By Ann Romano

Capo Cares—a community group organized to give Capistrano Beach residents and business owners a collective voice in local governmental affairs—is pleased to report that our efforts at the June 16 City Council meeting, while not 100 percent successful, got us part way to our goals for Doheny Village. Here is the status of each of our proposals:

Accelerated Timeline for DV Plan – Council endorsed staff’s timeline with the proviso that they would work hard to try to “beat the timeline.” We’re disappointed that it will take 18 months to get to the California Coastal Commission—we wanted 12 months—but if the extra time gets us a bullet-proof plan that will easily pass the Coastal Commission (as Town Center did), it may be worth it.

Form a Steering Committee – This was not specifically dealt with, but it appears obvious that it will be necessary to form a committee of, or at least consult with, key stakeholders to get this done.

Monitor Planning Process – Council agreed to monitor progress via monthly updates from the Community Development Department until the DV plan is completed. We applaud this as a good tool to keep the plan on track.

Fully Fund the Plan and Create Reserves – Council did not act on this, but did recognize the need for funding and we suspect it will be addressed at future meetings. Money will be needed to move the process forward. The good news with Doheny Village, unlike Town Center, is that much of the infrastructure cost is expected to be recovered via developer impact fees.

Budget for Immediate Cleaning, Landscaping and Lighting – A motion was passed asking staff to create a budget for some emergency first aid on Doheny Park Road and Pacific Coast Highway to Palisades.

Direct the Police Chief to Create a Viable Public Safety Plan for DV – A motion was passed asking the Chief of Police Lt. Russ Chilton to determine specific steps the Sheriff’s Department can take to address crime and nuisances in the area. Capo Cares subsequently met with Chilton onsite to discuss ideas for improvement, and significant progress was made. The Chief will soon be starting bi-monthly “Coffee with the Chief” public gatherings at Donut World to facilitate ongoing communication with residents and businesses. In addition, the Chief will approach the Chamber of Commerce and request that they hold a community forum to allow businesses and police to work constructively to prevent some of the nuisances and crime in the area.

Capo Cares is grateful to Councilman Scott Schoeffel, who got the ball rolling by raising our issues for discussion at the last City Council meeting. For a while it looked as if the council was going to ignore our proposals and close the meeting. We are also grateful to Mayor Carlos Olvera, who consistently raised the issue of immediate improvements in the area. We are most appreciative of our members who spoke, wrote letters and joined with us in our efforts. We believe our concerns were heard and look forward to real progress in Doheny Village. We recently met with Cindy Nelson, the city’s new economic development manager, and are very impressed with both her extensive background and her dedication to seeing the Doheny Village Plan through to prompt completion. We encourage residents to stay informed and continue to actively participate in the planning process and ensure the plan stays on track. Subscribe to our email list at capocares@gmail.com and “Like” us on Facebook www.facebook.com/capocares.

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