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By Breeana Greenberg

The Dana Point Planning Commission on Monday, April 25, set its new leadership for the year, assigning Commissioner John Gabbard to the position of chair and Commissioner Ashok Dhingra to the role of vice-chair.

Gabbard, who has been on the commission since March 2021, succeeds fellow Commissioner Eric Nelson as the chair. Nelson, a commissioner since March 2017, was thanked by his colleagues for his service during his turn as the head of the commission.

“Thank you for giving us great service in the past year in your chairmanship; really appreciate your leadership,” Commissioner Mary Opel said.

“Well, thank you very much, it’s been an honor to sit in the middle,” Nelson responded. “I’m looking forward to … doing a little different role up here.”

Nelson also said he’s looking forward to watching Gabbard at the helm, with Dhingra, the city’s newest planning commissioner, appointed in October 2021, serving alongside him as vice-chair.

“I’d like to congratulate Commissioners Gabbard and Dhingra on their new elections and pass the baton. Congratulations,” said Commissioner Roy Dohner, the outgoing vice-chair.

Gabbard and Dhingra will begin their new positions at the next regularly scheduled Planning Commission Meeting on May 9.

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