SUPPORT THIS INDEPENDENT JOURNALISM
The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why The Capistrano Dispatch is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.
By Alex Groves
The city’s Design Review Committee will be meeting twice a month instead of once a month after the city council unanimously approved the change during its Aug. 7 meeting.
The committee will also no longer be receiving detailed staff reports on the projects but rather a verbal staff presentation with an accompanying checklist that shows a proposed project is consistent with the city’s design guidelines.
The item was brought before the council at the suggestion of City Councilman Derek Reeve who said he wanted to streamline the process to make it easier for development applicants to get their projects completed.
“Recently we’ve had a couple of incidences where the bureaucracy, the regulation of the Design Review Committee actually created such frustration and delays that we actually had applicants literally withdraw projects or even get to the point where they have to consider the withdrawal of a project and we’re talking about rather simple projects, by the way, such as signs, just because the delay cost them money. Time is money.”
Reeve said that because the Design Review Committee meets only once a month, if a project was sent back to the committee by the planning commission it could result in that project being delayed for a month or two months more.
City Councilwoman Kerry Ferguson expressed concerns about eliminating the written staff report, saying that she frequently read the reports to see whether she needed to attend a meeting or watch it online later.
“I suppose there are one or two other people who do that as well so I’d hate to see the written report eliminated because I think it serves a purpose,” she said.
City Manager Ben Siegel noted that though the written staff reports would be condensed into a checklist, the plans themselves would still be included in an agenda put out in advance of a meeting.