Letter: What Part of ‘No’ is Hard to Understand?

Jody Payne, Dana Point

Exactly what part of “No” does the Beverly Hills Hospitality Group not understand?

I am dismayed that once again the citizens of Dana Point have to spend our time fighting a battle against the five-story Doheny Hotel that clearly no one wants in its present form. For four years, residents have been attending informational meetings, community meetings with the developer’s public relations group and Planning Commission meetings. We have written untold letters, signed petitions and paid for ads to raise awareness about the egregious demands this entitled developer seems to think he deserves.

Now Beverly Hills Hospitality Group has submitted an appeal to the City Council. I am confident that our elected leaders have been paying close attention and will do the right thing.

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15 Responses to “Letter: What Part of ‘No’ is Hard to Understand?”

  1. James
    May 6, 2014 at 10:50 am #

    I’m a resident and home owner in Dana Point. I live near the corner of PCH and Del Obisbo and I am in favor of the hotel. The entry to Dana Point from the South is an eyesore. The land in Dana Point has become so valuable that it doesn’t make sense to develop. Between building costs and the lack of tenants (bead shops, christmas tree lots, strawberry sales) Dana Point needs to do something. The developer obviously needs to try and make money on the property. Otherwise we are stuck with what we have…

    • Dave Bartholomew
      May 8, 2014 at 4:40 am #

      Dear James: You comment “… doesn’t make sense to develop.” We are always stuck with what we have; i.e.: The senseless, miserable, corrupt and selfish people who find enough money, run for office and when by comparison and contrast, there is no hero of our civilization – a blossoming, steps up to compete for office. ( Mr. Smith goes to Washington ). It is then that we are stuck with ‘no-option, no-choice and a lose-lose election circumstance. It happens every year, I guess about 99% of the time. Just look at the past record of our City Council – sad, sad … records. ( i.e. Harbor Development, they fought the Save the Headlands good neighbors. This newspaper is an example of broken and corrupt, loophole driven society. You have no reason to trust me, but the property seller will make money; they will pay and be very motivated under the table, the City decision makers will enjoy $100,000 for every $500,000 increase in increased flexible value. ( i.e. Strands Beach over building history … so ugly, so sad, so corrupt.) Dave B wrote this, as if …

    • Maria
      May 15, 2014 at 3:35 pm #

      I believe the intended location for the hotel is not the empty lot where they sell Christmas trees and strawberries but instead is across Dana Harbor Drive. The intent is to have entry from the driveway headed up to the Marriott and the hotel will encompass three lots: the area where the Jack in the Box is currently, the corner with the closed liquor store, and replace the rundown old yellow colored hotel next to those two properties.

  2. Joel
    May 7, 2014 at 2:26 pm #

    The opponents of the hotel seem to think we should all sit around merrily waiting for “the right” project to fall in our laps here in Dana Point. It’s like they honestly believe there is some huge queue of developers waiting to jump onto this parcel of land who will then hold council with these residents regarding what business to build.
    The updated design of this hotel prevents it from being an obtrusion on PCH, the hotel is designed such that it does not obstruct ocean views, and the “park land” being used is just a giant slope right now anyway.
    I would have no issues if this project was starting tomorrow.

    • Dave Bartholomew
      May 8, 2014 at 4:41 am #

      Dear Joel. There is very limited thinkers, they have obstructed problem solving ability. Instead, the Council and Planning board should look at the property like a lump of clay having a fixed volume, fixed setbacks, fixed environmental standards. Drive through San Juan, San Clemente, Laguna, Newport and see how other builders have resolved street corner / design solutions. I can think of many examples that are nice. Instead, the land owner wants our corrupt council to approve a 250% volume where only a 100% volume has been establish. Mind you, we already raised the limit to 35 feet or so. My God … people like Joel and James should be judged by their knowingly, selfish corrupt maneuvering. They should pass GO and continue to jail, existing in a prison built like their thinking.

  3. Paul Del Bene
    May 8, 2014 at 9:43 am #

    Jody: I am curious – What do you mean by “entitled” developer?

  4. Paul Megna
    May 9, 2014 at 7:40 am #

    I hear proponents for the hotel talk of the corner being a blight and not addresssing some of the issues that make this project a fail in my opinion. They seem to be more interested in aesthetics than realistic ramifications. Traffic is already an issue at that corner and a 250 room hotel will generate an additional 250-300 vehicles between guests, staff and deliveries. As the harbor has been deemed inadequate it is being geared for more people and more cars adding 200 to 300 additional spaces in what currently will be two story parking structures.
    We presently have ten hotels within a one mile radius. At what point will Dana Point lose it’s charm and become Marina Del Rey? Is it pollyannish to want Dana Point to stay special? Low impact with guests that day visit and leave? Are we good stewards of this towns future by squeezing every available dollar packing as many people in here as possible? Blinded by tax opportunities and ignoring why people come here in the first place? To enjoy open and spacious areas. Ignoring height limits in exchange for revenue? Trust that the Marina Inn will be developing soon and will want similar variances citing “special” treatment of this developer.
    The harbor development with it’s two story buildings and two story parking structures and multi story “boat barns”all in the hopes of packing more people into this limited space is indicative of the direction our civic leaders are going. Realize that the higher, tighter and more commercial you make this area the less people will feel it offers anything special. These buildings will age and as they do this will be another city/ beach town that has seen better days. When I look at Marina Del Rey, Long Beach, Huntington and Newport I see Dana Points future and it doesn’t look good. Another exploited beach town that has seen it’s best days slip away. Traded by it’s civic leaders the charm it once held for the revenue it might derive.

