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City Settles with Dove Canyon Courtyard, Refunds $50K

Rancho Santa Margarita agrees to refund Dove Canyon Courtyard owner Kenney Hrabik $50,000 for fees associated with the business' Conditional Use Permit.

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."

DCmom December 30, 2011 at 08:35 PM
thank you for the information, I live in DC and did see a 'Baric' sign on the back of a DCC van several days in a row during the last election, even voted for him, won't make that mistake again. This payout is typical Gov. corruption we are all sick of.
Sarah H January 04, 2012 at 04:16 AM
I would suggest everyone review what the truth really is before we make assumptions. Of the top 4 candidates in the last election, Councilman Steve Baric is the only one who DIDN'T take any money from Kenny Hrabik. In fact, I think Steve Baric is the only councilmember who refused to take city heath or pension benefits voluntarily too. RSMDad's comments and accusations just sounds like the dirty politics that we are trying to keep out of our community. This whole thing sounds to me like the Council just did their best to make sure their residents were protected and not adversely impacted. And giving the 50K back to DCC is probably the most PRO-business thing I have seen anyonr do in a LONG time, when was the last time the government gave you back money??? Kudos to the Council for doing what was best for its residents and its businesses... I'm proud to have voted for Steve Baric and the rest!
Dove Canyon Oldtimer January 09, 2012 at 03:45 AM
Actually you better check again Sarah. Steve Baric did take money from Kenney. It came in after the election. And neither Thompson nor Blais took any money from Kenney at any time. If you don't believe me, go to city hall and pull all of the campaign statements on file there. They are public record. Both Batric and Petrilla are bought and paid for Kenney stooges now. As far as giving Kenney any money back, seems to me that since he admitted he made illegal improvements to his property and he did have issues with noise until he was forced to do something about it, he shouldn't have gotten a dime. Kenney is no victim here and his day is coming when the entire truth will be out there, including every backroom shennanigans he and his lawyer were playing. Kenney wants to play politics, then he will learn what it is like to play the game.
April Josephson January 09, 2012 at 05:26 AM
Sarah, your comment is not only inaccurate, but humorous. Neither Blais nor Thompson took anything from Kenney Hrabik. In fact, Mr. Hrabik has stated numerous times in public that he DID NOT support Mr. Blais, the fourth place finisher, and that he was responsible for his loss. Ask Mr. Hrabik yourself.
DCDUDE January 10, 2012 at 03:28 PM
I am friends with someone who was part of the group fighting against Dove Canyon Courtyard. They felt if they complained enough to the city, this business would feel the pressure and go away. They allegedly used past councilman Christy Riley influence with the old city council of Beall, Holloway, Thompson, Blais, Thor. It is important to note that Christy Riley lives right behind DCC. This group organized their complaints on wedding nights. The problem was they could not catch DCC in a noise violation. After about three years, the city had no choice but to issue DCC their permit. I believe the city settled for $50,000 because they were at risk of losing so much more in a lawsuit. It was common knowledge around Dove Canyon that influence peddling was going on. DCDUDE

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