Also, our apologies for not responding to all of your queries. As you might imagine, we have heard from so many of you over the past few months, so many that we couldn't reply to everyone. We hope this newsletter and tonight's forum answer any remaining unanswered questions. If not, send us a note tomorrow.
Now on to business. There's a lot here, so bear with us...
Old Business - Slip License Agreements, Rate "Corrections," Amnesty
We covered all of these in a previous newsletter
. If you are done with these topics and ready to move on, skip to the next section below. If you want to read our final words on these matters, read on...
Despite some lingering angst over how the new SLAs were rolled out, how vessels were measured and slip rates adjusted, and why we supported the amnesty program, these matters are now officially closed, and we need to shift our attention to the next issues at hand. However, based on feedback and questions we've received from so many of you, we believe some final clarification is in order.
To be clear, the new slip license agreements were an inevitability. Dana Point Harbor Partners' contract with the County of Orange required reassigning our slip tenant relationship to our new landlord. However, DPBA did not expect the SLAs to be pushed out so quickly. We should have asked about the timing more pointedly, but it turned out we were blindsided just as you were by the DocuSign emails. We also knew DPHP had planned to eliminate the three-foot overhang allowance (despite our objections). However, we expected the new rate formula to be implemented as boats were moved into shiny new slips in the years ahead, not right away. We were firm with DPHP that they should improve the boater experience before raising our rates. We made our distress with DPHP's first moves as our landlord excessively clear to them, and we had several rough conversations over the matter. But to use a defeatist phrase,
it is what it is. Yet we still believe that in the grand scheme of this massive project, we remain on the right path. And as we settle into our new marinas, we expect and hope to look back on this rough start as a learning experience that improved our collaboration with DPHP and the harbor experience for all of you.
Amnesty. There was no popular strategy for us here, we just tried to do what was right. The brief amnesty program allowed tenants who occupy their slips off the waitlist through boat partnerships and other
-legal transactions to correct their slip licenses to reflect the accurate vessel owners. Why? For every boat owner who knowingly concealed their transaction to acquire a boat slip off the waitlist, there is a boater who was assured by their boat broker and other
authoritative harbor personnel
that theirs was a permitted transaction. We know plenty of quality members of our harbor community who were truly duped into their boat purchases, and spent a lot of money doing so. Unfortunately, there is no practical way to separate the guilty from the innocent. But this brief amnesty period allowed us to at least clean up this old mess, as well as prepare to defend against contested evictions as the remaining culprits hiding behind bogus LLCs and partnerships are inevitably caught and shown the door. As DPHP improves the management and enforcement of the waitlist rules, those on the waitlist should benefit with shorter wait times. This was the first step. Some of you are still fuming over this, and we don't blame you. Was it the right move? Time will tell.
New Business - Let's move on...
East-West Marina Consolidation. The East and West Marinas are now one -
The Marina at Dana Point. Your DPBA has been pushing for combining the two marinas for years. This move eliminates costly redundancy, improves efficiency through shared resources, and ensures consistency in operations on both sides of the bridge. The previous operating agreements with Dana Point Marina Company and TBW have been terminated and DPHP now directly operates The Marina at Dana Point. This is a good thing.
The maintenance team has been combined and bolstered by the resources and expertise of
. We have been assured by The Marina at Dana Point (let's use
TMDP from now on) that service quality and efficiency should continue to improve as the consolidated operations settle in.
Marina operations will be managed out of the east marina office (formerly DPMC), though you can continue to call the usual phone numbers for assistance.
Combining Waitlists. As marina operations are consolidated, so are the waitlists. As you read this, combining the two waitlists has begun. In a strategy developed in collaboration between TMDP and DPBA, waitlists will be combined by size category; the individual next in line
by application date
on either list will be placed at the top of the combined list, then the next in line from the alternate list will be placed, then back and forth through both lists. After reviewing both waitlists thoroughly and playing out several strategies, we believe this results in the most reasonable and fair method to combine lists. Indeed, most on the waitlist will find that they have technically moved down on the list, but they will have a much larger pool of slips to be selected from. Because the east and west marinas are now operated as one, slips may be offered to waitlisters from either side.
Individuals currently on both lists will be placed at their higher place from either list and refunded their deposit for the duplicate entry. Also, as deposits are now $500 for all slip categories, those with deposits greater than $500 will receive a refund for the difference.
New Marina Waitlists.
Some of you have accurately pointed out that the proposed new marina design includes slip sizes that don't exist today. When can we apply to waitlists for these sizes? Not yet. The new marina concepts are not yet final, they need to be approved by the California Coastal Commission and receive permits to proceed to construction. When that happens, TMDP will begin accepting applications to the new waitlist categories. Patience...
The Future - What's Next?
New Marina Design. This is a topic bigger than we can fit into this newsletter. We will present the latest concept for the new marina at tonight's forum, and a detailed newsletter will follow. For now, please know this: It's a numbers game, with two numbers prevailing over all of it: 2254 and 32. The California Coastal Commission requires that our new marina have no fewer than 2254 total recreational slips, and an average slip size not to exceed 32'. Today we have 2409 slips averaging about 29'. We also have vacancies under 30', and demand exceeding a 10-year wait in some larger categories. How do we build a marina with no fewer than 2254 slips, averaging no more than 32', while making adjustments to serve the demand? It's a 2254-piece puzzle. The proposed dock configurations are based on achieving these numbers in the confined footprint of our harbor, complying with ADA and other regulations, and in consideration of marina standards for fairway widths and navigable space, and so much more. Show up tonight or read subsequent newsletters for more detailed information.
Selecting Your New Slip. This is one of the most common questions we get. When do I get to choose my new slip and how will it work? Once the new marina design has been approved by the Coastal Commission and construction permits are issued, TMDP will begin the selection process. Boaters will select their new slip based on their seniority
in their current slip size. In chronological order according to the date the SLA was signed for their current slip size, boaters will be invited to the TMDP office to select their slip from all remaining slips in their size category. Boaters desiring to move to a new slip size will need to apply to the waitlist for that category; for existing slip sizes, you can do that now.
Vessel Management During Construction. More common questions: When my dock is demolished, where will I go? When will I move to my new slip? Will I have to leave Dana Point?
Answers: To the new guest docks. I don't know. Probably not.
DPHP will build new guest docks in the east basin near where the fuel and bait docks are now. During construction these new docks will be used to accommodate vessels displaced during construction. Vessels will reside here until an appropriate - maybe temporary - slip is available in the marina. DPHP plans to construct the larger slips first, since small boats can be (temporarily) accommodated in big slips, but big boats won't fit in smaller slips. When your new permanent slip becomes available, you will move to it. Some boaters may find their stay at the guest docks or a temporary slip longer than others; some may skip the guest docks altogether. Most importantly, DPHP assures us that they don't expect to move any boats out of Dana Point.
Slip Rates. We saved this one for last. A large subset of our community recently experienced unexpected slip rate increases based on the new measurement rules, on top of the annual County increase implemented last summer. But we haven't yet seen the improvements to the boater experience that the Harbor Revitalization Plan and the partnership with DPHP promised. Consequently, your Dana Point Boaters Association has requested that DPHP implement a moratorium on slip rate increases until boaters move into their new slips. This is a big ask from a developer preparing to spend nine figures on marina improvements. But we believe it's due and appropriate. We are about to experience the upheaval of major construction. So, we have made the request... and they haven't said no. They haven't said yes, but we are getting positive signs that may agree to this very important gesture to our harbor community. We will keep you posted.
. Hope to see you there. DPYC. 7:00pm. Cash bar.