Letter: Dear Planning Commission, Please Don’t Sell Out

Rick Morgan, Dana Point

First, my thanks go out to reader Jody Payne and her letter from last week’s edition of the Times regarding the proposed hotel at the intersection of PCH and Harbor Drive.

The more I hear about this, the more I’m convinced that this is a bad idea. I also can’t help but think that it’s almost a done deal. It conjures up old memories of the early days following Dana Point’s incorporation when it seemed the city was hell-bent on closing us in with a ring of hotels as it pursued its—and developers’—goals of making Dana Point a “destination resort,” regardless of views to the contrary of many of us who live here.

In general, I think Dana Point has done a good job of creating a city that makes us proud to live here. We have a great Harbor, nice neighborhoods and many world-class events.

But this hotel is questionable at best on so many levels. We have a very nice archway to greet visitors from the south (after passing the Double Tree Hotel on the Interstate 5 exit that obliterated the most beautiful view of Capo Bay and the harbor 25 years ago.)

Now, just yards beyond the arch, Beverly Hills Hospitality Group—Beverly Hills is a red flag right there—wants to greet visitors with a five-story hotel being shoe-horned into the intersection. They want a height variance that, given the location of the Best Western across the street, will create a near hotel canyon. And now they want to take park land?

Do we really want this to be the first thing visitors see when they enter the Dana Point? I’d like to think not.

More red flags: The argument’s been made that the St. Regis is an overly large hotel. Perhaps. St. Regis may arguably be a pile, but at least the land on which it sits is large enough to hold it. This proposed hotel would sit on a flood plain with parking underground, from what I’ve read. At the Coffee Chat in November, when BHHG—which filed for bankruptcy in 2012, as pointed out in this column last year—made another proposal to the people of Dana Point, their Irvine-based communications consultants seemingly rushed the meeting to an end during a Q&A session.

I had asked the woman taking questions what would prevent BHHG from continuing to pursue a possible future acquisition of the scuba shop and Del Taco to further enlarge the hotel, even though those owners at present are not interested selling. I know that virtually any property is for sale if the price is right, but her answer to me was to say that “the owners are not interested in selling but, you’re right, that would be the best thing to do, acquiring those two properties,” totally distorting my words.

That’s just the short list.

I get that the intersection is a bit of an eyesore, but I strongly urge the Planning Commission and the City Council, if not to reject this project outright, to at least scale back the size and scope proposed. Please don’t sell out. This is a bad idea.

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4 Responses to “Letter: Dear Planning Commission, Please Don’t Sell Out”

  1. Joseph Daniels
    February 11, 2014 at 9:57 pm #

    You talk about the hotel taking park land. The park land mentioned is not a park. It’s the back side of a hill next to a parking lot. I park there ofter for my free yoga class and don’t see any playground equipment there.

    You speak about the addition of a hotel creating a, “hotel canyon”. There is already a hotel on the property so isn’t there already a hotel canyon?

    Why don’t you just tell the truth and say that you don’t want the hotel to block your peek a boo ocean view from your home up the hill? After all, you live up the hill by St. Edwards. Just be honest.

  2. Dave Bartholomew
    March 8, 2014 at 7:32 am #

    It is my first time looking at this project. Does Dana Point need another hotel? I believe the answer is yes, a smart hotel. Is this the smart design for the people live here. No. Is the 5 story or 6 story impact going to set a precedence? Yes. Be very careful. Do developers control the City Council. Yes … or at least 90% is far to big of a bias (as always). How are views impacted as being against the hillside? This is where the hotel design should alter the density. As for sidewalk and drive by set backs, there is not enough. Like the Headlands project design, it was the architect who screwed everything up; being insensitive to impacts ‘not worth trading for’ vs. ‘impacts that do not greatly take away from the environment’. Dana Point citizens should not be apathetic; as seen in the bridge blocking the views when the negative effects could have been cut in half, and still had a bridge. Today’s Dana Point ‘views’ are being taken away. Stop everything until we have a city council that is sensitive to why visitors come and visit the other hotels. First impressions are so very important. Stupid, blind and egotistical people should not run for office. It should be a rule, written somewhere.

  3. James Slark
    March 14, 2014 at 1:08 pm #

    imho, ‘stupid, blind and egotistical’ are inadequate as descriptors. The success rate for those who exploit our people isn’t built on ‘stupid, blind and egotistical’.

    • Dave Bartholomew
      March 16, 2014 at 2:16 pm #

      Hi Jim, hi seniors.
      The bad impacts upon our freedoms is what historians warn us, “History will repeat itself”. How do we get the City Council to wear this SBE Badge? … on their shirt collar? (‘stupid, blind and egotistical’) It is important to tell the voters that “they know”, that “we know, that they know”, that they are the SBE leadership, where I say again, the new Development in Dana Point is about to repeat itself.

      Instead of city leadership taking steps to make the ‘ocean impacts more inviting for all, not just rich’ they will instead take steps to make the ‘highway boulevard cement gardens’ more inviting.

      America is at very special time in its 300 year history. One perspective is a horrifying thought,
      … that People have this internet-instrument to be very constructive and to use it to reform / regain / renew our lost standards of living. But what blocks the broad spread scaffolding impacts, is that the newspapers will not put the Headlines on the front page, center section, or last page Opinion. They will leave the comments on the very seldom seen, rarely read … ‘submit comment’ cubical. Leaving only their editors ‘bought-paid propaganda’ to fill all the sections of so-called community served newspapers. Dave B./ Dana Pt Res / 35 years, standing right, speaking up American for 58 years.

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