Photo: Andrea Papagianis
Photo: Andrea Papagianis

By Andrea Papagianis

With infrastructure work moving forward on downtown streets and developers presenting proposals for large-scale, new construction, the city of Dana Point is hosting a community meeting to reintroduce residents to the Town Center/Lantern District Plan that was approved nearly eight years ago.

The meeting will be held Monday, Aug. 4 at the Dana Point Community Center, 34052 Del Obispo St. It starts at 6:30 p.m.

This community workshop comes on the heels of a proposed mixed-use development that has drawn the concern of many local residents.

Planning commissioners and residents heard from Majestic Housing & Development LLC on Monday, July 14 about its project which would build three structures, 111 residences, 28,000 square feet of retail and two-levels of subterranean parking on either side of Amber Lantern between Del Prado and PCH.

“This is the test project,” Commissoner Gary Newkirk said at the meeting of the proposed development that could help shape future development in downtown.

In 2006, the Dana Point City Council initiated a plan to revamp the city’s downtown corridor. The plan, designed by ROMA Design Group, a San Francisco-based firm that specializes in landscape architecture and urban design, earned the California Coastal Commission’s authorization and council approval.

But in 2008, the infrastructure project that would see large-scale changes to Pacific Coast Highway and Del Prado Avenue, both above and below the street, was halted. A project revival effort was successful last year and council members approved spending $9.2 million for the project’s first phase on PCH.

Construction began in September 2013 with the South Coast Water District replacing water and sewer lines on PCH, as part of its $5 million commitment to the project. The city followed soon after with street-level work to return PCH to a two-way roadway. That work is expected to end in early September.

The utility will now start water and sewer work on Del Prado, which it expects to have completed by December.

A timeline for Dana Point’s work to make Del Prado into a more pedestrian-friendly road by adding medians, replacing stoplights with stop signs and encouraging mix-use development where people can live, work and play has not been determined. In a 3-2 vote on June 15, the council approved spending $7.7 million to finish out the project. The work has not yet gone to bid.

Boris Dramov, ROMA’s Town Center consultant, will give an overview of the Town Center Specific Plan. Go to www.danapoint.org or call 949.248.3563 for more information.

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