By Shelley Bachelder, San Juan Capistrano
I’ve been enjoying Don Tryon’s articles about the history of San Juan, including the two he’s written recently about past hotels in our town. What’s irritating me is that he’s using these stories as a way of showing that he thinks a new downtown hotel would be just as fitting today as the ones that were here 50 and 100 years ago. The problem with that comparison is that a development as massive as what Urban Village is proposing is not in any way comparable to the two-story hotels he writes about from the late 1800s and mid-1900s. In 1867, 1875 and 1920, the population here was very small, and the town was able to support the small numbers of visitors coming to those hotels at that time.
Urban Village is proposing a three-story, 136-room hotel with a two-level parking garage, a spa, a restaurant, retail shopping space, as well as a 30-unit, three-story housing component and is expected to add 1,662 daily vehicle trips to our small downtown. We already have traffic gridlock in this town as it is. The impact that this kind of hotel would create today in that location would be a disaster for us all if the City Council approves it.