San Juan Capistrano's City Council and Redevelopment Agency acted properly when it approved a development deal that would add more than 100 acres to the city's Open Space portfolio, but also allowed a 750,000-square-foot retirement community in the northern part of town, City Attorney Omar Sandoval says in a letter.
Sandoval wrote in response to three homeowners who questioned whether too many of the details of the plan -- which gives the city an option but is not finalized -- were worked out in secrecy, rather than in a public forum.
The development, on 34 acres, is expected to generate $10 million in taxes, which the city would then use to buy 116 acres from the developer, Continuing Life Communities. CLC would buy the 150 acres from Rancho Capistrano.
The letter, from former Mayor Roy Byrnes, Kim Lefner and Jim Reardon, asks the city to set aside the decision and address the issues in open session.
But Sandoval says that's not necessary, because the law allows real-estate discussions in closed session.
Already, though, the residents have responded, with Reardon contending the city misstepped, and the closed-door sessions are supposed to be limited to price and terms of the deal. He says this agreement went far beyond those limits.