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By Andrea Swayne

City Council voted unanimously on April 19 to direct staff to creating a reserve account and explore funding sources for the Doheny Village revitalization plan.

The vote came after a project update informing council of the project’s progress. Among the updates was news of the city having received completed draft code language from the project designer, Opticos Design, as well as beginning the preparation of the Environmental Impact Report.

Cindy Nelson, interim economic development manager, reported that after discovering Caltrans’ requirements of extensive studies related to the planned “road diet” that would remove one lane in each direction and add two roundabouts on Doheny Park Road, staff decided to separate that part of the plan in order to deliver a land use plan to the California Coastal Commission in a more expeditious manner.  The road diet, she said, will be handled separately.

The staff report also included news of recent investment in the area in the form of short-term improvements such as new median landscaping in the village.

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comments (22)

  • While the plan is viable I still think the council needs to step BACK and consider the infrastructure of the city and serving the residents- NOT just those in the “revitilization” areas – power lines need to be undergrounded – the rodents on the run need to be addressed = many areas that had never had rodents – DO NOW because of all the construction. NO answers or help addressing this from the city 0 just more plans to SPEND more taxpayer dollars

  • Council’s decision to set up a reserve fund for Doheny Village is both smart financial planning and an important show of support for revitalization of an area that is long overdue for a facelift. Doheny Park Road is the first impression people have of our City as they come off the freeway from the north. Just as the entry to a home sets the stage for what lays beyond, all the entrances to Dana Point should be considered from the point of view of what they say about our city. Can anyone honestly say that this area suggests either the five star resort town that Council envisions for Dana Point, or the charming and beautiful residential properties of Capistrano Beach?

    I applaud Council’s decision to set up a reserve account for the basic infrastructure that will be needed to make the Doheny Village Plan a reality. Not only will a smart, responsible development strategy recoup much of those costs from developers, but the potential for sales and property taxes from the area are very significant. For years, thousands of residents of Capo Beach have been doing their weekly shopping in San Clemente, depriving sales tax dollars to Dana Point simply because they don’t have a safe, attractive shopping district in their own neighborhood. Revitalization of the Village may require some up front investment but it’s very clear that it will quickly become a net financial win for the taxpayers of Dana Point. I urge Council to start funding this reserve account now, setting aside savings for the road work that is essential to the success of the DV Plan.

    • While I am in favor of this – I still question WHY residents are not seeing benefits from tax dollars that they are paying – it id NOT ALL about the business district – or is it?

  • I for one applause the City Counsel to finally moved a head with the improvements and beautification of DV – As an entrance to our wonderful city DV has always been a disgrace. Rundown and neglected the problems of infrastructure and rodents are a result of the failure to address the root cause- the general neglect of the area – as a Capo Beach resident – I wholly support the urgently needed vitalisation of DV as set out in the well thought out plan.

  • A revitalization of this area will bring in tax revenues to Dana Point. This area has not been touched since the 60’s and will be a beautiful entrance to our community. Currently people shop in San Clemente to prevent going to Doheny Village.

  • Mary Therese Spivey Reply

    Im thrilled to see our Council move ahead with plans for Doheny Village, can’t imagine that this will happen over night. I read the mention of Rat’s, I always call Vector 949-654-2421 this is a County service and possibly if we jump on this now, we’ll get the rat’s taken care of prior to DV ground breaking ceremony. If more people were willing to help out by making these calls , we could be proactive and help our City make improvements.
    I trust the CIty is very aware of the infrastructure that need’s to take place? As I drive PCH daily from Newport back to DP, once I hit DP, it truly is breath taking. To me it seems that a great deal of thought has gone into upgrading but keeping the history intact, it still feels like a community not a City. However as you enter into Doheny Village that s sense of pride seems to fade fast, it kinda feels like you might have taken a wrong turn somewhere. To me this plan feels like the City is reaching out and conneting Capo to Dana Point. I for one am grabbing that hand and shaking it with gratitude. I think we should try and figure out how we can help fill that fund to get started on this beautiful plan. This City is full of such intelligent, creative and generous people, Im sure we can come up with something to help them move forward!

    • Thanks – the rodent issue is growing and unfortunately – vector control has suspended all funds from that program and moved them to the mosquito issue – calls to them and to the city have not been successful. Yes call the city and vector control – this will soon be out of control. The city is moving – let’s make it right

      • Mary Therese Spivey Reply

        HI Vickie,

        Doesn’t that figure, Vector cut back on Rat’s! well short of some good barn cat’s Im stumped!
        Seem’s like Vector would supply the boxes or something? Maybe more of us should call Vector so once they get funds for Rat’s we will be on the list? If I find some information on how to curb the Rat’s Vickie, I’ll post here.

