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 Dana Point Boaters Association
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TopAugust 4, 2011



Dear ,

We've been very busy lately with our professional lives as well as our first love, boating!  But please be assured that your boater interests advocates, the directors and advisers of the Dana Point Boaters Association continue to be very actively involved, inside and outside our harbor, representing the interests of boaters at large and especially our membership.

What has admittedly suffered a bit lately though has been our communication with you.  This issue is being addressed here, and on some pretty important topics.

Best regards and best wishes as we continue to enjoy our wonderful harbor and ocean during the (hopefully) endless summer.

Remember, we want and need to hear from you! 


Rodger Beard, President  

For the Board of Directors and Advisors
The Dana Point Boaters Association



We have been talking with fellow stakeholders for several months now concerning OC DPH's decision to focus exclusively upon completion of land side improvement before starting on the water side reconstruction. (We'll quickly concede that it's debatable whether this hasn't in fact always been the plan.) We've also heard some grave concerns expressed by many inside government (most notably ex-Orange County Treasurer Chriss Street) and outside government regarding the ability to adequately fund all of the improvements described within the Dana Point Harbor Redevelopment Plan.


You'll recall that the publicly quoted official estimate for both land side and water side redevelopment totaled 204.5 million dollars as of four years ago, the last official public announcement. We hasten to add that it is unlikely that anyone still has faith in that number. A distressing note, we've also been repeatedly advised that given the current economic climate as well as the immediate-to-long-term economic forecast, proper land side government construction loan funding may not be available when needed, regardless of interest rate.


Within government circles lately the responses we've heard to the facts above have been along two lines:

  1. The Harbor, including landside commercial operations and recreational boating is one entity and all monies go into one pot of funds.
  2. The landside redevelopment comes first and there is enough money available to pay for that.

Well, this may sound OK to the general public as far as it goes. But specifically why is the work on water side improvements being deferred entirely until completion of land side improvements? After all, over three quarters of annual net revenue allocated to reserves (retained earnings posted to the balance sheet accounts, in other words, monies set aside for use in funding harbor revitalization) comes from boaters. We wonder based upon our careful study of the Dana Point Tidelands Trust, why should commercial uses identified therein as "incidental" take precedence over the primary purpose of the Trust? Again quoting the Trust, the primary purpose is to create and maintain a vessel harbor and the means for ocean access.


Secondly, will there be enough money left over afterwards to pay for the promised water side improvements? We've had three years of flat slip rates. Your DPBA leadership is very proud of our role in making this happen. But with all the reserves being created by boaters to be applied to paying for land side improvements, will slip rate increases again be coming back onto the table?


Here are a few additional points to consider as we boaters ponder the question of slip rates. The marina market slip rate study completed by DPBA in the first quarter of this year clearly showed that the Dana Point East Basin Marina slip rates, are already 30 percent higher on average than the eight other publicly owned marinas in Southern California (all the publicly owned marinas from San Diego to Santa Barbara). After making weighed adjustments for 20 different harbor amenities (we all know DPH has the best amenities in SOCAL!), Dana Point slip rates were still found to be 15 percent higher than the overall average.


Next point. Boaters are being hit from all sides during these troubling economic times. Boating is becoming less and less affordable in constant dollars, while at the same time most boaters disposable incomes are falling. The 150+ slips vacant today within the Harbor clearly demonstrate this point. DPH slip rate increases do not make sense financially as more boaters will be forced out. Indeed, the net slip revenue change would be nil or worse, unless the County cherry picks those slip sizes 40' and above (where there are still substantial wait lists).


Back to Revitalization Project financing again, this time on the water side, for a couple more important points. The California Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW, aka CalBoating, sometimes pronounced "D-BAW") originally promised a 45 million dollar loan to OC DPH, at 4 percent interest. That was 6 years ago, during the real estate bubble. This amount was intended to fully finance the original estimated cost of water side reconstruction. Later the commitment amount was informally increased to 60 million when the estimated cost of reconstruction was doubled to 84.5 million, thereby creating a 24.5 million dollar financing shortfall. But the more important fact is that this money would very likely not be available now anyway, given state finances and severe state budget cutbacks. Nor would this money be available later when OC DPH plans to eventual start water side reconstruction. That's because DBW's commitment will have then expired, so any funds they do have would be committed instead to other projects on a very long list of worthy public funding requests.


In short, DBW financing is a complete nonstarter. Of course private financing of water side construction is also a nonstarter, as publicly reported by the industry experts OC DPH has engaged as paid financial advisors.


