Under a 30-year lease agreement with the City of San Juan Capistrano, the San Juan Hills Golf Club will facilitate a new “passive” park at the corner of La Novia Avenue and San Juan Creek Road.
The City Council unanimously approved Tuesday, June 6, the lease and plans for the park that will soon see the planting of a small citrus grove, pollinator garden, boardwalk, planting of three trees, and other features.
The lease calls for the golf club to pay the city $50,000 a year for the 3.3-acre area, which will fund the cost of park maintenance and supplement maintenance of public improvements the city plans to undertake near the park.
The land is owned by the city, currently undeveloped, and intended for park and recreational purposes, the city said in an agenda report.
“For several years, the golf club and the city have been engaged in discussions regarding the golf club’s interest in purchasing or leasing a portion of the northwest portion of city-owned property,” said Matisse Reischl, assistant to the city manager.
The city in the report said the leased area, which is adjacent to current golf club property, would be utilized by the golf club for future course improvements to be “reviewed separately pursuant to standard City process.”
Approval of the proposed lease would “not bind the City Council to any future approvals related to the golf club’s forthcoming submittals,” according to the report.
A 20-year extension is available on the lease, Reischl said.
“The provision of the lease would be for the golf club at their cost to construct the passive park at the northwest corner,” Reischl said. “There would be a 30-day period following lease execution for the golf club to obtain permits, 90 days following to begin construction, and 180 days to complete construction.”
Councilmember John Taylor thanked the golf course for “all the work they put in over the years.”
“It’s been quite a journey, and we’re finally just about here,” Taylor said. “It’s going to be a great park and great opportunity for the golf club to move on with their plans. The golf club has become a big part of the community, so it’s a great asset to have in our town.”
Mayor Howard Hart also said the park will be a “great attribute to the community and to the neighborhood I live in.”
“I think it’s going to be such an attractive feature of our community, and I think people are really going to appreciate it when it’s done,” Hart said. “I really look forward to it.”
“It took a long time,” Hart continued. “It took a lot of perseverance, and probably over a dozen years for this to get done with all the effort and heartache and setbacks and delays and questions and restarts and pandemics and everything else—but we’re here.”