LETTER TO THE EDITOR
LETTER TO THE EDITOR

By Steve Stewart, Dana Point

Carlos’s deceptive guest opinion in the Feb. 19 edition of this paper deserves a response. While it was wrong on many levels I will just hit the high points.

First: Why did he cast a vote against the deceptive new city initiative during the council meeting Feb. 2 and then turn around and write an article praising that very same initiative on Feb. 19? If it was wrong on Feb. 2, why is it right now? Or did he just make a mistake when he voted “no” in the first place? He should have explained his contradictory actions in his article.

Carlos dissembles about the real purpose behind the 2015 Town Center Initiative in his article. He knows that the 2015 Initiative is on the ballot because over 4,200 Dana Point residents are fighting back. They want building height in Town Center limited to 40 feet and three stories, as called for in the 2008 Town Center plan.

They want buildings that combine retail/commercial space with residential use and adequate levels of parking for all. Instead we are getting buildings that are overwhelming residential, the prime example being the three enormous Majestic buildings, each with elevator towers up to 58 feet in height and four stories, putting 109 condos and their residents on 2.2 acres in down town. Generous parking variances were granted to the developer to make the deal even sweeter.

Voters are righteously upset that Carlos and other councilmen voted to ignore our Town Center Plan and override their own Planning Commission when they approved plans for these buildings in 2014. After Carlos was elected mayor, he led a vote to fire the objecting Planning commissioners and appoint his own hand-picked commissioners. Now he and three other current city council members are offering their own deceptive initiative to nullify the intent of the 2015 Initiative endorsed by so many voters. Why? If their initiative is approved they will have carte blanche to do whatever they want in Town Center, now renamed the Lantern District.

Voters should also know that in 2014, Carlos voted with councilmen Steven Weinberg and Bill Brough to spend over $20 million of city funds on street improvements for Del Prado and PCH, claiming the road work and streetscape expenditure would help create a vibrant commercial district. Their rationale was that if we just changed the streets, businesses would come to PCH and Del Prado. Instead traffic is now arguably worse and we are getting a condo district instead of tax revenue generating business. On top of that, the development impact fees generated from projects built in the Lantern District will ultimately pay back only 15 percent of the money that the city spent on the Lantern District streets.  How will we ever get our misspent $20 million investment back? We won’t. What did we get for our money? Condos and traffic.

Please vote “no” on the city’s ballot measure on June 7 and remember to let Carlos know how you feel about his decisions when you vote at the polls this November.

 

[box style=”rounded”]EDITOR’S NOTE: To clarify the 58-foot height measurements allowed as part of the Majestic project: There are three elevator/utility shafts (one on each of three buildings) that measure 54, 57 and 58 feet. The Town Center Plan and building code, without variances, allow for elevators to provide ADA access to the rooftops. The elevator towers rise 14, 17 and 18 feet, respectively, above the 40-foot maximum building height. The towers take up less than 500 square feet (less than 1 percent) of the 70,000 square feet of roof space. According to plans, all three towers are set back at least 5 feet from the street-front sides of the buildings and are situated so as not to block ocean views from adjacent properties. Also allowed without a variance, are screening for rooftop mechanical equipment and rooftop perimeter walls, both at 42 inches. There were no height variances granted to the Majestic project. Regarding the four-story buildings: The areas of the project that have four stories contain four levels of residences within the 40-foot height limit and are the same height (40 feet) as the three-story sections. The three-story sections will house 18-foot retail spaces on the ground level, topped with two stories of residential. [/box]

 

 

 

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comments (10)

  • We totally agree with Steve Stewart, well written, well reasoning.

    We must conclude that Carlos Olvera was bought!

    Our city governing body spent thousands of dollars (our hard-earned-tax payments) in creating the “deceptive new city initiative”, and in purposely confusing voters with this “deceptive new city initiative”.

    The “2015 Town Center Initiative” was submitted by thousands of signatures, by our town citizens/volunteers, not by spending tax payment dollars. Please vote for this initiative, write down and take it with you to the poll. Don’t let them confuse us.

