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Order to Block Park Project on Disputed Coastal Strip Denied

Times Staff Writer

An Orange County court commissioner Tuesday refused to issue a temporary restraining order that would have stopped the Laguna Niguel Community Services District from turning 26.8 acres of land on the coast of Dana Point into a public park.

The Capistrano Bay Parks and Recreation District sought the injunction to block the Laguna Niguel district from developing Sea Terrace Community Park.

Orange County Superior Court Commissioner Eleanor M. Palk scheduled a hearing for Oct. 12 on a preliminary injunction to stop the park development.

In July, the Laguna Niguel services district voted to take control of the large, undeveloped park. Board members said they were exercising their right to claim the land under a 7-year-old agreement between Orange County and a developer who plans to build a resort hotel complex next to the park.

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In the lawsuit filed Tuesday, the Capistrano Bay district claims that the park will not meet the needs of Dana Point residents if the Laguna Niguel district is allowed to develop it. The Capistrano Bay district has asked the county’s Local Agency Formation Commission to extend its boundaries to include Sea Terrace Community Park.

The park is in the coastal area that is at the center of a court battle between Laguna Niguel cityhood activists and the soon-to-be incorporated Dana Point.

In April, Laguna Niguel cityhood activists sued LAFCO, which reviews incorporation proposals, seeking to nullify the agency’s decision to include the strip in Dana Point’s incorporation election. Voters in Dana Point, Capistrano Beach and the disputed strip voted in June to incorporate as the city of Dana Point, effective Jan. 1, 1989.

The Laguna Niguel activists say the coastal area is a vital part of their planned community and should have been awarded to Laguna Niguel. Their suit is pending in Orange County Superior Court.

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The coastal strip, sandwiched between Dana Point and South Laguna, includes the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel hotel, which generates $2.5 million in annual tax revenues.


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