    • Joe
      May 12, 2014 at 8:48 am #

      Your post is one of the better comments I’ve read that is against the development of the proposed hotel.

      However, DP is going to get more crowded regardless, because of the limited amount of coastal areas within driving distance of major population centers. So the question shouldn’t be, can we stop the increased amount of visitors coming to our city, because we can’t. Instead the question should be, which practical development will minimize traffic and congestion, and other undesirable outcomes.

      The developer already stated, at a Coffee Chat meeting in late December, 2013, that a smaller hotel would not be economical to build. That they are appealing the Planning Commission decision as opposed to resubmitting a smaller hotel proposal to the PC tells me they were not bluffing. So if the City Council denies the 250 room hotel, what is likely to happen?

      It’s impossible to know for sure, but I would bet that instead of a hotel that appeals to a limited number of wealthy clientele, we would get a lower end retail establishment that would draw in much more traffic from surrounding areas and cars driving along the 5 freeway. Possibilities that come to mind would be a more popular fast food restaurant (like an In-N-Out Burger), convenience store, branded coffee shop, etc. So even though the hotel would be more “dense”, it could actually end up being a better alternative with respect to congestion and other objections. As a matter of fact, the Kunzman Traffic Report in the EIR for the project concluded traffic would be improved in year 2025 if the hotel is built because of road changes that would be done as part of the development.

      Increased traffic and congestion are just one of the approximately 30 or so objections that opponents have raised against the hotel. Like the traffic objection, most have little or no merit, although a few of them do. Nobody is claiming the hotel is an optimal development for the site, it’s just better than the alternatives. If you or anybody else has a better idea, and the financing to make it happen, let us know.

      • Paul
        May 13, 2014 at 7:43 am #

        Thank you for the compliment on my post, ( albeit you say it’s one of many arguements without merit). You ask for alternatives to which I would offer a civic pool area similar to San Clemente’s. Something that might not serve the tourist trade but certainly would help our local populace. I know everything in the development of Dana Point is measured in revenue and usually tourist dollars but all of this new expansion should somehow benefit the residents here both present and future. As far as the traffic it would generate I doubt that 250 to 300 automobiles would be frequenting daily.
        The harbor will be made into a bustleing retail center and the Marina Inn is laying in wait with it’s development plan. You are correct when you say congestion is inevitable. Given the direction we are heading with parking structures and the increase of retail space in the harbor I just can’t see the benefit of another hotel (except for it’s developers and the county’s tax base). Again I say that with 10 hotels within a one mile radius and another one in the harbor ready to bloom we need to do something that benefits the town and not necessarily the tourist.

        • Joe
          May 14, 2014 at 10:07 am #

          The owners of 34270 PCH have their office bldg. for sale (or lease) for $4.575 million, with a fiscal year 2013-2014 taxable value of $2.65 million. One of the owners is the gentleman who spoke out against the project at the December, 2013 PC meeting, complaining that his ocean view (what little of it there is) would be annihilated, and that putting the hotel there would be like trying to fit himself into size 29 jeans (it wouldn’t have worked).

          The 3 subject lots have a taxable value of $8.6 million, so applying the same ratio would give the 3 lots a value of $14.8 million. That’s just an approximation, I have no idea what they’re actually worth. Add to that the cost of building public facilities, such as public pool facilities or a skate park that another hotel opponent mentioned, and we’re talking a tidy sum of money.

          DP could certainly afford it if they were willing to go into debt. With at least the home mortgage interest rate well below the rate of (real, as opposed to reported) price inflation, the banks are essentially paying you to take a loan, although offsetting that somewhat is the now very elevated real estate prices. But it doesn’t seem like the DP City Council is willing to take on debt.

          In any event, it would be good to see more constructive ideas for alternatives to the proposed hotel.

    • Brandon Phillips
      May 19, 2014 at 2:07 pm #

      Well said Paul.

      Why do people flood the streets of Laguna or cough up their life savings for a vacation to Hawaii? It is because these places have value in open space and pay homage to their heritage. Orange County has sold its soul to gain”everything”. It would be a shame to see Dana go the way of the buffalo.

