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DP logoNadia Starner, Dana Point

I agree with the letter posted in the June 10-16 issue titled “Poor State Of Affairs.”

After reading the current mayor’s response regarding the passing of measure H, I found myself feeling very disappointed and saddened that he was for larger projects in our area. I assumed after reading his views on the resident’s majority vote on H, he might be a developer or has newly moved to the area and just saw it as opportunity to change for the worst. I then revisited his bio to remind myself why I voted him in and learned again he has been a resident of Dana Point since the 1960s that graduated from Berkeley in economics and geography. This background told me he would be more responsible with our city’s development and changes, that he would hopefully not continue the massive changes that began in 1981 carving through the hillsides and changing the old charm of local shops and Spanish-style homes to a massive amount of Cape Cod-type developments and rows of fast food restaurants lining the Coast Highway.

I look at cities up north like Ventura, Santa Barbara, Camarillo and many others that have developments that match or complement the original charm of the area, and most important, showcase the largest asset… beautiful coastlines. They don’t destroy the history that the original inhabitants built and developed the area with the same manner. San Clemente began like this when Ole Hanson fell in love with the Spanish city by the sea and developed the city to maintain the original charm that made him fall in love with it. But if he could see the greed and selfish development destroying the once beautiful charming surf side city, he would be appalled. The outlet in San Clemente off Pico says it all; a massive structure that blocks the once beautiful view seen from the highway… whose bad idea or decision was this to even have built an outlet mall so close to the beach? Why would the city of San Clemente not do all they could to enhance the city’s most valuable assets: the beaches and coastline?

Dana Point Harbor has destroyed what could have been the most popular and lucrative stretch of coved beach in Southern California. Imagine what it could have been if not for the selfish greedy bad choices of development. If left alone as a park and beach with homes above on the cliffs and hotels along the outer portion, it would have been world-renowned and financially lucrative for all business and residents from tourism.

My uncle came to live in the Palisades in Capistrano Beach in the late ’30s from Greece’s Mediterranean coast. He told my mother, who would later join him in 1947, that this area was so beautiful and reminded him of Greece and the Amalfi Coast. As a young girl, she would walk down the steps from the hillside of Capo Beach from Camino Capistrano to the once-clubhouse and pier at Capo Beach and look in either direction to vast coastline and ask my uncle why he didn’t pick Los Angeles—there is nothing around here. He would say, “That is the beauty of this area. If

I wanted to be in the crowded city, I would live there, but this is paradise.” I am glad he didn’t live to see the continued destruction of paradise.

Our elected officials should remember what this area was like if they grew up here, and others why they fell in love with it when they first came here. I was happy to hear 20 years ago the plans that would bring Coast Highway back to a two-lane highway and slow down the traffic, especially to bring the business back to Del Prado. But to hear the plans for massive mixed-use centers and strip malls throughout is not what will bring in “energy” to the town center. This type of thought from residents tells me that Dana Point and its slow comfortable atmosphere is not for them and they should consider the faster pace of noise, trash and traffic of the now-plastic image of Huntington Beach or Newport Beach.

Tourism is Dana Point’s best financial strength and to keep tourism from being lost from around the world to our charming city, we need to demand responsible development that enhances what is our history and beauty. We cannot afford changes that make this area a haven for drunken boaters and timeshare visitors that destroy the area after the stop at Costco to eliminate the need to spend money at our local eateries or shops. Instead, we should promote our existing small businesses and encourage the same to entice the more savvy travel looking for the beauty of the location and not the large storefronts that block the views or loft living that don’t generate income to the surrounding area.

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comments (4)

  • So if you remove the harbor, and replace it with nothing, tourism would go up? What? It’s one of the few tourist attractions here and a huge money generator. It will be even moreso after the revitalization.

    And what storefronts are blocking views? Certainly nothing in the Lantern District as views aren’t obstructed until 60 feet in building height and nothing comes close to that.

    I’m just going to repost what I said in another comment because it can’t be said enough.

    It’s shocking how many people in this city are against any growth. Guess what? Over time, cities change. If you want a slower pace of life maybe you should move to some place up the central coast or Laguna Woods. We’re in coastal Southern California for gods sake, one of the biggest metropolitan areas in the world and it’s a sad state of affairs when we have a downtown that looks the way it does in this day and age.

  • Dear Lifelong, I and my fellow drivers have already received a slower pace of life courtesy of the new much less navigable PCH. We still have the 18 wheelers on it though. And we can park right beside them in the traffic jams. Additionally, South Orange County is known nationwide for it’s Urban Sprawl not being one of the biggest metro areas in the world. Dana Point will be OK once we forget how good it could have been with a little foresight. Hey, at
    least we didn’t put a zillion outlet stores on the last piece of ocean front property we have!
    Lastly, chill out! Enjoy all those riches coming to you in the future

  • Lifelong DP, it’s strange how for excessive growth you are, to be honest. There is a delicate balance in making an area where locals want to live and where tourists want to move after their visit. Just because we live in an overly-dense Southern California does not mean everyone wants to be overwhelmed by a city atmosphere. People leave the cities to come live in the quiet, but accessible nature of the best beach towns. Sounds like as a lifetimer, you’re unhappy. I felt the same way about my hometown when I left it. Maybe YOU should spend some time in other towns or consider one of the already overdeveloped cities the coast has to offer. Clearly after the vote many, many people would prefer smart, controlled development vs what the city and the major are trying to intensely push.

    Thank you for this letter, Nadia. I completely agree, and support your views. I hope that our current Mayor and the council and staff will get on the same page as town residents, finally take ownership that they’re not meeting the needs of the area, and start preserving Dana Point/Capo Beach history & culture during the years of development. Progressive & respectful *can go hand-in-hand.

  • There is no doubt about the kind of development the majority of Dana Point residents want in our Town Center. With only a handful of votes still uncounted Measure H has 6,445 Yes votes and 4,538 No votes. To put this into perspective in the last City Council election three new councilmen were elected – John Tomlinson received 3,229 votes, Richard Viczorek 3,117 votes and Joe Muller 3,010. Measure H received more than twice as many votes as any of these councilmen. I would say the message from their constituents is very clear.

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