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Ann Romano, Capo Cares, Capistrano Beach

Further to Mr. Simmons’ letter in last week’s Dana Point Times, we want to clear up any confusion that may still exist about the proposed use of the lower bluff area of Pines Park. On Jan. 11, 2017, Capo Cares held a community meeting to explore the possibility of restoring Lower Pines Park. Formerly featuring an amphitheater and bluff-side promenade, this area was abandoned by the county roughly 50 years ago and today is an unsightly “dustbowl” that is slowly eroding down the cliff.

In the interests of restoring this area to public use, we approached the Architectural Guild of South Orange County, which generously researched and prepared a beautiful conceptual design on a pro bono basis. The design considers two options for ADA access—a series of ramps down the slope, or, the community favorite, a beautiful bridge over the adjacent gully which would link all three sections of the park via a walking trail, opening up further coastal vistas.

Our initial thought was that this inaccessible park land be used for a dog zone, which would have been appreciated by the many dog owners who patronize the park on a daily basis, as there are no leash-free areas in Capo Beach parks. However, in sharing the design concept with the community, it became clear that most residents supported the idea of restoring the park, but many felt that its unique historical heritage and breathtaking views were simply too amazing to be used as a dog park.

After hearing their thoughts, we had to agree that if the city does restore the park as suggested, it should be reserved for general public use. Also, in consideration of the large, dog-owning constituency in our community, we asked that consideration be given to locating a dog zone at another location within Capo Beach.

Capo Cares wishes to express our sincere appreciation to Cindy Fleming, Jim Pekarske and Bob LaCoss of the Architectural Guild for their research and the thoughtful design that we hope will form the basis for this restoration. At last week’s Council meeting, we asked the mayor to place the Guild’s presentation on a future agenda and that a study be conducted as part of the upcoming comprehensive review planned by the city’s parks and recreation department, to determine the feasibility of the lower bluff restoration at Pines Park.

We will keep the community informed of further developments.

Capo Cares is a non-partisan, community advocacy group with the sole purpose of improving and maintaining aesthetics, safety and quality of life in our beautiful coastal community. Please email us at or LIKE our Facebook page at

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