Orange County supervisors Tuesday took the final step needed to launch a $337 million revitalization project for the Dana Point Harbor, which has been 20 years in the making.
Last October, the supervisors selected Dana Point Harbor Partners to develop and manage the harbor, and Tuesday they approved the final details of the 66-year lease agreement.
The public-private partnership includes development of two new hotels, 77,178 square feet of restaurant and outdoor dining space, 31,949 square feet of retail and food court space, 2,000 square feet of marine-related retail shops, 5,600 square feet of office space and a 9,000-square-foot museum.
The harbor will include 2,296 marina slips, 388 spaces in a drystack boat storage facility and valet boater slips.
A boutique hotel will have 130 rooms and a less-expensive hotel will have 136 rooms.
Construction is expected to begin in June of next year and be done by June 2025, at a total estimated cost of $377,822,787.
County officials touted that in negotiations, they reduced their obligations and expenses from $2 billion to less than $1.2 billion.
Some of the supervisors, however, raised questions about the expense of having the sheriff’s harbor patrol providing security.
“It’s incumbent on the board to get ahold of the big bogey, the harbor patrol,” Supervisor Todd Spitzer said.
Supervisor Lisa Bartlett said the question of the harbor patrol’s responsibilities will be ironed out soon.
“With regard to the harbor patrol, that’s something I’ve been looking at and reviewing for a number of years,” Bartlett said, adding she has had discussions with Supervisor Michelle Steel, whose district also includes shoreline.
“We’ll both be looking at harbor patrol in its entirety,” Bartlett said.
The harbor patrol is necessary for some functions because the deputies undergo training by the Department of Homeland Security.
“While we need security in the harbor… We don’t need someone with Homeland Security training telling someone to put a life vest on,” Bartlett said. “It’s something we will be reviewing and be bringing back to the board for a plan of action and discussion in the near future.”
Bartlett noted the smattering of applause that followed the vote.
“This deserves applause,” she said, noting that it’s been 20 years in the planning.
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