to reorient our business entrances to the back of our shops, rather than the front. This reorientation may involve capital expenses for new signage, drainage, lighting and handicap access. The city has shown no willingness to help with these city-caused expenses. These expenses could be a heavy burden on some of us.

If the city really believes, for some reason, that the on-street parking still needs to be eliminated, then the city should conduct well-publicized public hearings where interested business owners, interested citizens and consumers have an opportunity to provide input to the city planners.

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comments (1)

  • Typical incompetent City of San Juan Capistrano. I even wrote to the new City Manager’s office about important issues and I never even had the common courtesy of a response. All the while many of the City common landscaping areas are completely dying.

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