OC’s Chief Real Estate Officer foresees Dana Point Harbor revitalization contract submission in near future

A contract for Dana Point Harbor’s project might go before Board of Supervisors at the end of June after a several-month-long delay.

Editor’s Note/Update: This story was sent to press prior to publication of the June 26 Orange County Board of Supervisors’ agenda. A review of the agenda at 8 a.m., June 14, revealed there were no items on the Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Project. The Log will follow-up with additional coverage of the revitalization project in our upcoming issue. The story below, meanwhile, memorializes the conversation between county officials and local boaters in late May and early June.

DANA POINT — If Dana Point Harbor were Sisyphus, the boulder he pushes for eternity would likely be an appropriate contract negotiation in the lengthy revitalization process spanning more than 20 years. However, it appears as if the infernal boulder might finally be on track to see some momentum. Chatter of a contract between the county of Orange and Dana Point Harbor Partners may finally go before the Orange County Board of Supervisors for review by the end of June after months of radio silence on the subject have been circulating recently.

Scott Mayer, Orange County’s Chief Real Estate Office, had recently attended a Dana Point Harbor Advisory Board (DPHAB) meeting and provided his predictions on the pending contract agreement between the county and Dana Point Harbor Partners, it was announced in the Dana Point Boaters Association (DPBA) eNewsletter.

DPBA’s newsletter stated: “At this week’s DPHAB 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.”

If an agreement is reached and a proposal is submitted, the newsletter continued, the public would have access to the contract at least two weeks in advance of the Board of Supervisors meeting.

In May, The Log covered James Lenthall’s and other residents’ annoyance that a contract had been promised by the end of 2017 but failed to show up for review. In an interview, Lenthall, who is the president of DPBA and chair of DPHAB, revealed previous design plans had been insulting to residents. A proposal including helicopter rides and supersized hotels possibly blocking ocean views did not represent the vision Dana Point locals were hoping to achieve.

As confirmed by Lenthall before and according to the newsletter, one of the major concerns has been “the aggressive negotiating tactics” from both the County of Orange and Dana Point Harbor Partners in attempting to maximize returns and possibly increase the costs of rebuilding the harbor. According to the newsletter, this could and would likely lead to higher slip rates, tenant rents and other operational costs.

In DPBA’s newsletter closing, it stated: “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.”

At this time, those invested in the stakes of the new contract will likely have to wait before they can get a glimpse of what will be presented. Will it be a haven for boaters with updated amenities and keep in line with the nostalgic charm of Dana Point? Or will it be on par with the original plans that desired to put the harbor on the map as a garish tourist destination? No one will know until the fine print is unveiled.

Mayer and O.C. Parks spokesperson Marisa O’Neil were contacted but were unavailable for comment at the time of press.

Parimal M. Rohit photo

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