Lillian Boyd, Dana Point Times

Efforts to create an updated plan for the Capistrano Beach village area—an initiative that started in the late ’80s—saw a milestone on Monday, Nov. 25 at a Dana Point Planning Commission meeting.

The Doheny Village Working Group has met about once a month and is comprised of the Doheny Village Merchants’ Association (DVMA), a group that formed in late 2016 to address concerns with a proposal on parking, zoning and development standards for the Village. Residents, business and property owners, as well as city officials, attend the meetings. Interim Principal Planner Belinda Deines has overseen meetings and gathered input from the community.

Deines delivered the presentation to the commissioners, recapping the working group’s objectives and highlighting updates to Capistrano Beach. One major change was the namesake of the plan: “Capistrano Beach Village Update,” rather than “Doheny Village Plan Update.”

“When the group got to this discussion, we realized we weren’t sure where ‘Doheny Village’ came from,” Deines said. “It’s originally Capistrano Beach Village or, just, ‘the Village.’ ”

Deines says that honoring the roots of the area was a common thread throughout the process. The trick was to find ways to improve on zoning, parking and building codes while respecting and preserving the culture of Capistrano Beach.

Guiding principles included community-driven decision-making, adopting zones that align with existing uses, keeping jobs in the community, beautification, improving connectivity to the beach, landscape enhancements, identifying on-site parking and preserving neighborhood character.

The zoning code update identifies areas that are village commercial industrial, village commercial residential, recreation and community facilities. To view a map of the zoning plan, go to

There was no vote on the table for the commissioners, but Deines asked for feedback to incorporate into the proposed plan. Feedback was mostly positive, with suggestions from Commissioner Scott McKhan to add clarifying language on beautification, California Coastal Commission requirements and maximum allowable density in residential areas.

“Belinda has done an outstanding job. I can’t tell you hard she has worked,” one speaker said during public comment. “We appreciate (the city) listening to us and willing to take the (community’s) input.”

Members of the audience gave Deines an ovation echoing the positive feedback.

“A lot of the work has essentially been done by the residents and members of the (Doheny Village Working Group) who volunteered their time,” Deines said. “You have to give them credit for dedicating all those hours out of love for their community.”

The proposed plan will now go to city council on Tuesday, Dec. 3. Staff will request approval from council to obtain funding for an environmental impact report (EIR). The EIR will cost a total of $193,704, but with state funding covering about $160,000 of that amount, staff will be requesting the remaining amount from the general fund.

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