Toll Brothers beats appeal against apartment complex in Dana Point

Land lease beneath 306-unit project will pay $40M to Capistrano Unified School District

Toll Brothers beats back appeal against 306-unit apartment complex at 26126 Victoria Boulevard in Dana Point
Toll Brothers Apartment Living's John McCullough with a rendering of plans for 26126 Victoria Boulevard in Dana Point (Toll Brothers Apartment Living, Dana Point)

Toll Brothers Apartment Living has beat back a union-led appeal against a 306-unit apartment complex on school district land in Dana Point.

The unit of Pennsylvania-based Toll Brothers was approved for the 5.5-acre complex after the Dana Point City Council voted down the appeal of the project at 26126 Victoria Boulevard, in Capistrano Beach, the Orange County Register reported. The apartments would replace a school bus yard.

The project will go to the California Coastal Commission for final approval, according to the city attorney, a process which can take 18 months.

The appeal of the project was made by Supporters Alliance for Environmental Responsibility, or S.A.F.E.R., which contended an environmental study didn’t live up to health and environmental standards. The Covina-based nonprofit also claimed the project’s plans for affordable housing don’t meet state guidelines, and don’t address impacts to climate change. 

The group is led by Jon Preciado, according to public tax documents, who serves as business manager for the Southern California District Council of Laborers. The nonprofit’s second-in-command is Rocco Davis, regional director for Laborer’s International Union of North America.

While the council voted to uphold a development agreement with Toll Brothers, Councilman Michael Villar, who represents the area, voted no on items needed to approve the project. 

He said he couldn’t support the development because Toll Brothers wouldn’t guarantee it would be built by union workers.

“I’m struggling the most that this is not a union job,” Villar told the council. “I can’t support it and I feel terrible that that is the position I’m in. It’s critically important to me personally that we find a way to have union workers on that job.”

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Plans by Toll Brothers call for 306 luxury apartments on land owned by the Capistrano Unified School District, according to the project website. Proceeds from the ground lease would  generate $40 million for capital improvements at Dana Hills High School.

The complex, known as the Victoria Boulevard Apartments, would include three- and four-story buildings on a triangular lot, according to a rendering. Toll Brothers said it redesigned the project to two- and three-story buildings at the request of residents of the Doheny Village neighborhood.

The Register reports the complex’s buildings would run from two to five stories and include a six-story parking garage. The apartments would feature two public paseos, a corner park and a pool.

Some 15 percent of the apartments north of Highway 1 will be set aside as affordable housing for low-income households.

“I hope they get building sooner than later,” Mayor Jamey Federico, a real estate investor who owns a construction company, said. While the project may not be perfect, he said “it has some benefits for everybody.”

“It’s an upgrade to the area and provides funds for the schools and removes an ugly blighted schoolyard that has been there 50 years,” he said. “To me the benefit outweighs the drawbacks.”

— Dana Bartholomew

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