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Nadia 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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