Betty Hill, Dana Point

The Dana Point City Council will soon be appointing two new Planning Commissioners to join the three whose terms will not expire until 2019. These Commissioners have the power to approve or deny projects developers submit to them, including decisions on parking, variances or other possible concessions. The future of Dana Point is in their hands. Although their willingness to serve is appreciated, they have little or no direct accountability to the people of Dana Point.

In 2015, the City Council, including Councilmen Viczorek, Tomlinson and Muller, took the unprecedented action of asking for the resignations of all the existing Commissioners. This resulted in the replacement of two extremely experienced and dedicated Commissioners, who acted responsibly by not approving the controversial Majestic project in Town Center that did not adhere in significant ways to the Town Center Plan supported by the residents.

The newly appointed Commissioners then voted to approve a parking plan for Town Center in spite of opposition from the public. This plan became the basis of Measure I, which was overwhelming rejected by the residents. The three existing Commissioners have the majority votes necessary to make decisions and set precedents. Can Dana Point residents have confidence in the Planning Commission?

The city is in the process of accepting applications for the openings. Hopefully our new Council will vet their applicants carefully regarding not only their qualifications but their responsibility to represent the people of Dana Point. The new Planning Commission should then join the City Council’s efforts to keep the residents fully informed and be accountable for their actions.

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