At this week's
Dana Point Harbor Advisory Board
meeting, the Chief Real Estate Officer for the County of Orange predicted that a proposed contract with their private development partner would be submitted to the Orange County Board of Supervisors for approval at their June 26th meeting. If true, this is a milestone development.
We understand that gaps still remain between the County and Dana Point Harbor Partners and negotiations continue as you read this newsletter. However, both sides are signaling optimism that an agreement on terms may be very near, perhaps as soon as next week. While we remain excessively cautious, after more than 20 years of attempts to redevelop our harbor, this is the most promising sign yet that it might finally get done.
However, it's one thing for the two parties to agree to the terms of their business transaction, and quite another to produce a contract that - take a deep breath - properly serves our community by redeveloping our harbor in a manner that preserves its charm and character, protects the affordability of enjoying this singular community asset, and builds a quality harbor without needlessly cutting corners. Whew.
As we have described previously
, we fear that aggressive negotiating tactics by one or both sides in this deal, seeking to maximize their returns from this enormous project, could unnecessarily inflate the cost of rebuilding our harbor. The more the Harbor Revitalization Project costs, the more revenue it will need to generate to recover the investment and deliver profits. This means higher slip rates, tenant rents, and so on. Both sides have assured us that this won't be the case, but the proof will be in the final contract.
If the County and Dana Point Harbor Partners indeed succeed at coming to terms in the days ahead and submit a proposed contract to the Board of Supervisors for their June 26 meeting, the public will have access to it no later than two weeks in advance of the meeting. That would be June 12. Be assured that as soon as we get our hands on it, we plan to read it thoroughly and will offer our assessment.
We sincerely hope and expect that the final contract will serve our harbor community as described above. If it does, we will enthusiastically champion its way through approval and implementation. This needs to get done. However, if after review of the proposed contract, we conclude that it undermines our community's interests, we won't hesitate to protest its approval. We are hoping desperately for this to not be necessary. If the two parties are true in their predictions, we will know which path to take in the coming weeks. It's an exciting and anxious time.