Keith Johannes, Dana Point
A recent Dana Point City Council action needs to be revisited.
The process for the action taken on the March 18 consent calendar item No.16, regarding Lantern District entry feature concepts, was not open to the public.
The current version of the up-coast entry feature at Blue Lantern was reported as developed and approved by a working group, comprised of two council members, city staff, paid consultants, representatives of the development and restaurant communities and the Chamber of Commerce. It is not listed as an official committee on the city website.
There was no information available to the public before the item was placed on the City Council agenda as a consent calendar item. So, if for no other reason, the gateway features site plan illustrated (above) should be reexamined because of the lack of public input and review. Other problems with the entry feature include the visual imbalance between the Del Prado Avenue and the Pacific Coast Highway entrances to the Lantern District and the confusion it is likely to create.
The Dana Point Town Center Plan calls for a signage and banner program, which creates a unified design reflecting the character of the Town Center, now named the Lantern District. However, no explanation of other poles with cables, or arches with signs, was mentioned in any other place in the Lantern District.
In fact, there was no coordination with the entrance feature at the Copper Lantern down-coast entrance for which the working group is also reviewing concepts for changing the current “Town Center” sign.
Why authorize the two entry features at the up-coast entry at a stated cost of $655,000 now without an overall plan? A tremendous amount of time was spent by the Town Center subcommittee and Dana Point residents on a plan that emphasized specially treated visual gateways. I do not think we are there yet.
A unified plan honoring the concentration of historic buildings at this couplet is needed as an introduction to the entire Lantern Village.