258-room hotel plans to be presented at Planning Commission meeting November 18

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By Andrea Papagianis

A month after the public comment period regarding the 258-room Doheny Hotel proposal ended, the developer held the first of what he called many public presentations Wednesday morning at a Monarch Beach Sunrise Rotary Club meeting.

The proposal lays out plans for a two- to five-story hotel on 1.5 acres across three contiguous lots at the corner of Dana Point Harbor Drive and Pacific Coast Highway. The site currently houses a Jack in the Box, a vacant liquor store and the 46-room Dana Point Harbor Inn, all of which would be demolished. Plans for the hotel include conference rooms, restaurants, rooftop amenities like a pool and bar and an underground parking structure with about 275 spaces.

Michael Draz, CEO of the development firm Beverly Hills Hospitality Group, started acquiring the land in 2006. Draz was on hand for the meeting and said he planned to hold similar presentations with other local groups to address concerns raised by residents, including parking, traffic and aesthetics.

The proposal was introduced in 2011 and after a public scoping meeting and numerous responses raised issue with the plan, the city determined an environmental-impact report was necessary. The draft report was released earlier this summer for public review.

In response to concerns, the developer is proposing adding a right-turn-only lane from eastbound PCH to Dana Point Harbor Drive, where the hotel’s entrance will be, and widening the roadway at Park Lantern to allow for U-turns, said Coralee Newman, with Government Solutions Inc., the developer’s communications consultant who gave the presentation.

To move forward as planned, the developer would need a variance for the city’s height limit of 35 feet, said Ursula Luna-Reynosa, the city’s community development director. The proposed hotel varies in height from two stories to five, with its highest point standing at 60.5 feet tall.

The EIR reflects a height of 86.5 feet, but did not account for the site’s elevation, Luna-Reynosa said. Staff is correcting the document, but not recirculating it she said, because the impact is being lessened as opposed to increased.

Newman said without a height variance approval, room numbers and amenities would be cut, meaning the hotel could not qualify for its four-star status goal. Newman said major hotel chains, like the Hyatt Hotels Corporation, have expressed interest in the property.

According to Newman and Draz, starting room rates at the hotel would be about $250 with a three to four percent rate increase each year thereafter. The hotel is expected to add an additional $1.5 million to the city’s revenues from transient occupancy taxes, a 10 percent tax placed on short-term rentals like hotels, motels, campsites, and come January, on vacation rentals of less than 30 days.

The preliminary report along with public comments and responses from the city will be included in a final analysis and presented to the Planning Commission on Monday, November 18, Luna-Reynosa said. The presentation will act as an information session, no vote will be taken. At the meeting, both the developer and public will be given time to address the commission.

A public hearing will follow on December 9. Planning Commission meetings at held at City Hall, Council Chambers, located at 33282 Golden Lantern. Meetings begin at 6 p.m.

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comments (2)

  • Due to our recent website update, some comments had to be transferred manually. This post does not reflect the time comments were originally posted. Please see the time stamp below the commenter’s provided name for the original posting date and time.

    Jim Slark
    October 10, 2013 at 9:46 PM

    2006, huh? I haven’t googled it yet, but when did the effort to throw the people out of the trailer park begin? And the bridge to nowhere? Taking this into consideration why the drama? There is absolutely no doubt of this taking place. And $1.5 million, huh? jeez, that’s enough to build the people of Dana Point a nice new pool, huh? Be nice to see that in the budget. And jeez, just who is benefitting from all this money pouring into Dana Point. Someone is, I assure you. Maybe we need to start looking into some of these deals. I mean, jeez, all these millions, and just what we have We the People gained in return, beside a lot more traffic and reduced attention to our streets. Surely not the pools and golf courses neighboring cities have. And they’re not rich like we are.

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    Jim Slark
    October 10, 2013 at 10:17 PM

    Why is my post awaiting moderation? I just made another one and it required no moderation. I think you are censoring me. I’ve asked some serious questions, and I think they deserve thought and maybe be some information in reply.

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    BassMasta
    October 10, 2013 at 10:40 PM

    Just what we need – another luxury hotel. There goes our beach town. 4 Stories is too high on that corner.

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    Dean
    October 11, 2013 at 1:02 PM

    I do appreciate the city’s due diligence with respect to increased revenues but don’t we already have a 4 star Marriott what 100 yards away? That said, a two story would be OK by me if traffic is managed. Finally, another new hotel in this economy? Their crystal ball must be a heck of lot better than mine.

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    BassMasta
    October 12, 2013 at 9:24 AM

    I don’t understand how this project is not within the Coastal Commission’s jurisdiction, but the 241 toll road was? This area seems a lot closer to the ocean than the freeway.

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    Courtney Huber
    October 12, 2013 at 9:32 AM

    The sketch is nice looking, but it appears that the corner would block residential views. I also do not want the city to allow five stories which would set a precedence. That intersection is going to be a complete nightmare if all the corners get built-up like this. Additionally, the side set-back to PCH appears to way too short and will feel like downtown LA. I believe that people should be able to develop their property, but they purchased the property knowing the zoning rules when they purchased it. The height and side setback are wrong for the city and would set a precedence.

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    Paul
    October 16, 2013 at 9:16 AM

    Variances are heard case-by-case and conditions are unique to each property. Therefore, no conditions granted in a variance would set a precedence. The hotel will cause more traffic but the impact appears to be minimized because of the access on Dana Point Harbor Dr. is right turn only. Hopefully the hotel will offer shuttle service to local business to additionally reduce traffic.

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    Dan B
    October 14, 2013 at 8:09 AM

    I would much rather have a nice hotel versus an empty liquor store and transient people sitting around panhandling. The city spent a lot of money on that bridge welcoming people to Dana Point only to have them see a Denny’s, vacant lot, empty liquor store and a gas station. Building a new hotel has to make financial sense for the developer. Maybe there needs to be some design modification to meet city criteria. However, why doesn’t the city focus on making things happen versus getting in the way. After all, they are the ones who profit regardless of how much revenue the hotel makes. Plus there will be additional jobs for the local community. It also may spur other development in that specific area. Make it happen City of Dana Point.

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    Paul
    October 16, 2013 at 9:21 AM

    I agree Dan. This is the gateway to Dana Point that needs excellent development. Regarding design, I Like it but I need to take a closer look at renderings. I would probably agree with the initial design because I think each property should be unique which makes buildings and the city very interesting.

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    philip krajeski
    October 17, 2013 at 11:33 AM

    I would be interested in occupancy rates of the present hotels. Are they 90-100% occupied all year? Are they turning away guests for lack of available rooms? To an earlier poster’s comment, do we need another hotel?

    I also agree with no wavering on the height ordinance, 35 feet is the limit and it should stay that way. Changing it sets a precedent and I am not concerned with the effect of that restriction on the # of stars the hotel will receive.

    Instead of creating this 250 room behemoth, why not convert the Harbor Inn property into a high end, boutique style hotel, with 50-75 rooms, keeping it under the 35 feet limit. They could draw the same level of clientele as the Ritz Carlton and that is actually a hotel type that Dana Point does not presently have.

    Save Dana Point.

  • Whether we like it or not, this project will probably go through but let’s minimize the impact and keep the zoning height at 35′.

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