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San Clemente residents object to sound wall

November 22, 2011 12:00:00 AM PST
Some San Clemente residents are sounding off about a sound wall in their neighborhood. The wall is supposed to help keep noise levels down, but some people are saying "Not in this neighborhood."

It's a multi-million-dollar sound wall that's now blocking the million-dollar view of some of businesses and homes along the east side of the 5 Freeway in San Clemente.

Don Krall owns the Little Inn by the Beach on S. El Camino Real. The inn's website says it features rooms with ocean views.

After the wall went up, the second and third floors of his hotel have obstructed ocean views.

Krall says he's lost much of the view and has a new problem to deal with because of the sound wall.

"We're having this invasion of noise, as you can hear, from the wall there. It bounces the sound of the freeway back. I'm getting complaints on my website," said Krall.

Caltrans completed the wall a couple of months ago. Krall's neighbors a block away have also lost their ocean view.

They claim they were never notified by Caltrans that the wall was going up.

"If we would have been notified, it would have been a whole different outtake. We would have had our voice to speak on how it will affect us just as much as the people on the west side of the freeway," said San Clemente resident Micheale Hayes.

Caltrans released a statement: "This soundwall project qualified for a Categorical Exemption and Exclusion under the Federal and California law, therefore there was no legal obligation to advertise the project," wrote spokesperson Tracey Lavelle.

Caltrans says it worked with the Orange County Transportation Authority to notify residents during the planning and design phases of the project, adding the OCTA performed the outreach efforts.

At the urging of some residents, the San Clemente city attorney is investigating the planning and construction process used to build the wall.

The group will go before the San Clemente City Council next Tuesday night for an update.

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