In this Newsletter
We have the latest news on two topics for you today… First, as you may have heard, last week the California Coastal Commission approved the coastal development permit – with conditions – for the waterside portion of the Harbor Revitalization Plan. What are these special conditions, what do they mean to you, and when will we see actual construction?
Second, the new boater parking control gates will be lowered on November 2. Boat slip tenants will require the new parking tags in order to access our parking areas. The latest details and updates on the parking management plan below.
Coastal Commission Approves Marina Reconstruction… with Conditions.
Last week the California Coastal Commission conditionally approved the coastal development permit (CDP) for the redevelopment of our Dana Point Harbor marinas. In a rare occurrence, the commissioners voted unanimously on the application’s very first hearing. The commissioners also heard broad and diverse community support, including from the Surfrider Foundation, not often a supporter of large coastal development projects.
However, the seemingly swift approval does not mean the commissioners and their staff were without concerns for the environmental and social impacts of the Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Plan. Consequently, 28 special conditions were established that must be met for the project to proceed. Most of these conditions pertain to environmental and wildlife protections, both during and after construction. DPHP will be required in their plan to demonstrate protections for water quality, ocean vegetation and wildlife, including comprehensive monitoring plans during construction. The plan must also include: acoustic monitoring and noise abatement, especially as it pertains to pile driving; a lighting plan that avoids directing light into the water or skies; a detailed tree trimming and maintenance plan; construction pollution protections; use of environmentally-friendly materials, and so on.
Among the conditions are also protections for public coastal access and social justice. DPHP’s plan must (and does) include significant expansions of public access to the sea, both through design and program opportunities. Further, DPHP must offer additional ocean education opportunities to at least 1000 underprivileged children annually.
Pertaining specifically to boaters, the Coastal Commission also directed DPHP to revise its vessel transition plan for how tenant boats will be orchestrated during and after construction. Your Dana Point Boaters Association collaborated with DPHP in the development of the original construction phasing and vessel management plan that we believed nearly eliminated the risk of vessels being displaced from our harbor during construction. However, the Coastal Commission placed an emphasis on the protections of vessels under 30 feet in such a way that may necessitate reformulating the phasing plan in order to avoid the displacement of vessels larger than 30’. We will be working with DPHP to ensure the final construction phasing and vessel transition plan prioritizes keeping all recreational boats in the harbor through construction, within the parameters of the special conditions.
Dana Point Harbor Partners did not contest or object to any of the special conditions and has advised us that they intend to develop plans to meet every one of them. More news to come on these conditions and plans to implement them in the coming months.
You can read the entire CCC staff report here; the special conditions start on page 7.
Once the 28 special conditions are met to the satisfaction of the Coastal Commission, a coastal development permit will be issued. However, that is not yet a green light to proceed to construction. Actual building permits will need to be issued by the County of Orange. This will require detailed construction plans beyond the conceptual drawings that exist today. (Side note: many of you continue to ask us for the latest marina design plan; you can view it here. Be patient with loading as it’s a large file.)
Despite the challenging special conditions and the ambitious work that remains in order to proceed to construction, Bellwether Financial – the marina developer – tells us that they are optimistic that visible construction will commence within 2021 and they aim to be completed within five years.
Parking Management Plan Update
On Monday, November 2, the control gates at the boater parking lots will close and only tenants with the new parking tags adhered to their vehicles will be permitted entry. If you are a marina slip tenant, be sure to acquire your tags by October 15. You can make your appointment by visiting the marina website here.
Hopefully you have read our previous newsletters on this subject here and here, and have been following the marina tenant newsletters with updates on the new parking management plan. If you haven’t, we encourage you to review these materials for more details on the parking management plan and our DPBA position on it; we’ll keep this update relatively short and focused on the latest news.
Since the new parking management system was announced earlier this year, your DPBA board has spent many hours analyzing the plan and surveying our boaters. We have been generally supportive of the plan as a means to protect dedicated boater parking from unauthorized and excessive shared use by non-boaters. We have clarified with marina management that tenant parking will always remain without cost to our boaters. Additionally, the marina has assured us repeatedly that our lots will not be opened to the general public. In fact, some existing public and merchant use of our lots has been transitioned to non-boater parking lots. For example, Catalina Express passenger parking has been relocated out of the east cove lot, freeing up as many as 130 boater parking spaces.
We did object to the announced limit of 10 guest parking passes per month and the plan for guests beyond 10/month paying an hourly parking rate. We heard similar concerns from many of you. With the exception of high-traffic holidays, such as 4th of July, we have never been limited on the number of guests we could invite to our boats, nor have our guests ever been made to pay to park. We made our case to marina management and they have agreed to lift the guest pass limit and guests will not pay to park. (Note: the guest pass app does include a 50-cent processing fee.)
And finally, this: Your Dana Point Boaters Association is managed by a team of volunteers who are enduring the same crisis as the rest of you, tending to our families, our day jobs, and the anxiety of wondering what’s next. We ask for almost nothing beyond your patience, understanding, and occasionally a little financial support to keep this organization afloat. We even offer some home-grown merchandise to make donating a little easier. Every little bit counts towards protecting and advancing recreational boating in Dana Point Harbor.
Thank you for your support.
James Lenthall, President