City sells 3.2-acres of Capistrano Beach land, once slated for a park, to local nonprofit

The city approved the sale of 3.2 acres in Capistrano Beach to the Charitable Light Foundation for $3.625 million. The property, located at 26351 and 26315 Via Canon, can be seen in this aerial view. It includes the open space between the neighborhood and the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Interstate 5. Google Earth image.
The city approved the sale of 3.2 acres in Capistrano Beach Tuesday to the Charitable Light Foundation for $3.625 million. The property, located at 26351 and 26315 Via Canon, can be seen in this aerial view. It includes the open space between the neighborhood and the intersection of Pacific Coast Highway and Interstate 5. Google Earth image.

By Andrea Papagianis

After a unanimous September vote to sell two vacant Capistrano Beach parcels, the Dana Point City Council agreed wholly again Tuesday, approving a $3.625 million cash deal with a local nonprofit for the 3.2-acres, falling short of the original $3.75 million offer.

Three housing developers and the Capistrano Beach-based Charitable Light Foundation made pitches to the council in November for the properties at 26351 and 26315 Via Canon. That night, the council voted 3-2, with councilmen Bill Brough and Carlos Olvera dissenting, directing staff to negotiate with the foundation. Charitable Light owns two adjacent properties.

There was no discussion on the matter Tuesday night.

The properties were acquired by the city in 1993 when it merged with the Capo Bay Parks and Recreation District. The district purchased the land for park use, but it has sat vacant since 1998 when two homes on were demolished. The properties were never rezoned to reflect open-space or parks and no improvements were made to make it such, allowing the city to dispose of it under state laws, city staff said.

Capo Beach residents, who have unofficially used the land as a park for years, made their case before the council at meetings past. Residents raised concerns over big developments and losing a precious resource.

At a meeting last month, the foundation’s director Craig Stirling quelled some fears. He promised residents his organization’s intent was to protect the land, clean it up and create a prayer garden and orchards for all to visit. Stirling expressed interest in placing a deed restriction on the land, limiting development to just six housing units, down from the 42 zoned now.

The foundation could enter Escrow as soon as Monday, said City Manager Doug Chotkevys. Upon closing, Charitable Light will deposit $3.625 million into the city’s coffers.

Currently there are no development plans for the land, but in its initial offer, the foundation said it would consider building a chapel and homes for women and the elderly.

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