So then, the entire water side reconstruction project will most likely be financed from reserves we've already discussed. (Just an afterthought really, in theory the County could step up to finance the land and/or water side reconstruction, with revenue bonds for example; but I think we all know this would also be inconsistent with our "new normal" economy.) Needless to add, this makes when and how reserves are used even more important!


While the financing scenario is somewhat different on the land and water side portions of the redevelopment plan, we believe it may really all come down to this:


The conceptual plans for revitalization established almost ten years ago, arguably consistent with the (overheated, falsely prosperous) times back then (at least in the eyes of some stakeholders then involved) have since been pruned back significantly. However, these plans may still be too expensive for boaters' pocketbooks.


We want to know what you think. Is the assessment above correct? Have we missed anything? Should the current land side and/or water side plans be scaled back? What else should be done? Please hail us in the harbor, call us and leave a voicemail at 949/485-5656 or send an email to






As the first item of business addressed during the July 25th Dana Point City Council meeting, the revised language (incorporating the final California Coastal Commission requested modifications) to the amended Dana Point (harbor) Local Coastal Program (LCPA) was approved by unanimous vote. The second reading of what is now our new LCP was also on the approved consent calendar at this meeting and so the new LCP is now in force.


As many probably know, the Land Use Plan (LUP) portion of the LCP provides the guidelines for the design of harbor's land side redevelopment, along with a more detailed companion document known as the Implementation Plan (IP) that is still being drafted. Collectively these two documents will be used by the designated local government administrative agency (The City of Dana Point) to interpret and legally evaluate the validity of Coastal Development Permits (CDPs) that will later contain the specifics of the architectural and engineering design for the various land side improvements. Of course City and County building codes apply also here of course.  




Three DPBA directors and advisors had a 1-on-1 meeting with Brad Gross, Director OC DPH in the week following the July 4th holiday weekend to discuss our intense dissatisfaction with how the parking plan for the holiday weekend was executed. This was the very same plan that DPBA leaders and many other stakeholders had worked countless hours and attended many meetings last year to establish.   This was a plan that was over 7 pages long last year AND which worked without a hitch. This year we understood that there was to be only one change, the elimination all employee parking inside the harbor from Friday through Monday. Of course this change should have helped boater parking availability, but instead we had disastrous problems within of the dedicated boater parking lots on both Cove and Island sides of the East Basin.


WHAT WENT WRONG? Starting earlier this year, a new and now very popular nightclub, known as the Islands Bar has been operating at the Aventura Sailing Association. As those boaters with slips in the west end of the East Basin already know too well, this club features live entertainment ("The Flock of 80's" for example, a well-known local band) that starts playing early and plays late, several nights during the week as well as all weekend. Beginning Friday afternoon, July 1st the Islands Bar had gate attendants, unauthorized by OC DPH, letting the general public into the East Basin Cove parking lot. The Islands Bar also published the gate codes for the East Basin dedicated boater parking on their public Facebook page. Sure enough, the Islands Bar had a packed house all weekend that took as many as 4 bouncers to control. (It was a very young crowd.) The net result was that there were far less the than the usual / expected number of parking spaces on the Island side of the East Basin available (make that "left over") for boaters throughout the entire holiday weekend. As the weekend wore on, many East Basin boaters who could not find parking on the Island side then used their key cards to gain access to parking on the Cove side while members of the general public with Facebook access used gate codes here too. Due to the significantly fewer number of dedicated boater parking spaces in the East Basin Cove lots to start with, the Cove side almost immediately filled to overflow as well.


Holiday parking in the harbor is at a premium and no matter how much parking is available to the general public it will still not be enough. Granting an argument we've heard from OC DPH, it probably will not be enough even for all boaters. That's why a detailed logistics plan had been developed: to make the best of a difficult situation.   For example, there was ample offsite parking at Dana Hills High School and shuttle service available all weekend and many boaters had their guests park there. But for hauling provisions this arrangement typically doesn't work well. Over this holiday weekend many boaters were not able to even double park in the East Basin to do that and so left the harbor in disgust.  


Beyond the impact upon boaters enjoyment of the resources they have paid for, on for what many consider the most important holiday of the year, is that in no way is the Islands Bar parking legally authorized. In fact the situation is just the opposite.  There was no Coastal Development Permit approved, or even requested, as is required by law for any new use of a Tidelands Trust resource. Beyond that, there is no, and we mean ZERO public parking provided for within the Aventura rental agreement. That's because Aventura is supposed to be a private members-only boat chartering club. A private club renting boats located in slips scattered throughout the harbor, which has in the past meant that even  authorized member parking demands near their physical location were quite nominal. Wow, have things changed!


