Project Background

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The County and City of San Clemente previously evaluated alternative alignments for the La Pata Gap Closure, including locations near the Talega and Forster Ranch developments. In-depth community input led to the development of a proposed project, which will traverse parts of San Clemente and the unincorporated areas of the County.

The County of Orange in May of 2011 approved a Project Report and Final Environmental Impact Report (Final EIR) for a proposed project that would extend and widen the existing 1.8-mile portion of La Pata Avenue south of Ortega Highway, outside the City of San Juan Capistrano, roughly two miles to connect with La Pata Avenue in San Clemente at Calle Saluda. The proposed improvements will ease local traffic while minimizing environmental impacts. A new multi-purpose trail is also proposed to be included with the project on the east side of the highway from Calle Saluda to Vista Montana Avenue adjacent to the San Juan Hills High School.

The project would close the "gap" between the two roadway segments – providing an essential link in the local roadway network.

The La Pata Avenue Gap Closure project is designed to ease traffic congestion while ensuring minimal environmental impact on the area's high quality of life. Particular attention in the study will be placed on minimizing adverse visual, noise, air quality, light and glare impacts on the neighboring communities. The proposed improvements are consistent with the City of San Clemente and County General Plans and the Talega and Forster Ranch Specific Plans.

The initial step in the environmental process began in November 2009 with the release of the Notice of Preparation for the Environmental Impact Report. A public scoping meeting was conducted on December 2, 2009 in San Clemente to provide project information and garner input from interested parties. A public meeting on the Draft Environmental Impact Report was conducted November 18th, 2010 in San Clemente to provide interested parties an opportunity to review and provide comments on the project documents. Public outreach efforts included mailing project information to residents/businesses within a quarter mile of the project and to key stakeholders/and interested parties. The County's project Web site was launched and city Web sites included project information for residents. Press releases were issued to regional and local media. Based on input from the public meetings, the project was refined in the Final Environmental Impact Report (Final EIR) to address comments received during the Draft Environmental Impact Report phase.