      • Mary Therese Spivey Reply

        Hello Vickie,

        I contacted, OCVCD.ORG Clicked on the left hand side of the screen SERVICE REQUEST, filled it out the form. I received a response within 72 hours. They will be going down to the area you mentioned today(5/3/16) between 11:00-1:00. Im sure this will be an on going process, so I encourage those of you that are willing to follow the above mentioned process, we can get these dirty rat’s outta here!

  • Long-Time Resident Reply

    Hopefully the Capo Cares people were paying attention to the last City Council meeting where it was estimated that the Doheny Village Plan would cost about $25 million. Council member Muller mentioned the possibility of using Lantern District revenue sources to help fund the Doheny upgrade. If Measure H passes, that will obviously decrease revenue to the city: $4.2 million in one-time fees and $670K/year in increased revenue at full build-out (per the Keyser Marston report on the city website).

    So if you would like to see this project go forward in a reasonable time frame, vote No on H and yes on I.

    • I’m not sure who you are, Long Term Resident, but would love the chance to discuss this with you in person if you’ll reveal your identity. Capo Cares was paying close attention at the Council meeting, and perhaps you missed the part where I said our community is unwilling to wait the 30 years it will take to recoup the Town Center investment ($20 million divided by $673,000 per year in taxes as estimated in the Keyser Marston report.) And remember that the $20 million price tag for Town Center only includes infrastructure costs, not the full cost of all the Roma Design work, EIRs, engineering and public meeting costs, which would likely add many more millions to the project, nor the $6 million outlaid by the South Coast Water District ratepayers.

      Town Center was a huge financial undertaking for the taxpayers of Dana Point, and I would hate to see Doheny Village deplete our coffers anywhere close to the $25 million you mention. Please remember that Brad Fowler admitted that he really didn’t have cost estimates, so it might make sense to get some real figures first. When those costs are known, I think there will be many opportunities to explore developer participation in some of the infrastructure costs for Doheny Village, and perhaps even Mello-Roos type investments for infrastructure costs associated with the residential components. We support a gradual revitalization on a common sense basis and would never endorse a huge investment of public resources before development appears imminent. That point may be moot, anyways, because I’ve looked at the $30 million or so left in the City’s total reserves and can’t find anyplace we’d be able to draw funding for DV. Most of those reserves are designated for emergencies or cash flow irregularities or are already allocated to capital projects. Doheny Village funding will have to be carved out of current operating surpluses or the small amount of undesignated cash (about $2.6 million at the end of January).

      We are currently asking for reserves to fund solely the Doheny Park Road improvements and the reworking of the onramp that will facilitate a pedestrian/bike path from Doheny Village into the rest of Dana Point. I have no doubt that this investment (which was estimated at $6million originally, and may be partially covered by State funds) will have a significant impact in the area and promote prompt development of some of our large parcels, yielding both sales and property taxes. Remember too, that in a sense, Capo Beach has already funded 2/3rds of this investment if the City will agree to deposit the $3.6 million from the sale of Capo Beach parkland into the Doheny Village reserves. I recognize those funds have already been spent on Town Center, but Capo Beach residents would be thrilled to see that amount come back to our community as a good will gesture from Council. We would also welcome some of the developer impact fees from Town Center as they materialize, but aren’t we all one City with one treasury? If Town Center’s impact fees flow into general governmental funds and allow the City to have operating surpluses once more, it will be good to see some of that surplus fund the Doheny Village Plan. The other place we can look for funding might be in scouring current budgets for savings. A 10% saving in each department (to the extent that public safety would not be impacted) would be a healthy exercise and a worthy goal. There are many ways to gather the funding we need for Doheny Village, and it will be exciting to see the City work with the community and developers to fund this very worthy and long awaited project.

      On the Measure H/I question, I fail to see the connection. Both the Union Bank and Del Obispo projects would have been approved under Measure H, so your assertion that H will somehow stop all development seems incorrect. Measure H supports responsible development with adequate parking for the uses contemplated — the same kind of development Capo Cares is hoping for in Doheny Village. Measure I talks about “saving public parking”, but I don’t know what that means. The Council’s changes to parking standards severely reduced required parking, so I don’t see any “saving” going on, unless you’re referring to the 14 shared spaces that taxpayers will be renting in Town Center. I don’t get it. Doesn’t it make sense for developers to fund parking for their own projects or participate in a shared parking structure where they all benefit? Sorry, Measure H makes much more sense to me. We can agree to disagree. The voters will ultimately decide (if they can figure out which one is which!) and I hope they’ll take the time to read everything and sort through the rhetoric to understand exactly what each measure will mean to our beautiful coastal community.

