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 Dana Point Boaters Association
Update on the Harbor Revitalization Plan
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 August 8, 2014
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The Harbor Revitalization Plan.  The project that never ends.  Or never seems to get started.  So where does it stand today?  Though we've been working steadily behind the scenes to get the most out of this plan for our Dana Point boaters, it's been a while since we've provided you with an update.  So here's a brief refresher on the last few months, and where we go from here...


Last February your Dana Point Boaters Association got our hands on the draft building permit application (officially the "Coastal Development Permit" or CDP application) for the landside portion of the Harbor Revitalization Plan.  Immediately we began sorting through the nearly 1000 pages to learn how OC Dana Point Harbor officially envisions the final outcome of this project, a project that has been so many years and dollars in the making.  And while we found a good plan in so many exciting ways, we also found elements of the plan that disadvantage our Dana Point boaters.  More consequently, we found elements of the plan that we believe do not comply with the California Coastal Commission's Local Coastal Plan (LCP) for our Harbor.  Simply stated, we believe the CDP does not comply with Coastal Commission requirements for maintaining boater resources.  Immediately we began sharing our observations with OC Dana Point Harbor, seeking to work with them to resolve our concerns before the CDP went before the Dana Point Planning Commission. 


To be clear - and perhaps a bit repetitive for those of you who have been following along - DPBA supports harbor revitalization, so long as boaters are not disproportionately burdened by expense and inconvenience.  This is after all a boating harbor first, and a commercial district second.  The Coastal Commission says so.  But Dana Point boaters enjoy not only their boats, but the harbor they keep them in, and we too want refreshed and revitalized restaurants and shops.  We don't desire to delay the Revitalization project, but we insist on protecting our boater resources and amenities.  Hence, we had hoped to correct the CDP application before it was pushed through the approval process so we could offer our support of the Plan and move the project along.


However, effective corrections to the CDP were not achieved before the Planning Commission hearing on May 12, 2014.  Realizing that an outright denial of the CDP would result in significant delays and added expense, we asked the Planning Commission not to deny the application, but to attach conditions to the CDP that would effectively resolve the non-conforming items and satisfy boater concerns.  Unfortunately, only one commissioner agreed with boaters and the CDP was approved unconditionally.  Bummer.  This approval was promptly appealed by another stakeholder to the Dana Point City Council, which heard the appeal on June 17th. 


The City Council had three options...  1) Approve the appeal, effectively denying the building permit, and send it back to OC Dana Point Harbor to start over.  A big delay.  2) Deny the appeal, thus failing to resolve the non-conforming items, and inevitably send it back to the California Coastal Commission in a second appeal.  Also a big delay.  Or 3) Attach our conditions to the CDP and allow construction to commence with resolution of our boater concerns.  A "win" for all players.  So our strategy at the City Council meeting was the same: not to deny the CDP, but attach appropriate conditions.  And we made a compelling case.  Commentary by some on the Council, most notably Mayor Lisa Bartlett, demonstrated that they found our concerns valid and fair cause for adjustments to the CDP, and one or two even seemed inclined to vote in our favor.  But in the end it was clear that the majority would deny the appeal and refuse to attach conditions to the CDP.  So in the interest of political expediency, the City Council voted unanimously to deny the appeal.  In her closing comments, Mayor Bartlett effectively punted to the California Coastal Commission, explaining that they were more suited to consider our concerns as they relate to the CDP's compliance with the Local Coastal Plan (LCP).


And that may be true, technically.  But time is money... lots of money.  Wasted money.  While the Dana Point Planning Commission and City Council both could have attached conditions to the CDP to resolve boater concerns and ensure compliance with the LCP - and allow construction to commence expeditiously - they instead chose to delay the project yet again by pushing the matter back  to the Coastal Commission, a process that can take months or longer.  And so we wait...


Or do we have to?  Our goal from the very beginning was to work with the County of Orange and OC Dana Point Harbor to fix the Revitalization Plan to bring it into compliance with the Coastal Commission requirements, thereby making all these appeals unnecessary.  We can still do that.  As long as OC Dana Point Harbor joins us at the table - and they've expressed their commitment to doing so - we will work with them to adjust the Plan to resolve the non-conforming items.  And if we achieve a revised plan that satisfies our boaters and complies with the LCP, we will share our success with the California Coastal Commission right away and urge them to allow the project to proceed.  If we fail to achieve a conforming plan, and the Coastal Commission hears the appeal on its merits, we fully expect the Coastal Commission to find the current plan non-compliant with the LCP and send it back to the County to resolve.  That starts the application process all over again - a delay of months, or even years, at a cost of... who knows!?  And we don't want that.  Nobody wants that.  That's why we're confident that rational minds will prevail and we'll have a good plan before it gets to that.


Wish us luck.  And thank you for your support.


James Lenthall, VP
For the Board of Directors
Dana Point Boaters Association

Please Remember, to keep Dana Point boaters voice strong, we need your support.  

As public hearings on the "finalized" DPH Commercial Core CDP proceed, as behind-the-scenes meetings are held, as decisions are made on the future of your harbor, whose voice do you want in the room?

Please make a donation to your Dana Point Boaters Association by Clicking Here.
Thank You
At the Dana Point Boaters Association, our mission is to advocate for the preservation, enhancement, and expansion of affordable recreational boating.  We strive to improve the family-friendly atmosphere and breadth of water-oriented activities we all enjoy in our harbor.  As Dana Point boater advocates, our strength comes from your support and participation.  We are proud of the achievements we've made together on behalf of our boating community, and we won't give up.  But we can't do it without you.
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
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.