WHAT IS BEING DONE? As was already mentioned above, DPBA met with OC DPH shortly following the weekend holiday. We were assured that the holiday weekend parking problems, as well as the legal compliance issues in general, were/are totally unacceptable and would be remedied. The good news is that the gate code has already been changed and various other measures have been and are being applied as appropriate to the situation. We therefore believe that things are now on the right track. Please stay tuned here for more as we continue to follow up towards a complete and permanent resolution.


Above being said, please do your part to help assure closure:


-  If the music is too loud and/or continues too late, or you observe any public nuisance, then immediately call the Dana Point City Police at (949) 770-6011. (Do not the Harbor Patrol as they do not have jurisdiction on land.)


-  If you observe any further parking access violations contact Paul Lawrence at OC DPH ( and make sure you CC us (


Let's end this topic on a positive note.  All reports we've heard from our West Basin members regarding July 4th weekend were positive.






Monday night the Dana Point City Council heard and unanimously approved the Coastal Development Permit (CDP) for this new use for this very troubled property adjacent to the Harbor Patrol offices.


One aspect of this approval has a quite positive result for recreational visitors to the harbor. The parking lot formerly designated as private is being returned to use by the general public. We say "returned" because this was originally a public parking lot shared with the various restaurant operators. However, in a series of small (unapproved) steps, under a succession of different restaurant operators, this parking eventually somehow became dedicated exclusively to restaurant customers. So anyway, now families who want to picnic, walk or just sit and watch the boats go by at the entrance to the harbor now will have 77 more spaces in which to park. Quite an improvement over about half dozen spaces in the Harbor Patrol office parking lot!


As you may already know, this location has seen a parade of restaurant tenants open and close over the years (four have failed in the last 20 years). Most recently it has been vacant since December, 2009 and maintenance was being deferred long before then. So it was the one property in our entire harbor one might call an eye sore. From a practical standpoint, the Nordhavn tenancy will address that (the building is being completely renovated and restored) and the rent will also contribute new harbor net revenue (and therefore it will increase harbor reconstruction reserves).


A bit more background, Nordhavn was founded not long after DPH was opened back in 1971 and first known only as Lemest Yacht Sales.  It has continuous occupied one and then two buildings immediately next door to the restaurant space. Needless to add, Nordhavn has become well-known and respected worldwide during the years that the restaurant operator parade has passed by. (Learn more)


It would be fun to remember all those different restaurants that have come and gone. It was Don Jose's during the early 80's. We tried but couldn't recall who it was before and after that. Does anybody recall the others?





We hope that all of our members, as well as all other DPH community members are frequently looking to the website as a source for current and up-to-date boating and harbor related information. There is literally a ton of information on a broad spectrum of topics available there, thanks in major part to the tireless efforts of long time DPBA Webmaster, Director and Secretary Steve Carpenter.


We have been holding off on membership renewals for some time this year, until a "behind the firewall" members-only area could be operational, but the website upgrade is quite complex and has been delayed by Steve's full-time+ work schedule lately. (Steve, like the rest of the DPBA officers, directors and advisors is a boater and very dedicated volunteer.) Because the website still isn't quite ready, we are now asking existing members as well as new members to go to the existing website and go ahead and renew their membership. Thereby you can update your contact information let us know what your interests and priorities are, as well providing updated contact information we will use to keep you informed. This will insure that you remain informed about the evolving issues within our harbor.


Again in 2011, there is no charge for DPBA membership. We have been very careful in our uses of our members' funds accumulated during the almost 5 years since we were incorporated as a not-for-profit organization. Rest assured that we will continue to represent Dana Point boater interests and work with the other stakeholders potentially impacting recreational boating interests, both inside and outside the harbor.  



Mission Statement:
The Dana Point Boaters Association advocates the preservation, enhancement, and expansion of affordable recreational boating resources.  We work to improve the family friendly atmosphere and breadth of water-oriented actives we all enjoy in the harbor.  We serve as the watchdog by ethically protecting the rights of all boaters and representing them when collective action is most effective.  We actively gather information and communicate our views to educate boaters, external interests, and public officials.  We build and maintain constructive, working relationships to achieve common goals with other harbor stakeholders.  We will pass on our harbor to the next generation of recreational boaters in better condition than it is today.
Questions should be directed by email to (  Or call us at (949) 485-5656 and leave a voice mail and we'll get back to you soon.

Dana Point Boaters Association
P.O. Box 461
Dana Point, CA  92629