Orange County Dana Point Harbor - Issue 10



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Local Coastal Program Amendment (LCPA)

In October 2010, the California Coastal Commission unanimously approved the Executive Director’s report finalizing the Land Use Plan (LUP) for the Local Coastal Program Amendment (LCPA).

The Coastal Commission originally approved the LUP in October 2009, and then forwarded it to the City of Dana Point who approved that version in February 2010. When the approved LUP was sent back to the Coastal Commission in June 2010 for final certification, one commissioner requested a minor edit to a policy in an effort to add emphasis on maintaining the community character when constructing new buildings. This minor edit required another approval by the City of Dana Point, which occurred in September 2010, and was finally completed with the October 2010 unanimous action at the Coastal Commission.

The LUP is one of two parts to the Dana Point Harbor Local Coastal Program Amendment (LCPA); the second of which is the Implementation Plan (IP). It is anticipated that this IP will be considered by the Coastal Commission in January 2011. Once the IP is approved by the Coastal Commission; any modifications made to the IP by the Coastal Commission will need to be subsequently approved by the Dana Point City Council before the entire LCPA process is finally certified and complete.

Once the LCPA is certified, the County will be able to apply for, and the City and Coastal Commission will be able to act on, projects implementing the Revitalization Plan through the Coastal Development Permit (CDP) process. This will include public hearings and opportunities for interested parties to stay involved and participate in ultimately determining the final designs for the Revitalization of Dana Point Harbor which will include new buildings, public gathering spaces, environmental upgrades, new infrastructure, increased public parking opportunities, enhanced dry boat storage and launch ramp parking area and reconstructed slips.

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Dana Point Harbor
Frequently Asked Questions
1. Q: Will there be a significant loss of boats slips?
  A. The Coastal Commission approved Land Use Policy 4.2.2-6 which states, “the goal for any dock replacement should be no net loss of slips harbor-wide”, and that “the average slip length shall not exceed 32 feet”. This policy also states that if the goal of no slip loss cannot be achieved, “the net loss of slips harbor-wide shall be minimized and shall not exceed 155 slips”. The most slips that could be lost is 155 or 6.5% of the existing 2,409 slips.
2. Q: Will boaters have enough parking?
  A. Today the existing boater parking lots exceed the State of California
Department of Boating and Waterways parking guidelines (0.60 parking spaces per boat slip or side-tie).

In conceptual plans considered to date, all boater designated parking lots will remain as they are today, with the exception of one small boater designated parking lot near the proposed Commercial Core. In conceptual designs, this parking lot only serves the slips from gangways M and N and once completed, boaters from these two gangways will be able to park in other lots if they choose. Parking for all other gangways in the Harbor will not change. Each of the other boater designated parking lot locations and configuration will remain as they are today, providing boaters parking per the state guidelines.

Per the Coastal Commission’s approval of Land Use Policy 5.1.1-9 the County will “Ensure that adequate land area is reserved to provide parking for 2,409 boat slips unless a net loss of slips is authorized by a Coastal Development Permit.
3. Q: Will the Launch Ramp parking be reduced?
  A. Per the Coastal Commission’s approval of Land Use Policies 4.2.2-10, the County will ”Redesign and expand the existing 5.7 acre boat launch facility to maximize the number of vehicle with trailer parking spaces meeting minimum Department of Boating and Waterway guidelines (10 x 40 feet)”. In addition, approved Policy 4.4.1-3 also requires that “The existing public launch ramp and associated vehicle and trailer parking facilities shall be enhanced and maintained” and that “there shall be no net loss of the existing 334 vehicle with trailer parking spaces”.

