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By Allison Jarrell

Another item of interest to San Juan Capistrano residents was agendized for a future meeting by the Parks, Recreation, Senior and Youth Services Commission on Nov. 16—the use of the Rancho Mission Viejo Riding Park, located off of Ortega Highway.

Commissioner Kim McCarthy proposed an agenda item to discuss “a resolution fulfilling the promise made to San Juan Capistrano residents with the passage of the 2008 Measure Y Open Space Bond by providing unrestricted access to all areas of the eastern open space at La Pata and Ortega, with the exception of areas protected by conservation easements.” McCarthy recommends not renewing the Blenheim riding park lease, not leasing to other private companies and instead providing unrestricted access to the property.

The vast majority of residents who spoke on the item during public comment, however, said they already have full access to the park—having picnics on the grounds, seeing horse shows for free and riding through on horseback and bicycle. Other speakers mentioned the high cost of maintaining said property.

The next regularly-scheduled meeting of the Parks, Recreation, Senior and Youth Services is scheduled for 6 p.m. on Monday, Dec. 21 at City Hall, located at 32400 Paseo Adelanto. An agenda has not yet been posted.

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comments (16)

  • The December 21 @ 6PM Parks & Rec meeting should be very interesting. The last time there was an issue involving San Juan Equestrians, there were more than 200 people there to let Council know how passionate people in town are about equestrian issues. I’ve been told that there will be more than 200 Blenheim supporters there on the 21st. Keep in mind that Commissioner McCarthy also hopes to defund the Boys and Girls Club at the same meeting. I’m guessing the B & G Club may have a few supporters there too.

    • it is always helpful when you are able to get your facts correct. But p, then again you are the Sam Steve Behmerwohld that took legally placed signs while in the ASAP uniform and resigned as you took away the residents Civil Rights. Nice.

  • I work at some of the shows at the park and wonder if the residents of the surrounding areas are aware of the economic impact these shows create in these areas……hotels, restaurants, shopping etc. These shows generate a lot of local dollars not to mention the ability of the general public to watch some of the best horses in the world compete at a high level at no charge. I think residents need to take the time to think about the good as well as the bad results of not renewing the lease to Blenheim Equisports.

    • We were sold that we would be purchasing a park that the residents would be able to use as they are the ones that are paying for it.

      If it is such a great piece of property, why does Blenheim not purchase it from the residents ?

  • It seems strange that Kim McCarthy would want to get rid of a group that maintains a public facility that, instead of costing money, provides revenue of over $200,000 per year. I believe she has a hidden agenda.

    • Revenue of that small amount does not offset the principal and interest payments on a 30 million dollar bond for a park that the residents cannot use.

  • Don’t know where you heard that you can’t use the Riding Park. My family and friends have been using it for years. We walk, ride our horses, and my friend walks her dog with me. There is a trail crossing called the “Arizona Crossing” that goes right into the Riding Park. I have always been greeted by grounds people in a friendly manner. Whether there is a horse show going on, soccer matches, or nothing at all, we have always been welcome.
    A few of my friends have said, “We can’t use the Riding Park”. And, when I take them, they have been surprised. It amazes me that so many people believe this.

    • As you are aware Sandie, the Riding Park is not open to the public as it is leased by Blenheim and is only open to the public less than ten days a year. i would love to get a baseball game or flag football game going at the park, but you can’t because it is leased by Blenheim. It would be great to have large families be able to use our park for picnics any time we chose to, but we can’t. Are you aware Sandie that in order to have alcohol at our City owned, thirty million dollar bond park, that you are required to obtain written permission from Rancho Mission Viejo ? It is right there in the Purchase/Sale Agreement.

      The purchase of this land and the subsequent denial of use by the land by the public as the land being leased to a private entity is not what was sold to the public for the bond being sold to purchase the property.

      Can you imagine Sandie, if the public had been told, we want to float a thirty million dollar bond to buy a piece of property that is not in the City limits, would only be able to be used by the public for less than ten days a year, do you think the public would have voted for the open space measure ?

  • Clint,
    I believe that the San Clemente Municipal Golf Course is owned by the City. Try having a picnic on the 17th fairway tomorrow.

    • The difference is, it was not a 30 million dollar bond sold to the residents to purchase open space was it ? The purchase of the golf course was for a specific use. Nowhere in the literature that the SJC residents voted for, did it say that the residents would be able to use this property less than ten days a year. Had full disclosure been made, no one in their right mind would have voted to purchase the property. Just curious, why did the Real Property Negotiator, Brad Gates not complete a Form 700 ? Why was the public left out of full disclosure by Brad Gates ?

      Since you are so knowledgeable regarding the San Clemente golf course, did your research show who the developer was for the surrounding property ?

      • Clint,
        Go walk the trail if you think it is not open to the public.

      • Sandie, we did not purchase a trail, we purchased a park. It was great last night, that the City Attorney identified in his memo that the City Park is only open six times a year for families to enjoy the City Park as they choose.

      • Clint,
        A trail is part of the park and was purchased by the city. Go take a hike. It is beautiful!

  • The Riding Park is open to the public. I use it often. My friends use it. I don’t really know why this false rumor keeps being spread.

    • No false rumors here. You might want to read the license agreement. The City Clerk has the license agreement available for you to review if you wish. This City Park is open to the public to use less than ten days a year. The rest of the time, it is closed to the public as it is leased by Blenheim. Wouldn’t it be great to use a public park as it was intended ? Leasing a public park to a private entity does not accomplish the purpose of a public park.

  • No Kim don’t get rid of our riding park,for a football field and no luxury horse events.We than would be like any other city in orange county.Do you really think that it will be used by only city of San Juan residents,and not out of towners.I remember clint saying this would be used by sendero residents,lol they have there own park across the street.

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