      • Long-Time Resident Reply

        Ms. Nelson:

        (1) The Lantern District improvement money has already been spent, so whether $20 million or $26 million has been invested is irrelevant since most are already on board with the Capo Cares goals. Nobody said you would have to wait for that investment to be recouped before Lantern District revenue would go into the Doheny Village reserve account. In fact Mr Muller said the opposite (starting at 38:55 in the video replay) BTW, it would take about 38 years to recoup the investment, not 30, taking into account the $4.2 million in additional revenue, and 30 years to achieve the full $670K/year in increased income. It would take even longer if increased city revenue has to be used to expand public parking in the district. Another minor point is that about 1/2 of city revenues come directly and indirectly from tourists, so “taxpayers of Dana Point” don’t pay all of the collected tax.

        (2) I have never stated that Measure H will stop all development. The Keyser Marston report states that Measure H will stop MIXED-USE development, and I would add “for the foreseeable future” (eventually property values and rents should increase enough so that mixed-use development would be economic, regardless.) The mixed-use Advent project at the corner of Del Obispo and Violet Lantern has been stalled for over 2 years because it’s uneconomic. Measure H is more restrictive than the original plan. And even if the Union Bank project would have been approved under Measure H, there’s no guarantee it will get built either. And other construction like the BevMo! store is not a mixed-use project.

        Regardless, all I claimed is that passage of Measure H will decrease (net) revenue to the city. This should be obvious. It should also be clear that decreased revenue to city will slow down other investments like Doheny, all other things being equal.

        (3) There is no current parking shortage, there’s an abundance of unused parking, both public and private. Will that change if and when the district gets built out? Sure, but then the city will deal with it, using some of the revenue stream from developer fees and increased sales and property tax revenue (see (1) above.) As far as the title of Measure I, it was a poor choice. Measure I will increase supply of public parking, but will probably increase demand even more. The Council’s decision to use that title hurts Measure I’s chance of passage.

        (4) Sorry, I’m too busy to spend a lot of time on this issue. Other than limiting property value increases somewhat in other parts of the city, passage of Measure H will have no financial effect on me. Mostly it would just mean I won’t spend much time in the downtown area since empty dirt lots have limited appeal.

        Finally, I don’t see what the big deal is about Measure I. Either vote yes on H and no on I, or no on H and yes on I. It’s not that complicated. The advantage of having Measure I is that it should cause voters to more carefully study the issue so they can make an informed decision.

        • I wouldn’t call $20 to $26 million “irrelevant”, and if the City would give a proper accounting of this project I’ll bet it’s more like $30 million. In a small town like Dana Point, that’s a huge amount to spend in a couple of blocks. And now we have to pay for parking too? Why do developers continue to get a free ride in Dana Point? If I build a restaurant or an apartment building I don’t expect someone else to pay for parking for my customers and tenants.

          And your remark about tax money coming from tourists is just plain dumb. Aren’t those taxes still paid to the City of Dana Point and therefore belong to all citizens? We’d be sunk without the tourist taxes because we don’t have the likes of Costco and car dealerships to create sales taxes to pay for our city services. We’re damned lucky to have tourist dollars, but that doesn’t mean you get to spend all those dollars on your Lantern District and Chamber cronies.

        • LTR — You’re clearly drinking the koolaid again. Get a grip, man! This Town Center thing has been a stinker from the get go and we’re on to you now. You say, “The advantage of having Measure I is that it should cause voters to more carefully study the issue so they can make an informed decision.” Are you kidding me? This is such a phony baloney initiative! Do you think we’re blind? So, Council doesn’t like the uppity citizens signing 4200 voters up for an initiative to stop their developer giveaways and they decide to make their own phony Measure I to basically vote NO on H? Come on, man. This is corrupt, Chicago style politics. You’re on the wrong side of this issue. The country is sick of corrupt politicians and that goes in Dana Point as well. If Council had a spine they would have allowed the measure to sink or swim on its own. Instead they
          launch this fake measure to confuse everyone. if they win on I it will be a disgusting victory of dirty politics over the will of the people. The three shameful Musketeers (Tomlinson, Viczorek and Muller) should be recalled — right now! Are you a Lantern District property owner LTR? Come on. Own up. You want these corrupt politicians to prop up your property value, don’t you? Keep writing checks and you can buy the next election too.

  • LTR:
    1. Glad to see you understand that the payback time on the Lantern District investment of $20 to $26 million is an absurd 38 years. Dana Point taxpayers should ask why city management and the council would commit to such an indefensible investment of public funds. Their collective incompetence is very evident. Do you think any council members who signed off on this decision deserve reelection?
    2. Why should taxpayer funds go to expand public parking for the Lantern District? Shouldn’t the parking needs generated by present users and future development be covered with assessments on the commercial property owners generating the need? My view of the current financial situation for our city says we cannot afford to pay for parking needs. All our funds are already tied up in the Lantern District.
    3. As to your comments about no parking shortage in Dana Point, you should go press that point with people who live in the Lantern district and along Santa Clara. They watch valets park cars on their residential streets every night. I don’t think that would go over well in my neighborhood. Will Lantern Bay Estates open up to take some of the overflow too? The city badly needs to solve this problem but not on the back of the taxpayers.

