Coastal Commission Gives Final Approval to Dana Point Harbor Marina Rebuild

The developers selected by Orange County to oversee the revitalization of Dana Point Harbor have been given a permit from the California Coastal Commission to begin construction on rebuilding the marina.

DANA POINT—The California Coastal Commission has cleared Bellwether Financial, the marina developer under Dana Point Harbor Partners, to begin construction on the redevelopment of the marina in Dana Point Harbor.

Dana Point Harbor Partners was granted a Coastal Development permit with 28 special conditions in September 2020 but 15 needed to be met before shovels could hit the ground. Bellwether Financial founder and President Joe Ueberroth said they worked closely with the Coastal Commission to meet those conditions and on Feb. 22 received a permit to commence construction.

Special conditions dealt with protection of marine life, commitment to water quality, expansion of public access, and environmental justice, among others. In order to meet one of the conditions, Bellwether will be partnering with community organizations such as Big Brothers Big Sisters, OC Youth Sailing, Surfrider, and the YMCA to provide 1,000 youths with sailing, ocean education programs, whale watching, swimming lessons, and a variety of water activities on a yearly basis.

“A core part of the conditions, and one we are perhaps most excited and proud, is Environment Justice, an educational, sailing, and water sport program for underserved youth in Orange County,” said Ueberroth in an email.

Bellwether Financial is now finalizing construction drawings and will need to submit them to the county for building permits to begin construction. Ueberroth said they hope to begin construction by the end of this year.

“I think DP boaters are happy the Coastal Development Permit got approved,” said Dana Point Boaters Association President Anne Eubanks in an email. “They are looking forward to hearing about the final plans and learning about the implementation process, especially the boat transition plans for when construction begins.”

The large-scale marina remodel will take place over a five-year period and involves replacing the 2,409 recreational boat slip marina with a 2,254 recreational boat slip marina.

“We’re taking a thoughtful approach to rebuild the marina and will do so in phases over the next five years so we can avoid displacement of tenants,” said Ueberroth in an email.

Plans include replacing 16 commercial fishing slips; replacing 11 yacht club slips with 13 yacht club slips at Dana Point Yacht Club; relocating and reconfiguring the fuel dock and emergency dock; slight relocation of the bait dock; installing a new drive-in boat wash in the Outer Basin, and relocating and expanding the transient guest docks to the Outer Basin. Bellwether-owned entity Bellingham Marine will develop and build the marina.

“Our dock system innovation by Bellingham Marine will eliminate all treated wood and includes technology that removes all ferrous metals, ensuring longer dock life, while ridding the environment of those toxic materials,” said Ueberroth in an email.

Land-side redevelopment of the marina includes replacing 11 existing boater service buildings with 10 boater service buildings and repairing 9,964 linear feet of seawalls/revetment; replacing 1,644 designated boater parking spaces with 1,410 spaces, and relocating and expanding park scape and public access areas closer to the water.

Updates to the boater parking lots, including new parking kiosks, gates, and rules, were completed in November 2020.

Once the revitalization is complete, which is anticipated in 2026, Bellwether’s sister company Bellport will oversee operations of the harbor for the duration of the 66-year lease.

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