Bonds Suggested to Help Buy Open Space

A $15-million plan to issue bonds so the city can buy open space will go on the November ballot if the City Council gives its consent tonight to the proposal.

The money would be set aside to buy open space anywhere it became available within the city, but many residents and council members are focused on an enclave of houses and condominiums on the Dana Point Headlands.

Councilman Harold R. Kaufman, who proposed the ballot measure, said the city should buy the high-priced bluff-top homes over several years, as their owners sell them. Then the city, he said, eventually "would be able to tear them down and return the sites to natural open space. This would not only provide wonderful views for our residents and visitors to enjoy but would provide a very large, environmentally sound area for maintaining the frail coastal environment."

But one neighborhood resident said Kaufman's plan would help most a developer proposing to build a resort next door.

Ed Gallagher, a Save the Headlands committee member, said creating the view corridor could increase the value of the rest of the Headlands, where the landowners propose building a residential and resort complex. Gallagher, whose wife, Councilwoman Toni Gallagher, is a political foe of Kaufman's, said the city could better spend its money on vacant adjoining land, rather than waiting and buying enclave homes as residents sell them--a process that could take years.

Information: (949) 248-9890.

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