Dana Point Study Favors 65-foot-high Boat Barn

Byline: Taylor Hill

Dana Point Study Favors 65-foot-high Boat Barn

A five-level, 50,000-square-foot boat storage building is preferable to a 393,000-square-foot storage deck, according to a new study conducted for OC Dana Point Harbor officials. OC Dana Point Harbor released the draft analysis of Dana Point Harbor’s dry boat storage options, as part of the $140 million harbor revitalization plan.

The report by Irvine-based consulting firm MVE Institutional looked at both a proposed 50,000-square-foot enclosed boat storage facility (sometimes referred to as a “boat barn”) and a proposed 393,000-square-foot boat storage deck option. Analysts recommended the county choose the five-level “boat barn” building over the deck for the final plan.

The dry storage plan is the first step in the county’s process aimed at preserving the Coastal Commission-required 493 dry boat storage spaces and 334 day-use trailer parking spaces in Planning Area 1 of the harbor.

The report indicated that the 65-foot-tall, five-level boat storage building would be a better fit for the harbor — with advantages in operational efficiency, constructability, cost and view preservation.

“From this (report), we will be able to make an informed decision on which facility better fits the needs of boaters and expectations of the entire community,” said OC Dana Point Harbor director Brad Gross.

The analysis will be used in the development of the facility’s Coastal Development Permit application, which is expected to be submitted to city officials by the end of the year. The permit must be approved by Dana Point City Council before work can begin.

The dry boat storage building option would have room for 400 boats to be placed on storage racks five levels high, by an automated crane system. An additional 93 mast-up boat storage spaces would be located outside of the building. The building is planned to be constructed adjacent to the current launch ramp site, and the facility would be capable of launching and retrieving boats from the water via its crane system.

The boat storage deck option would be constructed as a two-level facility with mast-up-capable boat storage — accommodating 327 boats on trailers on the top level and 32 small trailerable boats on the lower deck. An additional 134 dry boat storage spaces would be developed at ground level on the south side of the harbor’s Planning Area 1.

In their findings, the analysts indicated that the boat storage building would have better operational efficiencies for harbor users, since the facility would have launching capabilities. With its proposed gantry crane operating system, boats would be taken directly from the racks via crane and launched in the harbor. According to analysts, the building’s boat launching capability would ease congestion at the launch ramp, since trailerboaters with storage spaces in the harbor currently share the ramp with visiting boaters.

During the Coastal Commission hearings regarding the revitalization plans, some area boaters and Dana Point residents voiced opposition to the boat storage building option because of its size and height, which could potentially block views of the harbor.

Although many said a boat storage deck would be a better fit for the harbor, analysts reported that having an 850-foot-long boat storage deck placed so close to Dana Point Harbor Drive would actually create more view blockage than the proposed boat storage building, located at the water’s edge.

“With the dry boat storage deck, boats will be stored on the upper level and will be as high as 15 feet above Dana Point Harbor Drive,” said William Koster, principal at MVE Institutional. “With the deck sited within 15 feet of Dana Point Harbor Drive, most views will be blocked from the scenic highway for the entire 850-foot-length.”

Another concern was the overall cost of construction of a technologically advanced boat storage system and enclosed building. However, the analysts’ cost analysis indicated that the boat deck would cost $1.16 million more than the more advanced $30.3 million boat storage facility.

In terms of construction feasibility, the report found that the storage building’s construction would lead to fewer challenges compared to the boat deck, as the building would create a smaller construction footprint and the disruption to the existing boating facilities would be less.

The Orange County Board of Supervisors signed off on a six-year agreement with MVE Institutional Inc. in March, giving the firm the task of developing the design and construction documents necessary to obtain Coastal Development Permits (CDPs) that will require city approval before construction can begin. Gross said he hopes to complete the CDP application process for the “Commercial Core” revitalization by early 2013, with construction to begin in 2014.

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