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By Andrea Papagianis
Orange County’s long-discussed $140 million project to give the aging Dana Point Harbor a facelift is on hold as an appeal works its way through the California Coastal Commission.
After the Planning Commission granted the county a development permit for the revitalization project’s landside element, a recreational boaters group appealed to the City Council.
Plans include the demolition of 13 existing structures and reconstruction of seven commercial buildings with 30,000 square feet of new retail. The county also plans to build a 35,000-square-foot park, a two-level parking structure, and, eventually, a dry-boat storage facility to house 400 vessels.
The five-member council heard comments from boaters who fear the new storage facility will greatly alter the relationship between man and boat. Some also raised concern that certain boating amenities could be negatively impacted, such as parking. Harbor business owners countered, saying residents, businesses and visitors had waited long enough for necessary infrastructure changes.
City council members unanimously denied the appeal.
Boaters 4 Dana Point Harbor took their appeal to the Coastal Commission. Two coastal commissioners also appealed the development permit. A hearing was expected within 49 days of filing at the CCC’s Aug. 13-15 meeting, but a waiver was granted, said Teresa Henry, the CCC’s south coast district manager.
The hearing date has not been rescheduled.