The article you’re about to read is from our reporters doing their important work — investigating, researching, and writing their stories. We want to provide informative and inspirational stories that connect you to the people, issues and opportunities within our community. Journalism requires lots of resources. Today, our business model has been interrupted by the pandemic; the vast majority of our advertisers’ businesses have been impacted. That’s why the DP Times is now turning to you for financial support. Learn more about our new Insider’s program here. Thank you.

DP logoBy Betty Hill, Capistrano Beach

The 2015 Town Center Initiative, Measure H, is endorsed by thousands of Dana Point residents. Measure I, put on the ballot by the City Council, is backed and being heavily funded by developers and outside special interests. Only Measure H supports the provisions of the 2008 Town Center Plan (Lantern District Plan) approved by the Community:

·     Measure H promotes the Town Center Plan’s goal to “improve Town Center as one of the city’s primary shopping districts with a small town village atmosphere.”

·     The 2008 plan states that parking is critical to Town Center success. Measure H contains the 2008 Town Center Plan’s requirement that projects provide “the minimum number of parking stalls by use, as detailed in the Dana Point Zoning Code.”

·    Ground floor retail is required with residences allowed only on upper floors, as stated in the 2008 Town Center Plan.

·     The 40-foot height and three story limits of the 2008 plan must be enforced.

·     Measure H requires voter approval for major changes with variances per the Dana Point code.

Measure I is a Lantern District Plan as amended on September 15, 2015. Measure I will cancel Measure H if Measure I receives more votes. Measure I and the Council’s approach for Town Center:

·     Measure I reduces the business element and promotes extra floors of high-density residential development.

·     It drastically reduces the parking requirements without reference to the Dana Point zoning code.

·     Commercial and restaurants only need two spaces per 1,000 square feet and one-bedroom units require one parking space.

·     Overflow parking from development will overwhelm public parking and impact our neighborhoods with no long-term solution planned.

·     Businesses will not be attracted to Town Center and existing businesses will suffer.

·     The plan can be changed with three votes of the City Council.

Residents deserve the 2008 Town Center Plan they were promised. Development is underway with multiple projects that adhere to the 2008 Plan, including one recently approved at Golden Lantern and Pacific Coast Highway. Measure H promotes responsible, fair and consistent development following the 2008 Town Center Plan. Vote yes on H and no on I. 

This letter was respectfully submitted by Betty Hill, on behalf of members of Dana Point Residents for Responsible Development.

Trustworthy, accurate and reliable local news stories are more important now than ever. Support our newsroom by making a contribution and becoming a subscribing member today.

About The Author Dana Point Times

comments (17)

  • “The plan can be changed with three votes of the City Council.”

    Betty Hill’s above statement provides the most important reason for voting YES on H. The Town Center Plan was carefully vetted by/for the people of Dana Point in a deliberate and open public process. H ensures that ongoing and future development within the town center adheres to the very successful Town Center Plan.

    Should the non-vetted privately schemed “I” proposal pass, all the past citizen effort and compromise could inevitably be tossed aside by quick future votes of a mere 3 council members, thus inviting all special interests to a pay-to-play game with the city officials. It is obvious the real underlying purpose of the privately schemed “I” proposal is to ensure a larger flow of special interest money and favors into the hands of city officials. For developers, they are salivating at having to only sway ($$) the votes of 3 members if the privately schemed “I” proposal passes.

    Residents should vote YES on H to keep the successful Town Center Plan intact.

    • Working forward to a victory tomorrow as even more of our lawn signs are appearing every day. Where is the victory party tomorrow evening?

  • Where can I pick up some lawn signs? Thank you, Tom

  • “The plan can be changed with three votes of the common council.”

    Looks like the politicians want to enact a pay-to-play game with their privately-schemed “I” proposal. Special interests, aka developers, are salivating at the prospect of only needing 3 council members in their pocket and an open door to rewriting the entire Town Center Plan without input from residents. Should they get their way, I predict even more corruption and wasted taxes in city hall in the years to come.

    Betty Hill is correct….Vote YES on H to save OUR publicly-vetted Town Center Plan.

  • “The 40-foot height and three story limits of the 2008 plan must be enforced.”

    Betty Hill also correct to point out that this provision of 2008 is an essential requirement of both the citizen’s publicly-vetted 2008 Town Center Plan and likewise, the YES on H initiative, which by the way, was brought forth with the backing of over 4200 Dana Point voters on a signed petition.

    We can all bet that if the privately-schemed “I” proposal wins, then outside special interests (wealthy developers) would immediately repeal the height limit (via a few timely campaign donations to just 3 council members) in order to shoe-horn a 5, 7 or 10-story view-blocking structures next door to existing small single story buildings.

