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FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Contact: Betty Hill, Dana Point Residents for Responsible Development (DPRRD)
Phone: (949) 240-1930
October 28, 2015, Dana Point, CA…..Dana Point Residents for Responsible Development (DPRRD) received notification from the Orange County Registrar of Voters that the 2015 Town Center Initiative is qualified as a special election ballot measure. Dana Point voters will now be given the opportunity they deserve to vote on the future development of the Town Center (now re-branded as “Lantern District”), a 75 acre mixed-use district in the center of the City of Dana Point bounded by Pacific Coast Highway and Del Prado streets.
DPRRD supports development of the Town Center based on the approved 2008 Town Center Plan, adopted after over 32 community planning meetings and outreach to and feedback from Dana Point residents and businesses. Because the Town Center is located in the Coastal Zone, it also was subject to approval of the California Coastal Commission. The Town Center Plan promotes the creation of a business district in a village atmosphere with shops, offices, restaurants and convenient parking needed for its success. In the last two years, Dana Point has spent over $21 million taxpayer funds from City reserves for the Plan’s infrastructure.
BACKGROUND AND HISTORY
“Dana Point Residents for Responsible Development (DPRRD) was formed in 2014 to inform and represent residents regarding proposed projects. The City staff and City Council appeared to be continuously ignoring the concerns of residents to favor developers. DPRRD supports responsible development that takes into consideration the concerns and quality of living of Dana Point residents, “ commented Sandie Iverson, resident of Dana Point.
In October, 2014 three Councilmen, Bill Brough, Carlos Olvera and Steven Weinberg voted to approve a project with major exceptions to the Town Center Plan. The Planning Commission had previously denied this project with hundreds of residents attending numerous meetings to voice their objections including impact on density, height, views, traffic and parking.
In 2015, the City began proposing a drastic reduction in the parking requirements for new development in Town Center, saving developers millions and leaving the cost of needed parking on the backs of Dana Point taxpayers. The Initiative process launched in April, 2015 to prevent further projects and variances to the Town Center Plan favoring developers and detrimental to residents. In September, 2015 the City Council approved reducing the parking requirements in the Town Center Plan.
THE 2015 TOWN CENTER INITIATIVE
The 2015 Town Center Initiative includes the entire Town Center (Lantern District) Plan with amendments that will close developer loopholes that undermine the Plan’s intent and requirements and to strengthen protections for Dana Point residents. This District should be an attractive place to shop, dine, and recreate. Specifically in the Initiative, developers must adhere to the limits of three stories, 40 foot maximum building height, and provide for commercial development on street frontages.
It has become apparent to residents that the City Council and city staff are supporting developers by putting developer interest over those of the community. Developers who want exceptions to the Town Center Plan including the reduced parking requirements to make their projects more profitable and get them entitled, sell out and leave town. Dana Point residents want to see responsible development with a future for shops, restaurants and convenient parking, which the City promised in the 2008 Town Center Plan.
Residents enthusiastically supported the Town Center Initiative effort! In September, 4,240 signatures of Dana Point residents were submitted to the City to qualify the Initiative as a ballot measure and a special election. This large number signifies that residents want a voice in determining the future development of their city.
(Click here to read the ROV signature verification)
Passage of the Initiative by Dana Point voters will provide a responsible, consistent and fair basis for future development throughout Town Center. Without the Initiative, developers will continue to seek from the City advantageous exceptions to the Plan for their projects. Following the Plan will protect the desired future of Dana Point.
The certification of the Initiative must be presented to the Dana Point City Council at its next scheduled meeting. At that time the City Council will have the option of approving the Initiative in its entirety or setting a date for the election.
For More Information:
Text of Initiative: http://2015towncenterinitiative.nationbuilder.com/initiative
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