But, “after three and a half year of hard work, we still have nothing to show for it,” Nieblas said of lobbying efforts for the village.

The latest delay happened as council members also considered a proposal to turn another 40 acres of the Northwest Open Space into a campground, with cabins, cottages and spaces for RVs. Mark Nielsen, a former San Juan Capistrano councilman, has threatened legal action, saying the campground proposal doesn’t fit the area’s zoning as a community park.

Councilman Troy Bourne has said a similar land use issue could occur with the Putuidem village and called for the council to put on hold all plans for the Northwest Open Space. Putting a pause on the village project was necessary to find the best way to move forward, he said.

It “remains a challenge,” he said, to figure out whether the area would need to be rezoned to allow the construction of the tribal village.

“The lawsuit would not have had anything to do with Putuidem,” said Kerry Ferguson, a former councilwoman who has been a long-time supporter of the village. “They were not objecting to Putuidem. They were objecting to an RV park.”

Several tribal members are also concerned about the proposal for the RV park, instead encouraging a more “passive use” of the property.

Michelle Castillo said the site is a burial ground for her Acjachemen ancestors. “This is the original home. How do you feel if we went to your cemetery and decide to build an RV park there?”

Nieblas said he could see uses such as a farm-to-table restaurant, and wants a committee of tribal members disbanded by the city last year to discuss options.

“If we have to work another year, then for God’s sake, bring a committee together,” he said. “Let’s give anything we can until we can’t give anything anymore.”

The City Council on Sept. 17 could direct city staffers on how to move forward on the Northwest Open Space, Assistant City Manager Charlie View said. It remains uncertain what form that would take.

“My hope would be to come out of the evening formally reaffirming our commitment to the park,” said Mayor Brian Maryott, who has long wanted the park to be built. “I don’t think it needs to continue in a holding pattern.”

To view this article in its entirety and the images associated with it, please visit The Orange Country Register website: https://www.ocregister.com/2019/09/11/survey-results-over-simulated-tribal-village-and-other-uses-for-the-northwest-open-space-ready-in-san-juan-capistrano/