    Betty Hill and the 4240 petition signers are correct…Vote YES on H to save and to keep intact OUR publicly-vetted Town Center Plan.

  • It should be noted that a vote for YES on H will result in far less future litigation costs for taxpayers.

    Should the privately schemed “I” proposal be enacted it is likely future reckless development projects will be subject to legal challenges by the Coastal Commission and/or affected adjoining businesses and residents, as we can be sure developers will attempt to exceed existing codes and limits. Because the privately schemed “I” proposal does not provide for adequate public disclosure, review or debate, those reckless projects will have a much higher litigation risk for all affected.

    Furthermore, as has been demonstrated with the Strand gate scandal, city officials will be tempted to again raid the city treasury to pay back their financial benefactors. They have already established a precedent of providing city attorney legal services at no cost for a wealthy developer for mere gate accessibility. Litigation costs for a few extra floors of a towering structure on Del Prado would not only be born by taxpayers again, but would be substantially more than the $1 mil + taxpayers subsidized for a wealthy developer’s gate accessibility problem.

    So, adding to Betty Hill’s list, a vote of YES on H and NO on I will provide for far less future litigation risks for city taxpayers, existing Lantern District residents, businesses and property owners. And less corporate welfare (i.e. free legal services) for wealthy developers.

  • Betty, if H is designed to be the 2008 Town Center Plan, why does it have so many deletions of Town Center Plan text? Why does it have so much Buck and Betty Hill text inserted? And after answering those questions, why share with us how many of the 30 plus community meetings that were held to develop the Town Center Plan that you and Buck participated in. It be helpful to know how it came about that you became an expert on the goals of the Plan.

    • Still hoping to receive the five lawn signs or if you are short on supply, three would be great. Your email indicated these would be delivered which I really appreciate: 34044 Selva
      Unit 148

    • Plato, it only has deletions of what these developers are wanting or have possibly changed, if we don’t win.

      We need to vote Yes on H, and no on I, or else good luck to any of us that want to casually drive down to one of these restaurants for a nice meal in the evening while trying to find a parking spot for hours! Those new buildings will ruin this city.

      Hell, I wonder what the valet employees would do.

  • Thanks for all the supportive comments. I would like to add that my fear is that if H doesn’t pass, other developers will demand the same variances and exceptions that the City Council allowed for the Majestic/Raintree project. Developers have the money and motivation to threaten lawsuits that the Council would then use as an excuse to agree to their demands.

    One of the main reasons for H is to keep the Majestic/Raintree project from setting a precedent in Town Center. That project does not meet any of the basic requirements of the 2008 Town Center Plan: It allows 4 floors of residential use without ground floor retail use on the Lantern Streets; it has 14 elements over the 40 foot limit, including elevator towers and stairwells to 58 feet; it has several million dollars’ worth of parking concessions; and the huge buildings do not contribute to the desired village atmosphere or meet the set back requirements for the upper floors.

    • Betty, why don’t you answer Plato’s question above?

      Also, none of the 14 rooftop elements in the Raintree project needed a variance – that means they are allowed under the community’s Town Center Plan. That includes the elevators mandated to get disabled people to the allowed roof decks; these “towers” take up a whopping 5% of the rooftop and have no ocean view impacts to Lantern District properties.

      Oh, and I’m looking forward to your personal attack along with your avoiding answering direct questions.

      • Think we may have a case of “pot calling the kettle” here Shawn. I haven’t seen any personal attacks launched by Betty Hill. Actually, it’s Plato who gets very personal and inappropriate. This is a Measure I tactic. Accuse the other side of bullying while your own folks are keying a car, defacing a Measure H table, harassing H workers at a grocery store, and your “hero” Bill Brough is launching hit pieces implying Measure H is supporting tattoo parlors and sober living homes. How about the shameful and very public attack the bead shop owner who dared support H mailed to thousands by your spokesman Bill Brough? Maybe time for I proponents to look in the mirror?

        • Robert, huh? What in Plato’s question is accusing Betty Hill of bullying? He asked a question that has not been answered. If her H measure doesn’t change the town center plan, why does it delete plan language and replace it with her own words?

  • Betty, as asked and ignored by you previously, if H is designed to be the 2008 Town Center Plan, why does it have so many deletions of Town Center Plan text? Why does it have so much Buck and Betty Hill text inserted? And after answering those questions, why share with us how many of the 30 plus community meetings that were held to develop the Town Center Plan that you and Buck participated in. It be helpful to know how it came about that you became an expert on the goals of the Plan.

  • Long-Time Resident Reply

    Video of a pro-H supporter taking a sign from a DP residence. The pro-I people think they know who the woman is. Posted in the comment section of ocdaily.

  • I make all my decions based on lawn signs. No, really!

comments (17)

Your email address will not be published.

You may use these HTML tags and attributes: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>