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Aliso redevelopment put on hold

The city is stymied on the environmental impact report for Aliso Creek Redevelopment Area.

More information and more money are needed for the report to be completed, City Manager Ken Frank said.

“It is a huge EIR, and we still don’t have a couple of pieces the developer needs to provide, such as the color renderings for a Design Review Board hearing,” Frank said. “Just little pieces so the consultant can finish the report.” And the money in the trust fund to pay for the consultant has been exhausted. It has to be replenished.

Athens Group spokeswoman Joan Gladstone said no deadline has been set to provide either the information or the funding.

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“We won’t continue working on it until the trust fund is replenished and the necessary information provided,” Frank said.

Frank said the city had been advised that Athens Group was downsizing its staff, which could be the cause of delays.

“Right now even billionaires are hanging onto their money,” Frank said. “It’s as bad as ever, ever, ever.”

However, Gladstone said neither staff reductions nor the proposed rehabilitation of Aliso Creek are factors.

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The Athens Group proposal encompasses the existing golf course and inn; the Aliso Lots formerly called Driftwood Estates, the Aliso Heights parcel, known as the Esslinger parcel and 251 acres of dedicated open space.

Environmental groups and activists have opposed the project, which includes a residential component they feel violates the integrity of Aliso Canyon. The project was endorsed by the Laguna Beach Taxpayers Assn.

A concept plan was made public at a meeting in October 2005 at City Hall.

After refining the plan was submitted to the city in 2007.



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