By Kristina Pritchett

The Dana Point Planning Commission is recommending the City Council approve a zone text amendment that would allow the use of fully retractable gates in the Strand community.

The amendment would permit the use of retractable gates at the mid-strand beach access point, the central strand upper access point and the central strand lower access point.

The commission voted 5-0 in favor of sending the recommendation to the Council during the public hearing on July 25.

“I think that these gates are a good balance,” said Commissioner April O’Connor. “There are two trails which are 24-hour access [points.]”

Kevin Darnall, President of the Strand’s homeowner association, told the commission the Strand association supports the amendment because there has been vandalism and residents have called the police multiple times.

O’Connor said she believes the addition of the gates would be a way to protect the residents and property and increase public safety.

In April 2016, Coastal Commission staff recommended a settlement agreement, which put an end to six years of litigation over the gates and closing hours. The settlement included an agreement to modify the local coastal development program to include the approval of designated hours of operations for the access areas.

Since it requires a change of city law, the amendment needs City Council approval. If the City Council approves the amendment, it will then go to the California Coastal Commission for approval.

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comments (5)

  • They lie. Leave it open 24/7. Vandalism my … My street never closes. I’m not worried

  • They’re just selfish. No one causes problems there. The homes destroy the view and limit our beach access!

  • The article didn’t mention the hours of gate access the Planning Commission is recommending. I certainly hope any restriction to access would be at most 5 am to 10 pm. This is the access that was agreed to long ago and is stated in the settlement agreement. It is time to finish this ugly episode of city history. Beachgoers should not be denied the joys of sunrises and sunsets at Strands Beach. While the previous comments make the point Dana Point neighborhoods are extremely safe and local law enforcement does an excellent job, if someone feels the need to lock the gates between 10 pm and 5 am and can do so without hindering the community, then I can understand the city supporting that position.

    • The times of the gates being closed, if they are approved, would be for the times that was agreed with the settlement.

  • There is, has, and always will be 24 hour open access on either side of that development. The center access is very dark at night, crosses private streets three times and is very, very steep. Let’s give the City some credit for keeping public safety in mind. The beach itself is pitch black and dangerous at night. Who wants to go to a pitch black beach anyway? Crystal Cove Beach closes at sunset for public safety, and is really hard to get to. I think we are lucky to be able to have this nice access and everyone should just get along. Let’s work on keeping our beaches clean instead!

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