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By Lillian Boyd, Dana Point Times

The Planning Commission unanimously approved a coastal development permit, site development permit and conditional use permit for the developments at 24442, 24452 and 22470 Del Prado Avenue in the Lantern District of Dana Point.

City staff recommended that the commission approve a request to demolish the existing structures and develop a new mixed-use development with roughly 10,000 square feet of commercial space and 68 residential units, including 12 age-restricted senior citizen housing units and a subterranean garage. The developments are located within the coastal overlay district, meaning the commission’s approval is required.

Following city staff’s presentation on the project, Karen Martin of Pacific Planning Group spoke on behalf of the applicants in regard to questions on parking options and history on the property. It is important to note that the site is currently legal nonconforming, and 30 residential units do not share parking requirements with retail space, she said.

“The property owner owns this property as a family trust,” Martin said. “They’ve owned it for 13 years and have every intention of holding the property. It’s being developed by grandchildren of the original owners. The same owners redeveloped Coastal Kitchen with a smooth-faced stucco color scheme and high-quality materials. The same high quality will be implemented into this development.”

Several members of the community spoke during the public hearing for the application.

“Thank God we have storey poles. The height just looks like it will be enormous. Will we lose that ocean breeze? We have a lot of tourists that come to Dana Point for that experience,” said Carol Kelly, a Dana Point resident. “The design looks sterile and boxy. If the design could be more warm, be reduced in height . . . I don’t want our Town Center to be cold-looking.”

Jason Check of Raintree Partners spoke during the hearing as well.

“We are here in support of another project that brings more business to Dana Point,” Check said. “We are very committed to the downtown plan. We’re excited to see a project that conforms to that plan.”

Planning Commissioner Scott McKhann commended the attendees of the meeting for taking the time to look at the details of the project and consider its impact on the community.

“I’m grateful to live in a community where there is so much public interest,” McKhann said. “(This project) will become a future fabric of Dana Point. . . . But there are some concerns we cannot address.”

McKhann said the commission’s hands are tied in regard to zoning code, height setbacks and parking requirements.

“We evaluate a project in relation to compliance and how it fits into the (Town Center) plan,” McKhann said.

Commissioners echoed enthusiasm for the project and appreciation for public interest before they unanimously approved the requests for permits.

WHAT’S NEXT: The next regularly scheduled Planning Commission meeting will be held Monday, March 25 at 6 p.m. at the Dana Point Council Chamber at city hall.

To view the full agenda and hearing notices for more information on the projects, visit

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About The Author Dana Point Times

comments (3)

  • Long-Time Resident Reply

    Measure H guarantees that all new development will be “enormous”, because only large projects will be able to economically meet Measure H’s stringent parking requirements. The city would have been better off if we had stuck with “shared parking”, but the Measure H proponents knew better – or so they thought.

    • I have to disagree. The whole point of measure H is to ensure that developers don’t build without adequate onsite parking. You don’t think the developers would cram even more units onto the land if parking minimums were not required? You think the opposite would happen? Wow?

      You only need to look at other towns where meter parking is everywhere, and unattractive paid parking garages.. You will find in those locations there is very little onsite parking.

      congested street parking is the opposite of the laid back beach vibe I want to see.

  • This project is the first major development approved since Measure H was passed, and it contains 68 apartments with an average of only 736 sqft per unit. Since developers are limited to 3 stories, it doesn’t seem like any more units could have been crammed into that space. So the answer to your first question is no. As to whether or not fewer, but presumably larger, units would have been built if we had kept the option of lessened parking requirements in return for “shared” parking, I don’t have an opinion.

    The point of my post was that due to economies of scale, Measure H’s inefficient parking requirements guarantee that only large projects will be built in the Lantern District, yet some of Measure H’s ardent backers are complaining about the size of this one.

    Regardless of intentions, Measure H was counterproductive in ignoring the recommendations of consultant Nelson Nygaard to allow shared parking in return for fewer spaces per project.

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