Now, finally, it really is over. The clash between Dove Canyon Courtyard and the City of Rancho Santa Margarita has been resolved. In other words, there won't be any litigation stemming from the long and costly Conditional Use Permit process DCC owner Kenney Hrabik endured to get his wedding and banquet venue OK'd by the city.
To settle, the city agreed to refund Hrabik $50,000 of the more than $60,000 he says he spent over more than two years. Hrabik had challenged the fees and called them excessive.
“The city and its staff spent 28 months and hundreds of hours of research for my conditional use permit," Hrabik said. "I was originally led to believe the cost was going to be about $3,000. Most CUPs cost between $2,000 and $7,000. I was billed for every hour of staff time and my final bill was over $60,000!"
Dove Canyon Courtyard was over the protests of some local residents near the Dove Canyon Plaza. It was and then, by unanimous decision, the three-man city council consisting of Tony Beall, Jerry Holloway and Steve Baric. Jesse Petrilla was away at military training and Gary Thompson had resigned.
Dove Canyon Courtyard had been the center of one of the most contentious battles in city history. Two years after opening in 2006, it was notified that an error had been made in giving it an occupancy permit and would instead need a conditional use permit.
A CUP requires a public hearing and notification of all neighbors within a radius of 300 feet. As Dove Canyon Courtyard went through this process, it was challenged by some of its neighbors, who complained about noise.
The city performed almost 40 separate sound studies with code enforcement and professional sound engineers, and it was determined that DCC was in compliance and operating within the legal sound requirement.
Hrabik said that he has lost "well over $200,000" because he had to hire an attorney and was unable to market the facility as a wedding venue during the 28 months he sought approval from the city.
"Who would plan a wedding here with the threat of being shut down," he said. "I am looking forward to putting this permit process behind me."
"This $50,000 will help."