Today, the launch ramp operates with far fewer than 334 spaces, and nearly all of these are significantly less than 10 x 40 feet in size, which is the minimum space size per the Department of Boating and Waterways Guidelines. The new lot must meet or exceed 5.7-acres, must have 334 or more spaces and the majority of the spaces will be 10 x 40 feet or larger. OC Dana Point Harbor concept plans do not reduce the size of the launch ramp area and do provide 10 x 40 foot and larger spaces.
4. Q: Will the space available for mast-up dry storage be adequate for the demand?
  A. Historically, there has always been less than 40 or 50 mast up boats in the dry storage at the Embarcadero Marina. Today, there are about 30. The Coastal Commission approved Land Use Policy 4.2.2-10, which requires that a minimum of 93 storage spaces be maintained that can accommodate mast-up boats.
5. Q: The ratio of 2 parking spaces per commercial fishing boat is not sufficient.
  A. This ratio of two parking spaces per commercial fishing boat slip is based on the State of California Department of Boating and Waterways parking guideline ratio for commercial fishing slips. This ratio refers to the commercial fishermen whose boats are docked in slips near Harbor Patrol and is sufficient for their need. This parking ratio is not used for the larger sportfishing boats located on Dana Wharf or for the Catalina ferry boat.
6. Q: Will the potential 60’ building heights result in a loss of boater resources?
  A. For all of the reasons stated above related to Questions # 1- # 5, it should be clear that the Coastal Commission and the County were very serious in their protection of boater resources as they developed the policies contained in the approved Land Use Plan. These policies set limits and thresholds, which must be met regarding boater resources, specifically the loss of slips, boater parking, launch ramp parking and mast up storage. Coastal Development Permits cannot be granted for the Harbor Revitalization, unless these requirements are met.

Any reference to buildings which may be allowed to reach up to 60 feet, pertains to a very small area of the 276-acre Harbor. This area will consist of three 2-story buildings and one 3-story building. These buildings will be connected to the 2-level parking deck, which will provide 400 additional public parking spaces than what is available today. The concept design for these buildings actually allow for the building footprint to be smaller than the footprint that exists today. There is no correlating evidence between the current or proposed buildings and a perceived loss of boating resources in the future.
7. Q: Will coastal public views be impacted by tall buildings?
  A. The Coastal Commission approved Land Use Policy 8.5.1-3, which states, “These heights are only allowed to the extent that significant coastal public views through scenic corridors and from scenic viewpoints are protected and enhanced”.

Therefore, all proposed building plans will need to adhere to this policy. In addition, as described above in Question # 6, the tallest buildings are concentrated in a very specific and small area of the Harbor and the footprint is less than the existing single story buildings today. Limitations are also being included in the Implementation Plan document which will further control and limit how much of the building footprint can reach certain heights. This will ensure that tall flat roofed buildings will not reach 60’ in height, but rather just a small portion of the buildings pitched roofs, as is shown in concept plans.

Policies 8.5.1-1 and 8.5.1-2 ensure the building architecture will have “irregular massing of structures” and the massing will “be asymmetrical and irregular with offsets in plan, section and roof profile”. This will ensure that large rectangular or “shoebox type” building designs are not allowed.
8. Q: Will the shipyard operation be reduced or eliminated?
  A. The shipyard operation is not being eliminated and the shipyard operation is not being reduced. Today, the shipyard is operated on 1.6-acres of land. In the future, the Shipyard will still operate on the same 1.6-acres of land, in the same location.

Historically and today, the current Shipyard operator leases 2.6-acres. They use 1.6-acres as the shipyard and they use another separate 1-acre of land as dry boat storage, which is not associated with the shipyard operation. In the future, this 1-acre area will continue as dry boat storage, but it will be under the direction of OC Dana Point Harbor instead of being a part of the shipyard operator’s lease. The Coastal Commission approved Land Use Policy 4.2.2-9, which states, “A shipyard shall be maintained in Planning Area 1and shall be no less than 1.6-acres in size”.
Proposed Festival Plaza
Conceptual drawing of proposed Festival Plaza.
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Preparing Your Vessel for
Potential Foul Weather

With the wet October we had, and winter quickly approaching, what steps should you take to ensure your vessel is protected? The majority of incidents are caused by faulty bilge pumps or electrical issues that result in inoperative bilge pumps.

The Harbor Patrol suggests that boaters monitor the weather conditions, and prior to inclement weather, that they inspect and weatherize their vessels by following these simple steps:

  • Make sure that batteries are fully charged, that battery terminals are free from corrosion and that battery chargers are functioning.
  • Ensure bilge pumps are working properly and that the float switch isn't hindered by debris.
  • Check and secure the bilge area by making sure limber holes aren’t blocked.
  • Clean the bilge by removing debris that could clog your pump’s intake. Check for propeller shaft log leakage, and close all sea cocks.
  • Carefully secure your rigging, canvas and sails. Winds can damage canvas and a loose sail can cause damage to your vessel or injure someone.
  • Make sure all compartments, hatches, and doors are secured.
  • Check that dock lines are in good shape and are properly secured. Lines should be checked for fraying or chafing and replaced if wear is evident. It’s recommended that vessels 30 feet and larger utilize spring lines when possible.
  • Remove food stuffs from vessels as to discourage critters seeking a winter hide-a-way.
  • Inspect electrical cords for signs of fraying, corrosion or overheating and replace if needed.
  • Always inspect your vessel after heavy storms to identify potential issues.
  • Keep contact telephone numbers current in case of emergencies.