    • Long-Time Resident Reply

      Frank U. & SL:

      1a) The approx. $20 million we spent on TC was irrelevant to the point of my initial post, which is that if Measure H passes, there will be less net income available to fund the Doheny revitalization. To understand the context of why she brought that subject up, listen to her first public comment at the last CC meeting.

      2a) Since about 1/2 of our tax revenue comes directly and directly from tourists, “taxpayers of Dana Point” only paid about 1/2 of the cost of the LD investment. Ms. Nelson may not have been aware of that so I just pointed it out.

      1b) Payback would take longer than 38 years if some of the added revenue from the LT build-out has to be spent on added parking. Of course I understand it since I did the calculation. I remember that most of our population initially supported the LT construction, so I wouldn’t hold that against the Council members who voted for it.

      2b) Expansion of public parking would be paid for by the estimated $4.2 million in developer fees, and $672K/year in increased sales and property taxes at full-buildout, with a lot still left over. If Measure H passes, then there will be less revenue, but less need for additional parking.

      3b) Every time I go downtown (about once a week), there’s always an abundance of free space. Probably Santa Clara and other streets are used by valets because it’s more convenient. Once a parking district is setup like there is near DHHS, that problem will be mitigated. Some of the area is in a coastal zone, so it will take longer to implement since it requires Coastal Commission approval. In addition, the parking district won’t be as effective as the one near DHHS since the CC won’t allow no parking without a permit.

      • Mary Therese Spivey Reply

        LTR

        Do you think by using a fake name you are protecting your privacy and hiding who you really are to the world?

        Your fake name does not prevent anyone from knowing the Real You, so why not come forward and use your Real Name online?

        Why not own your words and thoughts by attaching them to your Real Being? Why not step forward from the darkness and into the light to place who you are and what you believe directly on the record of life?

        • Long-Time Resident Reply

          Ad hominem arguments are the specialty of many Measure H proponents, attack the person if you can’t argue the facts. Can you make a coherent retort to my claim that if Measure H passes, less money will be available to fund the goals of Capo Cares ?

      • LTR
        I like that you throw around data but have issues with your interpretations of same.

        2a) Dana Point revenue is the property of the city and its taxpayers regardless of where it comes from. To argue that because half of city receipts are from visitors the taxpayers only paid for half of the LD is sophistry. No way around the fact that we put $20 – $26 million of the taxpayers money into this boondoggle.

        2b) Your conclusion about parking is that we should use developer impact fees and increased revenue generated in the LD to pay for parking in the LD. That is just more money spent in the LD. The residents of Capo Beach were ill served when $3.5 million from the sale of city assets in Capo Beach was transferred into the general funds and then into the $20 -$26 million spent in the LD. Revenue from the LD, when it comes – over the next 30 years – could fund potentially more dynamic parts of the city, like Doheny Village and Capo Beach.

        If the projected thirty eight year payout for Lantern district investments is absurd then putting any more money into it is also absurd. The taxpaying residents of Dana Point wont stand for it.

        But that said, thanks for using facts to make your argument. Made up names are fine and having this dialogue helps everybody understand the different positions that are driving so much commentary to this site and the newspaper.

  • Oh LTR, what are we going to do with you?? You seem convinced that Measure H will stop all development in Town Center. Let’s think a little. How many projects have already come in that would satisfy the Measure H requirements? What about Union Bank? What about the restaurants? What about the thousands of examples of responsible development up and down the coast that would meet Measure H goals and seem to do just fine? Do you really believe that development in Town Center is so unique or difficult that it is impossible to make money if one provides adequate parking or sticks to 3 stories and 40 feet? That’s just plain silly. The Keyser Marston report, delivered by a paid consultant to a Council that was looking for a certain answer, was a report that didn’t even provide key assumptions that could be checked for reasonableness. In addition, it focused only on three handpicked mixed use projects.

    We have a beautiful town with gorgeous views and lots of potential for growth. Between the Raintree apartments and the Union Bank project we already have about 150 of the 230 or so residential units the plan calls for. Theres’ plenty of additional space to build more apartments if that’s what you’re focused on. I was hoping for a lot more commercial space myself, but that’s ok. We really don’t have to cut corners on parking or give away tons of concessions to attract investors. Come on. Have a little belief in your own town. Responsible development happens in towns up and down the California coast. You don’t have to demonize people who disagree with you, and you don’t have to hide behind a moniker. And tying the future of Doheny Village to the Lantern District is just another desperate attempt to scare people into voting for I. There’s not much money left anyways, and people are going to have to work creatively with developers to make it happen. It would be great if Town Center suddenly creates a load of money, but it sounds like your plans for a parking structure will take care of that anyways. Will expenditure in Town Center EVER end??

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