Room with a View: Hotel Developments Overlooking the Harbor
Will Face Delays
Lillian Boyd and Andrea Clemett, September 13, 2019
the Dana Point Planning Commissions approval of a hotel
development to be built next door to the Chart House overlooking
Dana Point Harbor, the applicants must now await city council
approval thanks to an appeal.
applicantsSagar Patel, on behalf of the ownership group
Global Resorts, Inc., and Yenny Ng, on behalf of YNG Architectsrequested
approvals allowing them to build a hotel at 34482 Green Lantern,
which would sit on the corner of Cove Road.
YNG Architects via City of Dana Point
and Ng initially requested a coastal development permit (CDP)
and conditional use permit (CUP) to construct a 51-room hotel
and associated parking facilities. The applicants requested
a lot merger, valet and tandem parking, modified parking garage
ramps, and for architectural features that are fewer than
10 feet above the district building height.
of Dana Point senior planner Sean Nicholas confirmed the hotel
will have 60 subterranean parking spaces, 24-hour valet services,
bluff-top amenities and affordable accommodations. There will
be a roof-top deck, garden and pool that will be exclusively
for hotel use, without public access. Nicholas said the architecture
will take advantage of the sites expansive views by
incorporating glass and metal.
said the building will have no identifiable architectural
style in order to provide accurate neighborhood context and
features in the plans are fewer than 10 feet above the district
building height limit. There are an extra nine parking spaces
added to the 51-space minimum.
development borders the Dana Point Headlands Conservation
Area, where the parks are intended to maintain public views
while preserving the sensitive habitat areas.
a public comment during an Aug. 26 hearing for the project,
local resident Merry Wong shared her concerns of the proposed
development because of its close proximity to the Dana Point
Headlands Conservation Area. Wong said that currently the
harbor point conservation area has more than 100 varieties
of native plants, 15 of which are rare plants as determined
by the California Native Plant Society.
habitat for the conservation area holds several rare and endemic
plant communities, including southern coastal bluff scrub,
native grasslands, maritime succulent scrub, mixed chaparral,
and coastal sage scrub, according to the citys park
website. It was also noted that the various mix of habitats
provide a place for plants and animals that are considered
threatened and limited. A native plant can be defined as a
species that lives naturally in a particular region, ecosystem,
or habitat without human introduction.
two animal species that Im very concerned about are
the federally protected pacific pocket mouse and the federally
threatened California Gnatcatcher, Wong said. Now
these two animals specifically survive on coastal scrub, sage
environment, which is their food source.
pocket mouse favors a sparse, sandy, vegetated desert environment,
and the California Gnatcatcher lives in coastal sage scrub,
desert scrub, and coastal dune scrub year-round. The conservation
area provides the nesting grounds for male California Gnatcatchers
to choose a site in sagebrush, buckwheat, or other shrub species.
The nest shrub is generally on a gradual slope or within a
trench or gully. The nest sits about 2 ½ feet above
the ground near the outer edge within the shrub.
have 13 nesting pairs of gnatcatchers on the conservation
area; our concern is trash, because that brings in the ravens
that are predator birds, and they will prey on the gnatcatcher
birds, Wong said. Also, the trash brings in the
Argentine Ants, which are believed to eat injured mice, and
they reduce the presence of pollinators by invading flowers,
and then the pollinators cannot do their job. Artificial lighting
is another concern, because the majority of our mammals on
the preserve are nocturnal, so artificial light will affect
their natural habits as they hunt for food in the evenings.
James Maley is a collections manager at the Moore Lab of Ornithology
at Occidental College. He also specializes in the DNA of the
California Gnatcatcher. Dana Point Times spoke with Maley
to follow up on Wongs assertions during the hearing.
says that feral cats supersede birds of prey as the more common
predator of the California Gnatcatcher.
could yield trash, which could attract raccoons, feral cats,
bobcats and coyotes, Maley said. But these sorts
of animals dont go out hunting for the gnatcatcher.
Theyll catch them if theyre lucky.
says its common for residents and construction crews
to leave out food and water for feral cats, which only encourages
cats to live and prey on local species in the area.
can definitely be a problem, Maley said. It can
disrupt communication between birds, and gnatcatchers are
no exception. If the birds cant hear each other, then
they cant reinforce their territorial boundaries, find
mates or keep tabs on each other. All of these things are
essential to the gnatcatchers success.
says this is a common occurrence for most birds living in
urban and suburban areas. When a bird population lives in
sensitive habitat adjacent to loud noise, it will reduce reproductive
success and cause greater mortality to adults.
