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San Clemente Journal

Downtown Visioning & Strategic Plan Process

May 05, 2005 02:42PM ● By Don Kindred

    Visioning is a process by which a community articulates its desired future, culminating in the formation of a strategic plan that serves as an implementation tool. For the past year, the City of San Clemente has been involved in such a process, reviewing land use and urban design policies for downtown San Clemente. 
    The Downtown Vision and Strategic Plan process was first identified in the 2001-2002 Long-Term Financial Plan, which recognized a need for sustainability and growth in a rapidly changing environment. Four areas of the downtown district would be focused upon: infrastructure, land use policy, marketing and design.
    As part of this process, the City Council created a Downtown Task Force with members representing the Council, Planning Commission, Chamber of Commerce, Downtown Business Association, Historical Society and the community at-large. A consulting team of Moore, Iacofano, and Goltsman, Inc. and Economic and Planning Systems, both of Berkeley, CA, were hired to manage the project.
    The Vision Plan was the first document released, detailing the direction and priorities for growth into the future. It also defined the downtown boundary, delineating the downtown district as the following five sub-areas: North Beach, North El Camino Real, the T-Zone, South El Camino Real and the Pier Bowl. 
    After two successful community workshops, where members of the public contributed to the process by discussing their visions for each sub-area, the Vision was further refined and a series of strategies for each sub-area were formed. An economic assessment of San Clemente, as well as a Key Resources memo, helped to ensure that the City’s vision would be economically viable and feasible in today’s market by identifying market conditions and funding sources.
    The draft Strategic Plan was recently unveiled to the Downtown Task Force at their March 23, 2005 meeting. Some of the key points include land use recommendations for the North Beach area, streetscape improvements and pedestrian connections throughout the Downtown district, and parking and mixed-use strategies for the T-Zone. The Plan elicited a positive response from the Task Force and will be reviewed by the Planning Commission and City Council at a working session on April 28, 2005.
    The City anticipates that the Strategic Plan will be completed by mid-2005. b