San Clemente, Orange County toll agency solidify legal positions in toll road dispute – Orange County Register

The Transportation Corridor Agency will set out to defend lawsuits that the city of San Clemente and a homeowners association filed Friday, July 28 to oppose TCA efforts that could lead to a toll road slicing through the middle of the beach town.

TCA directors, at their board meeting Thursday, Aug. 10, voted in closed session to defend lawsuits filed by the city and by The Reserve Maintenance Corporation. Kathy Ward, San Clemente’s mayor and city representative on the TCA board, did not participate in the closed-session discussions or the vote to defend her city’s lawsuit.

The two lawsuits challenge the TCA’s Nov. 10 settlement of longstanding lawsuits filed by a coalition of environmentalists opposed to a prior 15-year TCA effort to extend the 241 Toll Road south of San Clemente to I-5 near Trestles Beach. The TCA agreed to never build or fund a toll road within a designated protective zone south of San Clemente. Environmental groups agreed not to oppose any alternate routes to extend the 241 to I-5.

The lawsuits claim that the TCA made the agreements in secret, without public input into what amounts to a land-use decision that boxes in the TCA and “virtually guarantees” the TCA will “now seek to cram the toll road” through protected open space within established communities in San Clemente, San Juan Capistrano and/or Rancho Mission Viejo.

The TCA released a…

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