[UPDATE:] Measure A: "Land Grab" Development in San Clemente Gets Voted Down

Chasen Marshall/OC Weekly
Signs from both sides were scattered throughout SC.
​UPDATE, APRIL 26, 9:25 A.M.: A couple of parties who were for the Playa del Norte development at North Beach in San Clemente, filed a lawsuit on April 8, alleging that the March 8 ballot, which included the Measure A referendum, had a few irregularities.

The suit was filed by Shaheen and Linda Sadeghi, and a local resident, who believe the referendum had irregularities that affected how Measure A was read and understood by the voters. The irregularities included "the ballot title, an impartial analysis of the question in a voter information pamphlet and the way the measure was presented," according to an OC Register story. The lawsuit aims to overturn the referendum.

ORIGINAL POST, MARCH 9, 8:00 A.M.: There's been quite an uproar in Orange County's southern-most city in regard to what one observer called a blatant attempt at a "land grab" of public property. In question was whether to move forward on a proposed redevelopment plan on 50,000 square feet of oceanfront property near the Metrolink station and the Ole Hanson Beach Club. Proposed in 2004, the final decision sat with San Clemente voters.

By early evening on Tuesday, the "No On A" group was celebrating its victory as numbers came in at an astoundingly favorable margin. By night's end, 57.7 percent of voters said "No" to the proposed LAB Holding development, "Playa del Norte," which would have included shops, restaurants and office spaces. It would also have relocated a portion of the beach parking as far as one-quarter mile away.

LAB Holding is the same group that built the LAB anti-mall and the Camp in Costa Mesa. The group had invested considerable time and effort to present a development that suited the area, maintaining the Spanish Colonial style--red-tile roof and all.

Chasen Marshall/OC Weekly
Had the public voted in favor of Measure A, the project still faced final approval from the city and the Coastal Commission. 

The outcry from San Clemente residents stemmed from the nature of how the land came to be offered to the developer. The land was seized through eminent domain in 1970 for public use as beach access and parking. To then turn around and sell the property at a discounted price--believed to be around $1 million--to a commercial developer did not strike a harmonious chord with the public.

Whether LAB Holding plans to take further steps to appeal the vote or somehow pursue the project is unknown. Calls to the company's founder and director of development were not returned.
LAB Holding
What could have been: an artist rendition of the proposed project, Playa del Norte.

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