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Developer gives city first look at project proposed for empty former mobile home park at PCH and Del Obispo

This rendering, provided by Capital Hall Partners, shows a view of their mixed-use project proposed for the vacant land near Pacific Coast Highway and Del Obispo Street, once occupied by a mobile home park.

By Andrea Swayne

Seven years after a mixed-use development was proposed for the 8.9-acre former mobile home park at the gateway to Dana Point, developer Capital Hall Partners gave the Planning Commission and the public a first look at the project. The response seemed to be overwhelmingly positive, due, in part, to the design and amenities, but largely because the applicant is not asking for any variances.

At a study session on Oct. 6, owner, Capital Hall Partners (previously part of A&M Capital Real Estate LLC and now referred to in city documents as AG/A&M Doheny, LLC), along with project manager, Project Dimensions, Inc., presented architectural plans and renderings for the project which would include 168 residential condominiums, 2,471 square feet of commercial space and approximately a half-acre of park land, on the southeast corner of Del Obispo Ave. and Pacific Coast Highway.

Early on in the project—more than five years ago—there was talk of a possible 176 residential units and 20,000 square feet of commercial space allowable on the site.

The plan introduced at the Oct. 6 study session, with its proposed 168 condos and 2,471-square-foot commercial space, is well under the density originally talked about and presented with no requested variances.

“We have really made a conscious effort to work with the community, surrounding neighbors, homeowners and city staff to develop and bring a quality project that the city and community will be very proud of having at the entryway to Dana Point,” Bradley Hall of Capital Hall Partners said. “We made a conscious decision to deliver the highest quality project possible.”

Hall said he and his team made a concerted effort to respond to other public feedback indicating a concern with the amount of traffic and parking issues that would be created with such a large addition of retail space.

Drawing: Courtesy Capital Hall Partners
Drawing: Courtesy Capital Hall Partners

The new plan also has 20 percent more parking than required by city codes. Although the retail will face PCH, all access will be on Del Obispo. And the existing Denny’s restaurant on the corner will be spared.

The required setback also exceeds requirements by including a 55-foot landscaped pedestrian plaza area in front of the PCH-facing retail.

The project design includes three different styles of architecture—meant to blend harmoniously with the design of the pedestrian bridge over PCH—referred to as coastal Mediterranean, beach cottage and coastal contemporary styles. The buildings will be three stories, with residential garages on the first floor and include affordable housing units.


The previous owner, Makar Properties LLC, bought the 90-unit mobile home park on the horseshoe-shaped lot in 2005 and shut it down. By summer 2009, the Planning Commission and City Council had approved Makar’s request for a zoning change from “coastal recreational” to “residential/commercial.” The plan was then sent to the California Coastal Commission for approval.

In 2011, the land, at 34202 Del Obispo Ave., changed hands becoming the property of Capital Hall Partners, which continued to pursue Coastal Commission approval of the zoning change.

In 2012, the plan received an approval by the Coastal Commission, with modifications that included public access and parking for the San Juan Creek Bike Trail, a 25-foot setback and enhanced visitor-serving commercial uses on ground level buildings facing PCH. The Coastal Commission also added a requirement that there be adequate buffer space between the project and land to the north owned by the South Orange County Water Authority. City Council then voted unanimously to approve the General Plan amendment that cleared the way for the project to move forward.

The initial zoning change request in 2009 received no opposition; however, in 2012, the city received pushback from SOCWA and Dana Point resident, Mary Jeffries. SOCWA’s opposition was raised over the possibility of future residents having to deal with potential noise and odor emanating from the water authority’s neighboring land and a belief that the project was not in step with community character. Jeffries collected petitions from residents who agreed with her assertion that the project would bring too much density and parking issues due to her initial impression that it would have no garages.

City staff responded to the opposition with confirmation that the plan design was, at the time, far from finished, garages would have to be included by city code, and when finally submitted, would be subject to the regular developmental review process.

This rendering shows the project as viewed from Del Obispo Street. Renderings provided courtesy of Capital Hall Partners.
This rendering shows the project as viewed from Del Obispo Street. Renderings provided courtesy of Capital Hall Partners.


According to the applicant, issues related to the noise and odor concerns of SOCWA have been mitigated by working together and talking over the issues. Remedies include equipping residences with central air conditioning and constructing units bordering the plant with back walls—closets and bathrooms instead of living spaces—and fixed, in-operable windows facing in that direction.

The effort of Hall’s team to deliver a favorable project seems to have been successful, as evidenced by the positive response at the study session from the planning commissioners and audience members.

Resident Jody Payne said she was “practically swooning” over the fact that the developer was requesting no variances.

“The words ‘no variances required’ is music to everyone’s ears,” said Planning Commissioner Norm Denton.

Commissioner Susan Whittaker said she very much appreciated the applicant embracing the idea of providing an attractive gateway into the city.

“We’ve been waiting about 10 years for this,” she said. “The original attempt was brutal and from my point of view, this is a godsend for the city.”

The next step in the process will be a public hearing, which has been scheduled for Monday, Oct. 27, 6 p.m. at the Dana Point Community Center, 34052 Del Obispo Street.



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comments (3)

  • This article proves that a developer can come into Dana Point with a beautiful project without asking for variances. The Planning Commissioners were so enthusiastic when this one was presented at a workshop a few weeks ago and you just know that every single one of them will vote it through and Dana Point will have a beautifully sensitive project that we can all be proud of for years to come.

    Conversely, all the commotion about the resistance to the Majestic massive project is because it goes against the Town Center Master Plan for height, density and parking issues.
    If the City Council votes on the Majestic appeal to allow them to build their project with all the variances then there’s no stopping the next developer from wanting the same thing and in a few years we’ll look more like Irvine and Anaheim instead of a friendly coastal town.

  • Project looks & sounds great. Any affordable units for senior citizens?

  • Many years ago my great grandfather who was witness to both Capistrano floods in the 1900’s always said those who build down the river to Capistrano from Doheny are fools. The flood control channels that replaced the river are inadequate as proven by the recent collapse the concrete banks in Capistrano. When the next 100 year flood comes anything build in that valley flood zone will be washed away. These areas include from Capistrano to Doheny, Del Obispo down to the ocean. All the homes built in the valley the in the flood zone will be in danger.
    I have many 8×10 glass photo plates in my collection to prove my point.

    Commissioner Susan Whittaker said she very much appreciated the applicant embracing the idea of providing an attractive gateway into the city.

    “We’ve been waiting about 10 years for this,” she said. “The original attempt was brutal and from my point of view, this is a godsend for the city.”

    God will also put you under water and not one city council member , not even Carlos Olvera can stop water when it wants to go.

comments (3)

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