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By Andrea Swayne

The Dana Point City Council on Sept. 16 voted 3-2 to approve spending $7.7 million for streetscape improvements and the conversion of Del Prado Avenue to two-way traffic as part of the overall Town Center/Lantern District revitalization plan.

Mayor Lisa Bartlett and Councilman Scott Schoeffel cast the two “no” votes. Bartlett was concerned about the project drawing down city reserves, Schoeffel about a lack of protection from future down-zoning and up-zoning.

Councilmen Steven Weinberg, Bill Brough and Carlos Olvera voted in favor to avoid losing momentum on the project and the potential for lost revenue that could come as a result.

City Manager Doug Chotkevys advised against a suggestion to approve only the change to two-way traffic, at an estimated cost of $2.153 million. Splitting the project up may cut costs on the short term but in the long run, bidding other improvements separately would cost the city about $1 million more, he said.

“There is no $2.153 million option in front of City Council now,” Chotkevys said, adding that if the council did not like the bid, they should reject it and re-bid.

A $5.6 million contract, covering a majority of the plan, was awarded to GMC Engineering, Inc.

The city recently completed the conversion of the stretch of Pacific Coast Highway running through the Town Center/Lantern District to two-way traffic.

Provided the South Coast Water District finishes its underground infrastructure improvements in November, as scheduled, completion of Del Prado is expected by September of 2015.

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