It is important to always check weather conditions before going out to sea. This can be done by calling Harbor Patrol’s recorded weather line at (949) 496-6137.
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County Audit Reveals Dana Point Harbor Wait Lists are Fair and Reasonable

Recently, the County’s Internal Audit Department conducted an audit of the Boat Slip Wait list Administration at East Basin Marina, West Basin Marina and The Embarcadero.

In a report dated November 29, 2010, Internal Audit concluded: “We found internal controls are adequate over the establishment and administration of boat slip waitlists to provide reasonable assurance boat slips and storage spaces are assigned properly, orderly and fairly based on established procedures and placement on the waitlists. We also found the boat slip waitlist administration to be efficient and effective without any significant backlogs, duplication of work, or manual processes that could be automated.” OC Dana Point Harbor wants the Harbor Community to know that conscientious administration of Harbor Waitlists is important to us, and we’re pleased with the results of this audit.

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Improvements to Commercial Core Areas

The commercial merchant section of Dana Point Harbor is a vital and productive environment for both businesses and visitors. OC Dana Point Harbor and Vintage Marina Partners have made the following recent improvements in the commercial areas in support of the businesses and merchants of Dana Point Harbor:

  • Upgraded landscaped areas with drought-resistant plants
  • Increased number of visitor benches in valet areas and throughout commercial core area
  • Painting of buildings in commercial core area
  • Continuation of Valet Parking Program
  • Continued improvements to the Parking Management Program during public events
  • Opening of Visitor Center in the commercial core area
  • Implementation of improved store signage and wayfarer signs
  • Upgrade of Dana Wharf public restrooms
  • Holiday lighting program put in place throughout commercial area
  • Improvements to area behind Beach Cities Pizza
Upgrade plants.
Upgraded plants along East side
of Casitas Pl.
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Marina Customer Survey Results

Thank you to those boaters who took our Marina Customer Survey last month, we had a good response including several helpful comments and suggestions.

Over the next several weeks OC Dana Point Harbor will be responding to the specific questions via our Boater’s Blast. Thank you, again for participating in our survey. If you do not already receive our Boater’s Blasts but would like to, call us at (949) 923-2236.

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Holiday Happenings

"Jingle Bell Rock"
Friday & Saturday, December 10th & 11th , 7:30 pm
Friday & Saturday, December 17th & 18th, 7:30 pm

This year marks our 36th Annual Boat Parade of Lights with this year’s theme, “JINGLE BELL ROCK”. Boaters from all around Orange County decorate their boats and vie for the awards of Judges Choice, Best Theme, Best Use of Lights, Best Animation, Most Colorful, Most Original, Best Sailboat, Best Powerboat and the Perpetual Trophy for the Yacht Club with the most entries. New awards and cash prizes will help to inspire participants. Be part of the parade and enter your own boat! Pick up your entry form at Dana Wharf Sportfishing & Whale Watching or get one online at

You can view the parade FREE from anywhere in the Harbor, or make reservations at one of our restaurants to view it from a warm and cozy spot. Come enjoy the sights and sounds of the season. Dana Point Harbor is located at 34555 Golden Lantern, Dana Point, CA.
Landlubbers can also participate in the parade!
For more information call (949) 923-2255.

2011 Dana Point Festival of Whales

A Celebration of the California Gray Whale’s Majestic Migration
Saturday & Sunday, March 5th & 6th, 2011
& Saturday & Sunday, March 12th & 13th, 2011

The 40th Anniversary Dana Point Festival of Whales celebrated the once endangered California Gray Whale with a leviathan-size event. This annual celebration draws more than 100,000 visitors from all over the world to Dana Point each year during the height of whale-watching season. For more information on events and a wide variety of whale watching excursions, call (888) 440-4309or visit the website at

36th Annual Dana Point Harbor Boat Parade of Lights
40th Anniversary Festival of Whales
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