    They have been enjoying and wasting our tax payments in the millions of dollars, let’s not allow them to rob our intelligence just because we are trusting them.

  • It’s shameful that our Council, which purports to represent us, the citizens of Dana Point, thinks it’s ethical ( if even legal) to launch their own initiative to compete with one legally created by voters for voters. If they had confidence in the rationale of their behavior (granting variances to a developer for high density apartments, clearly outside the Town Center Plan and negating the Planning Commission decision) they would have trusted voters to choose yes or no at the voting booth. Instead, they chose to confuse citizens with a second initiative that they admitted has NO real effect except to negate the citizens initiative.

    Choosing a name that so closely resembles the citizens’ initiative, and then having the gall to tack on “public parking improvement” to a Council measure that actually REDUCES public parking, had to have been taken from Chicago’s political playbook. And the icing on the cake is that Patrick Munoz, who was responsible for drafting the Council initiative, is now going to do the “impartial analysis” of both. How do these guys sleep at night? If the Council initiative passes it will be a sad day for Dana Point indeed, for it will be seen by these unethical politicians and their developer and Chamber backers as a mandate for more political hijinks.

    Don’t be confused. Vote yes on H – hope for the Citizens of Dana Point, and no on I, the Council’s shameful lie!

  • Steve Stewart is absolutely right. As a 35 year resident and dp business owner I am appalled at the direction our
    city council has taken us. It’s very apparent that 4 out 5 council members are owned by developers.
    Help take back our city before it becomes another Long Beach. Don’t be confused by the councils deceptive ballot measure. VOTE YES ON THE 2015 TOWN CENTER INITIATIVE

    VOTE NO ON CITY COUNCILS INITIATIVE DON’T BE DECEIVED

  • Steve is right. 2015 Town Center Initiative is the only way to save Dana Point from over development.

    The city council will continue to try to confuse us. Vote yes for 2015 Town Center Initiative.

  • Carlos still has not said why he voted NO on the I initiative as a council member and then wrote his article endorsing the I initiative for this newspaper. What is up with that? He could just write a letter to the Dana Point Times and explain himself.

  • Good point, Steve, but isn’t the bigger issue why Carlos Olvera, as an elected official, is taking a stand on an issue in direct opposition to his constituents? Does he really have so little respect for the people of Dana Point that he openly campaigns to negate .Measure H – an initiative that was signed by 4,200 people? This is a shameful act that is likely not even legal.

    And worse, he endorsed using taxpayer funds to write Measure I – the Council’s initiative that was intended to create confusion and interfere with the citizens’ initiative. That’s our money, not yours, Mr. Olvera! How dare you act in such open contempt of the electoral process?

    And who will support this ill conceived Measure I? Let’s see how many of your developer friends jump on that band wagon? You should hang your head in shame, Mr. Olvera!

    • Spending taxpayer funds on ethically questionable city ventures like Initiative I is nothing new to Carlos. He has been on the city council since 2012 while several hundred thousand dollars in legal fees was spent on the Strands Gate lawsuits. He could have moved to stop that rather than putting city resources in service of a real estate developer’s interests. And the city’s legal case was so merit less it lost four times in court. There are more developments coming in that case.

      Dana Point residents and taxpayers are not served by this council. We need new city council members who represent us first, not more Carlos.

  • Vote YES on H – NO on I – Dana Point – PLEASE let the citizens rule –

  • Editor,
    Why did you delete all the comments prior to March 28th?

    Also what needs to be emphasized is granting a variance to increase to 4 stories rather than 3 increases the density with out providing appropriate parking.

    Also, now in the updated plan, they will be renters rather than owners.

    • No comments have been deleted. Perhaps the comments you are referring to are attached to a different article.
      An April 8 story, “Majestic/Raintree Project Demo to Begin Next Week,” reported Raingtree Partners’ plan for the former Majestic project. Read it here:

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