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By Betty Hill, Capistrano Beach

The recent action by the City Council adopting a ballot measure opposing the citizen’s 2015 Town Center Initiative shows a total disregard and lack of respect for the residents of Dana Point. The council admits that voting for their measure will have no effect on existing law. Their measure is meaningless, obviously intended to confuse voters at election time.

Contrary to the council’s pro-development spin, the citizens’ initiative will not stop development in Town Center. In fact, the council has already approved three, huge “Irvine” style condo buildings in Town Center, eliminating several popular businesses. These buildings have 59 foot elevator towers, a variance for a fourth floor of condos, millions of dollars’ worth of parking concessions and go over and under the alleyways to make the buildings larger and more profitable.

The city’s parking plan to drastically reduce the parking requirements for Town Center—such as restaurants to two spaces per 1,000 square feet—doesn’t provide enough parking for residents or employees of the development, let alone customers or the public. It is way too risky and gives developers a very profitable free pass on parking, unfairly transferring the risk and burden to Dana Point taxpayers.

Developers and special interests want the gravy train to continue! They have already received $20 million in street improvements, $6 million in water district improvements, have development fees reduced by approximately 85 percent with little expected return, an expected savings of millions of dollars more in parking reductions and a compliant city council. Taxpayers are expected to pay over and over again.

Should we trust this council to make developers follow the rules of the Town Center Plan? By their actions, this city council has indicated what they intend for Town Center and whom they represent; and it’s not the residents and taxpayers of Dana Point. Please support the 2015 Town Center Initiative on June 7.

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