Yesterday the City Council reconsidered the appeal of the Design Review Commission (DRC) approved exterior design for the new Blanco Restaurant on the corner of Orange and B. The DRC approval was a compromise with Blanco and provided them with much of what they wanted while maintaining the essential design character of the building in accordance with the Orange Avenue Corridor Specific Plan (OACSP). DRC insisted on retaining intact the entry arch and Blanco (Fox Restaurant Group) agreed to that compromise but then promptly appealed DRC’s decision. Annoying. The appeal was heard by the City Council, but for unexplained reasons the agenda item was moved by Mayor Bailey to the end of a 5-hour meeting. Then, in the expected absence of significant public input, the Blanco appeal was upheld with Councilman Tanaka voting no. Subsequent feedback to Councilmen Heinze and Donovan caused them to move to reconsider the appeal (reconsideration has to be initiated by a Councilperson that voted to approve the motion in the first place) based on a lack of public input. After some public input and Council discussions, Mayor Bailey, announced that reconsideration was not legal and he would vote against it. Regardless, Councilmen Heinze, Donovan and Tanaka voted to reconsider, and that happened last night. There was an impressive turnout for the City Council meeting with many residents suggesting that a) the OACSP should be complied with, and 2) who gets to decide what Coronado is to look like, Coronado citizens or large out of town corporations? In the end, the DRC decision was upheld on a 3-1 vote with Mayor Bailey siding with the large out of town corporation. (Note: Councilman Sandke was recused from this matter.) Some thoughts on the result: As a member of the Design Review Commission, I greatly appreciate the support of the majority of the City Council, but more importantly, I think the City Council has reaffirmed that Coronado gets to dictate design standards, not large out of town corporations. It may be that some will not agree with DRC that the essential character of the building has been retained, and that is unfortunate, but the changes approved by the DRC seemed reasonable to us. I hope Blanco is a great success, the entry arch notwithstanding.

Thank you to Councilmen Heinze, Donovan and Tanaka

VOL. 112, NO. 37 - Sept. 14, 2022

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