BILL BROUGH, former Dana Point councilmember
Your article “Revisiting Downtown Plan: 15 Years Later, Town Center Plan Still a Work in Progress” missed an opportunity by only interviewing Joel Bishop.
Let’s clarify Town Center’s history. Credit goes to the original Town Center Committee—Wayne Rayfield, Lara Anderson, Alice Anderson, Yvonne English, Jim Howard, Ronna Kincaid, Bob Mardian, Jim Miller, Kirsten Reynolds, Beverly Sels, Georgia Theodor, Terry Walsh, Karin Schnell, Steven Weinberg, and Thomas Volkmann—who put in the work, created the vision, and produced the plan that the council approved in 2006, then the Coastal Commission in 2008.
Fast-forward to 2011, residents like Harold Kaufman, Mike Powers, Joe Luvollo, Robert Hows, Enzo Scognamiglio, Bob Theel, Ed Conway, and others petitioned council to move on the project, and in 2013, we did.
Steven Weinberg, Carlos Olvera, and I made constructing Town Center the priority, sharpened the plan, appropriated the monies, and constructed PCH in 2013, then Del Prado in 2014. Del Prado was a 3-2 vote.
Then, the detractors put the divisive Measure H on the 2016 ballot to stall the Town Center. Measure H changed the in-lieu parking that council approved and got back to cobbling together lots and underground parking leading to larger buildings.
Businesses like Craft House were designed during that time, because they did not have to park everything on their property.
I would argue things are going well. We now have a vibrant pedestrian-, event-friendly downtown with many new businesses opening. Just because owners decide to develop their property at one time or another or not does not mean the plan is a work-in-progress.
Property values skyrocketed after the beautification, and there was not even a City Council election last November.