Planning Commission OKs County’s Harbor Revamp

OC Dana Point Harbor revitalization plans include the demolition of buildings currently housing local retailers and eateries. They would be replaced with seven new buildings and a 35,000-square-foot park drawn here. Rendering courtesy of Orange County.

OC Dana Point Harbor revitalization plans include the demolition of buildings currently housing local retailers and eateries. They would be replaced with seven new buildings and a 35,000-square-foot park drawn here. Rendering courtesy of Orange County.

By Andrea Papagianis

Despite concerns from boaters, the Planning Commission approved Orange County’s application Monday night to demolish and rebuild much of the Dana Point Harbor’s aging structures.

Commissioners approved the coastal development permit in a 4-1 vote, moving the $140 million project, nearly 20 years in the making, closer to breaking ground.

“This revitalization might not have everything that everyone wants … but so many bodies have overseen this process. It’s been vetted,” said Commissioner April O’Connor.

Commissioner Norm Denton cast the dissenting vote. In an earlier vote, the board agreed unanimously on the permit. But after the permit vote was tied with the conceptual approval of a more than 50,000-square-foot, 400-boat, dry-storage structure, Denton, a boater, changed his vote.

“I have been accused of being against the revitalization,” Denton said. “I have always said I am for the landside improvements with a couple caveats. One is the dry boat storage.”

More than 20 speakers highlighted the revitalization need, but nearly half raised issue with the impacts parking, off-site boat storage during construction and the potential storage structure, dubbed the “boat barn,” could have on boaters. The “barn” must still get the California Coastal Commission’s OK.

With the approval, the county can now move ahead with plans to flatten 13 buildings and construct seven new structures in the Harbor’s “commercial core.”

The project will add retail, commercial and office space along with a 35,000-square-foot park. The Commission also approved a two-level structure that will add more than 500 parking spaces.

OC Dana Point Harbor Director Brad Gross said commercial construction could begin in 2015.

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3 Responses to “Planning Commission OKs County’s Harbor Revamp”

  1. Dave Bartholomew
    May 17, 2014 at 10:36 am #

    The People of Dana Point need to act fast to save the Harbor views, elbow room and safe and sane environment. This plan is a complete negative-impact change of the Harbor – if no one noticed, the elevation building drawing in this article shows buildings and park space that have no place, NO PLACE being in an open view Harbor experience OF THE OCEAN! Not of some typical, boxy CALIFORNIA STRIP MALL. Mr. Newkirk stepped down just in time to avoid blame; it does not remove the blame upon all GOP – corrupt planners and instigators / news editors. But, it is his fingerprints with City Council that allowed County Landlords, increase RENTS while wrecking this precious, rare Harbor existing design. All O.C. People must act quickly to stop this or We will regret it our whole lives. YES, it is TRUE, this may be time for another RECALL of all the CITY ELECTED crony. This is beyond sad, it shows how extreme corruption in our Republic Form of Government serves only the 1% special interest, and to hell with 99% People who are disabled more each year by their misconduct.
    … please contact me if you are interested, or if you need support for another RECALL of all the CITY ELECTED crony. DaveBartholomew@cox.net

  2. A Voter
    May 19, 2014 at 3:10 pm #

    Interesting to know that the City Manager and Council can approve such a massive project that serves no lasting benefit. But can not stand behind their own youth with projects such as skateparks or youth activity.

    We will be looking at our ballets very closely come election time.

  3. Mike
    May 20, 2014 at 11:13 am #

    I will also. And they will receive my vote again.

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