San Juan Capistrano voters can expect to be invited in coming weeks to sign petitions seeking to recall three of the City Council’s five members.
City Clerk Maria Morris notified resident Jeff Vasquez on Dec. 21 that his petitions targeting City Council members Kerry Ferguson and Derek Reeve meet the requirements of the state’s election code, and he was free to begin gathering signatures.
Morris notified resident Ann Ronan on Dec. 22 that she was free to begin circulating petitions seeking to remove Councilwoman Pam Patterson from office.
People invited to sign the petitions will be able to read both the petitioners’ grievances and a response from the council members targeted.
The petitions assert that Ferguson and Reeve betrayed 2014 campaign promises “to oppose rezoning for massive development” and to reduce traffic.
“(They) failed to protect the Los Rios Specific Plan,” by opening the door to what petitioners call “a 61,000-square-foot mall that will destroy the Los Rios Historic District and create more gridlock.”
The petitions’ primary assertions relate to River Street, a proposed farm-themed commercial project on 5.6 acres next to the historic district. A local developer wants to change the specific plan to allow it. Critics say it blatantly exceeds standards of the specific plan, and the council should have just said no rather than let the developer pursue an amendment by authorizing traffic and environmental studies, at the developer’s expense.
Ferguson and Reeve label the petitioners’ assertions as false. Reeve said he has voted against numerous developments but will not deny the local developer a fair process. Voting to initiate studies is not an approval, Ferguson wrote: “Participating in thorough and transparent amendment processes with ample public input is my duty.”
The petition against Patterson accuses her of participating in an illegal referendum over a hotel project that purportedly led to a settlement “that will…