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Aliso project won’t have committee

The City Council won’t have a subcommittee working on the development agreement for the Aliso Creek Inn and Golf Course project after all.

The appointment of a subcommittee was pulled from Tuesday’s agenda by City Manager Ken Frank.

“It was on the agenda of the last meeting,” Frank said. “It is back on the agenda tonight.

“But things happened. People objected, and I can’t find a council member who thinks it is a good idea.”

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The idea was to appoint a subcommittee made up of elected council members to work with city staff and representatives of developer Athens Group on parameters for a development agreement.

This was similar to the process in the redevelopment of Treasure Island into the Montage Resort & Spa some years ago by the same company.

Council members Wayne Peterson and Paul Freeman served on the Treasure Island subcommittee, which produced a memo of understanding for the project.

Mayor Toni Iseman and Councilman Kelly Boyd had participated in discussions with the Athens Group and staff on options under considerations for the Aliso project.

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Frank had recommended that the Iseman-Boyd subcommittee continue, but with a broader mission.

The item was continued from the May 1 meeting at the request of Jeanie Bernstein, who said she represented the South Laguna Civic Assn.

“I was asked to say by Bill Rihn [association president] that the item was not properly noticed,” Bernstein said.

The subcommittee proposal was roundly criticized in the community.

In a letter to the Coastline Pilot published May 11, resident Charlotte Masarik wrote, “The city and the City Council needs to recognize that appointing themselves to a subcommittee to oversee this development will only invite criticism of favoritism at best and skullduggery at worst.”

The decision Tuesday not to appoint a subcommittee leaves the staff to do the negotiating with the developers, with oversight by the full council.

The project will also have to pass muster with the California Coastal Commission.

In any case, the three-foot-high application was not deemed complete by the staff and a list of about 40 items that need to be included has been prepared, Frank said.

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Frank estimated it would take Athens Group about four months to complete the application.

“My recommendation was, at best, premature, if not totally useless,” Frank said.


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