  5. Thomas
    May 9, 2014 at 8:37 am #

    Let’s take a good look at the corner of harbor drive in question, today it looks like shit, tomorrow it will look like shit, next year it will look even shitter, so, do you think the guests that visit and stay at the Marriott enjoy the corner as they head into DP? You enter DP under the beautiful DP walkway and the next thing you see as you head to the harbor is that shitty corner with closed businesses, trash, an ugly harbor sign and so on…..you want tourist to visit? you want to beautify downtown DP ? this hotel would be a great start, stop making excuses for the city counsel’s dumb refusals, they certainly do not represent the majority of residents who would like to see DP evolve into the 21st century….

    • Dave Bartholomew
      May 11, 2014 at 3:15 am #

      Dear doubting Thomas: Your emotional response inspires me to ask, “Who are you?” World tourist come to Dana Point hoping to see what the ‘beach hype & romance is all about’. Our sleepy fishing village has great historic lineage. The abandoned liquor store represents the great American Promise, a sign of our times, changes in how ‘retail / costs vs. convenience’ does weed out slow, unresponsive retail store / hotel / restaurant owners. The city could have cleaned up this corner along with a 100 other eyesores. My pet peeve is how the city takes a part to block ocean views and experiences! More evidence, the elected city staff does not respond to our needs as you describe above, but to the Land Baron developers who pay their living needs and expenses.
      When a sleepy senior romantic fails to drink their morning coffee, the behind the scenes impact is upon their heirs, their grandchildren lose a ‘Strands Beach’ a ‘Spectacular Inspiring View of the Ocean’ or possibly just another mouse, tide-pool or bar-b-q pit. DaveBartholomew@cox.net, he-brews.

  6. Jim Slark
    May 9, 2014 at 4:16 pm #

    Wow, actual comments being allowed. I wish some I have made in the past would have been similarly aired. Even a occasional curse word, wow, how we are progressing. Anyway, I have deep knowledge of how things work here in Dana Point, from years of investigation, as some of my ‘friends’ know. While not blaming my ‘friends’ in this case, I’m the recipient of some special nails in my tires, $800 for replacing the matched pair. I’m overjoyed to see citizens finally being able to voice their opinions publically. Anyway, the people of Dana Point live in an area where millions are being made for those who have access to the halls of power, while we the people of Dana Point share the burdens of those who profit. I’m so glad they allow us to live here. Oh, of course we’ve been ‘given’ some parks, but in my opinion those were built to enhance the views of the area, so those moneyed who visit won’t have to observe eyesores. Other local cities work to share with the public, the golf and swimming facilities in San Clemente are great examples. We have a golf course, but it is reserved for those who have deep pockets, wouldn’t want them to have to share it with the common, you know. I’ve asked at a harbor planning meeting about using some of the land in the harbor to build a skate park, the sneers I received for that suggestion were expected. And as for a pool, which would be so beneficial for our gentrified population, building that has been out of the question. So here’s a solution we can all get behind, use this property to build the skate park and a public subsidized swimming pool. We can walk to the location and not need cars while enhancing our health through exercise (I’m a nut for exercise, as some may know), it will be a great location for our kids and for all of us to participate in enjoying their joy for the skate park. The pool could be designed to be a real addition to enhance the entrance to the city, maybe even overcoming the eyesore monstrosity of the bridge to nowhere. (Can you imagine, our conservative tax avoiding leaders spending six million of tax money to serve four or five homeless a day? Who would have guessed?) More likely it was built to serve the 20,000 square feet of shops that some entitled builder will open in the area from which the trailer people were thrown out of. Pardon the poor grammar. I’ve written about my guesses about the bridge and the shops before, but it was not published. Big surprise. I’ll try again sometime. That post will discuss why the pool and the skate park will NEVER be considered for that location, and make a couple of guesses about what will be built there, and why and when. Thank you for listening, if this isn’t censored, of course. As before.

    • SKATEPARK OF DANA POINT
      May 19, 2014 at 2:59 pm #

      Jim,

      We are pleased to hear you are advocating the skatepark campaign. While on this topic, we suggest the 60 acres parcel that lies along the river mouth as you enter Dana. Currently, the Water Board is overseeing this land and wishes to build a parking lot / boat storage lot. All fine and good but not for the entire 60 acres. What is needed is only 30 acres.

      Imagine exiting the 5 and being greeted by beautiful Doheny then looking right and seeing a park area that includes: Living classrooms for field trips dedicated to Mission Life and agriculture (expanding on the Ocean Institute’s theme), a beautiful amphitheater for concerts, play grounds with water attractions (for those hot days), fish taco restaurant and of course a beautifully constructed skatepark, as well as a suspending bridge that connects pedestrians of Doheny Park Rd to the Del Obisipo parks. This project would connect SJC, DP, Capo Beach and even San Clemente. Not to mention redefining the river beds usage and the bike trails that exist already….

      This is our way to improve DP, increase tourism, encourage community evolvement, improve pedestrian flow and revamp a lost part of DP / Capo Beach.

      A massive project like the proposed hotel will not fulfill the needs of our children and residents.

      We hope that 2014 can be a year of great accomplishments.

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