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Lillian Boyd, Dana Point Times

The City of Dana Point released an update on its legal battle with Capistrano Seaside Inn—a neglected hotel property—on Thursday, Nov. 14.

A settlement agreement was reached by which the current owner agreed to allow the court-appointed receiver to sell the property.

The Capistrano Seaside Inn property sits dormant as the property owner and the City of Dana Point engage in a legal battle ahead of any potential improvements to the site. Photo: File

The property along Pacific Coast Highway in Capistrano Beach was constructed around 1930 with some office space and 28 motel rooms. It was regarded as one of the last remaining roadside motels in Dana Point, helping to shape California car culture.

A receiver was court-appointed for the property per the request of the City of Dana Point after significant nuisance complaints and code violations. City staff attempted to work with the property owner over the course of seven months to bring the property into compliance, but after failure to comply with the city’s requests, the city sought the court’s assistance, according to a city press release sent in March.

A receiver acts as a representative in bringing the property into compliance.

Dana Point Times last reported in May that a judge had dismissed the owner of Capistrano Seaside Inn’s bankruptcy claim as a bad-faith claim and that both the City of Dana Point and the motel owner were ordered to have a settlement conference.

“Since the appointment of the receiver, progress to remediate the nuisance conditions at the Seaside Inn has been slower than desired because of the property owner’s objections filed in the legal proceedings and the need to ensure proper legal procedures and formalities are followed,” according to a city statement. “The property owner has been very litigious, and has engaged in a number of tactics designed to delay the process.  Since the Receiver was appointed, the property owner has attempted on at least five occasions to have the receivership terminated.”

Compounding the delays that have occurred, in May the parties reached a settlement by which the property would have been sold to a third party, who would have restored it pursuant to permits that are ready to be issued. 

“Unfortunately, the property owner reneged on the settlement, and the Court has thus far declined to enforce it,” said Patrick Munoz, the city’s attorney.

City staff says that at this time, plans for the repair of the hotel have been prepared, and building permits are ready to be issued. The plans would result in the restoration of the property in a manner that would preserve its historic characteristics. While awaiting implementation of these plans, the court-appointed receiver has been securing the property to guard against trespassers, and ensure the historical characteristics of the property are not further denigrated. 

The next court hearing will be held on Jan. 31, 2020, in department C16 of the Orange County Superior Court in Santa Ana. At that time, the court will have the opportunity to allow the receiver to complete its work, and abate the nuisance conditions at the property.

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Lillian Boyd
Lillian Boyd is the senior editor for Picket Fence Media and city editor for Dana Point Times. She graduated with a degree in journalism from Humboldt State University. Her work experience includes interviewing incarcerated individuals in the Los Angeles County jails, an internship at the Pentagon covering U.S. Army news as well as reporting and anchoring for a local news radio station in Virginia. Follow her on Twitter @Lillianmboyd and follow Dana Point Times at @danapointtimes.

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