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Jody Payne, Dana Point
Are the citizens of Dana Point aware of the alternate plan for the proposed Doheny Hotel at the corner of Pacific Coast Highway and Dana Point Harbor Drive?
This version actually adds more hotel rooms—now up to 273 from 258. It would take 3/4 acre from Lantern Bay Park to create a driveway and parking for the hotel. The enclosed space would increase to 307,693 square feet, according to the city’s Environmental Impact Report.
The developer is telling us this is a concession, that he is concerned about public opinion and is therefore stepping back the five stories a bit to reduce the visual mass.
I’m sorry if I’m not impressed.
Five stories is still five stories, no matter how you stack it. Five stories is still more than double the height restriction of 35 feet in Dana Point. Please don’t be fooled into thinking this project is a one-time deal. Clearly, if this is approved by the Planning Commission or City Council, we have leaders who want to break rules, set monstrous precedents and turn our beach town into Marina Del Rey.
Many people who drive PCH every day have no idea that this hotel will have a loading zone right on the street. The Beverly Hills developer says they will add a southbound turning lane to alleviate congestion. What they really mean is they will create a loading zone lane just for them. It will cause intolerable congestion, unsafe lanes for bikes and block visibility at a very busy intersection.
Businesses put their loading docks at the back of the building. So it becomes very clear that the developer of the Doheny Hotel considers PCH to be its backside.
Why are we spending tons of money to turn our downtown into a pedestrian-friendly destination, only to make visitors and residents walk through an ugly loading zone? The developer has discussed adding another loading zone on the park side, but what will make them use it?
We all know this area is blighted right now and we all agree that appropriate development will improve the entrance to our city. We will live with this forever, so I implore our city to stick to the rules all the rest of us must follow.
This project is going to the Planning Commission on Monday, Feb. 10. Please attend. It will show our city leaders that we are paying attention to what they are doing and we vote accordingly.