far as predatory birds, like peregrines, another development
in the area could serve as a perch. These predators arent
necessarily bad but it is something youll likely see,
people spoke in opposition of the project during the public-comment
period, citing concerns for building height, noise and traffic
Eric Nelson motioned to approve the CDP. However, the proposed
architectural features on the roof that exceeded the height
limit were denied by the planning commission.
coverings are desired by the applicant above the exterior
stairwell or access to the roof deck, any improvements must
be consistent with the 35-foot height limit, the motion
states, according to the approved minutes of the meeting.
motion was approved unanimously.
to the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA), the project
was determined to be categorically exempt per Section 15332
and, therefore, did not require an environmental impact report
(EIR). Per the staff report, Section 32 of CEQA Guidelines
stipulates that projects that are consistent with the applicable
general plan and zoning regulations, and are less than five
acres and substantially surrounded by urban uses with no habitat
value and would result in no significant effects relating
to traffic, noise, air or water quality, are categorically
was a traffic study conducted, and we found there to be no
impact, said Matt Schneider, director of community development.
Our traffic engineer (Rich Barretto) spoke to that during
confirmed that a noise study was done and in terms of air
quality, the California Air Resources Board offers a computer
model to generate predictions of impact. No significant impact
to air quality was found. Schneider says the project met all
requirements and standards for storm water, and no significant
impact to water quality was found.
we werent able to check off all these boxes, there would
be an initial study, Schneider said. CEQA requires
an EIR or a mitigated negative declaration (MND). That was
not the case for this project.
Appeal is Filed
Tuesday, Sept. 10, the law firm Delano & Delano filed
an appeal with City of Dana Point regarding the approved permit
for the proposed hotel at 34482 Green Lantern.
a letter to the city, signed by attorney Everett Delano III,
the firm calls for bringing the matter before city council.
Residents of Dana Point is a group of Dana Point residents
seeking to protect the environment, community character, and
aesthetics in and around the Project vicinity. Concerned Residents
of Dana Point use, enjoy and benefit from the resources negatively
impacted by the proposed Project, the letter states.
site is located within the Coastal Development District of
the Dana Point Specific Plan (DPSP)/Local Coastal Program
(LCP), which is the applicable Local Coastal Program for properties
directly above the Dana Point Harbor. The site lies within
the California Coastal Commission appeals area of the Coastal
Development District of the DPSP/LCP. In accordance with Implementing
Actions Program of the DPSP/LCP, the Orange County Zoning
Code (OCZC) is auxiliary to the DPSP, and for any item or
issue not included in the DPSP land use regulations, the OCZC
on the projects design and OCZC standards, a Coastal
Development Permit is required for the development of a coastal
bluff lot and lot merger, and a Conditional Use Permit is
necessary for architectural features that exceed the height
limit by fewer than 10 feet.
letter argues that the grounds for appeal include factual
errors made in approving the Project.
findings adopted by the Planning Commission were not supported
by the facts, and the decision by the Planning Commission
is in conflict with numerous land use, planning, and environmental
requirements, the letter states. . . . Commenters
noted the Citys failure to comply with the requirements
for the calculation of height and other Municipal Code and
Design Guidelines violations.
III argues that the project is inconsistent with the General
Plan, Specific Plan and Local Coastal Program, and violates
the California Coastal Act and CEQA.
letter argues that the project fails to properly provide low-cost
visitor and recreational facilities, fails to protect the
scenic and visual qualities of the area and fails to provide
adequate parking facilities and transportation services to
maintain and enhance public access. To view the letters
entirety, visit danapointtimes.com.
stated that because the project now faces an appeal, the matter
will go to Dana Point City Council. Because the appeal was
submitted on Sept. 10, the item has not yet been agendized.
To check for updates on when the appeal will appear before
council, check danapointtimes.com or visit danapoint.org to
see upcoming city council agendas.
an interview with Dana Point Times, Delano III said staff
from the Delano & Delano law firm intend on attending
the city council meeting in which the appeal has been placed
on the agenda.
owners of the 34482 Green Lantern property did not respond
to Dana Point Times multiple requests for comment before
Cannons Project Delays from CCC
a California Coastal Commission hearing on Wednesday, Sept.
11, proposals to revamp Cannons Restaurant were put on hold.
The 34482 Green Lantern property is in close proximity to
Cannons and both overlook the Dana Point Harbor.
staff stated in a report that with the loss of low-cost accommodations,
the ability of all members of the public to enjoy the coast
commission voted without discussion that there was a substantial
issue that called for further review of the plans before
construction, despite approvals from the planning commission
earlier this year.
will continue to work with the property owners, city staff
and the commission to address the issues that have been outlined,
said Lisa Mortimer, who co-owns Cannons. In the meantime,
we are still open for business, whether its dinner or events.