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LARRY NORTH & MARILYN WITT, San Juan Capistrano

Do not let the SJC City Council give a Conditional Use Permit and Discretionary Use Permit (they’d need to give both!) to the owners of the building currently housing Marie Callender’s restaurant to allow the property to put in a traffic-nightmare, fast-feeder burger joint (In-N-Out)!

The City Council does not have to allow this. It is not a property right of the owner of that property to put in just any sort of business. This was put in place in 2009 by the (then) City Council, in order to protect the historic downtown from new fast-feeder restaurants destroying the city’s charm and heritage.

Having now enjoyed living in San Juan Capistrano for over 22 years, which is absolutely the longest time we’ve ever lived in any single city, we have seen a steady decline in being able to navigate toward the ‘burger boulevard’ part of our city, including downtown. It was OK when the Caltrans re-design of the Ortega/Camino Capistrano corner changed the patterns, eliminating one fast feeder, and making the on-ramps to the I-5 and travel toward Ladera Ranch and Rancho Mission Viejo better.

But then Chick-fil-A and Target arrived and wrecked all that had been improved. It absolutely stinks going that way down Camino Capistrano now, and I’m finding myself more frequently turning southward, heading toward Dana Point and Ocean Ranch when we need to grocery shop, get hardware, and frequent restaurants. Is that what you in the City Council want—that your residents avoid driving toward the downtown area because navigating there is nothing but a headache?

We promise to forever “go west” when we leave our neighborhood, skipping doing business with the downtown merchants, movie theatre, restaurants, etc., and take our cash to another city. We used to like what the city was doing to improve the look, feel, heritage; we have a hard time saying that lately. Please say “no” to the In-N-Out development/building that is being considered.  We deserve and can do better . . . or we’ll just take our business elsewhere.

Featured photo: Caroline Culler/Wikimedia Commons

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