DANA POINT Some stakeholders in the Dana Point Harbor are concerned they won’t get the official voice they expected during the upcoming $200 million harbor renovation.
On Friday, representatives from Dana Point Harbor’s Merchant and Boaters associations and other groups that expected to be part of a new Dana Point Harbor Advisory Council plan to attend an OC Parks meeting where the group is set to be rescinded.
County officials have already filled two of the council’s 11 seats. The remainder were expected to be filled by October.
“We had hoped it would be like the three legs of a stool: The county, the private developer and the community commission,” said James Lenthall, president of the Dana Point Boaters Association.
OC Parks plans to create a different group, an ad hoc committee that will work more like a town hall to broaden the scope of input to anyone interested in the harbor renovation, said John Nicks, deputy director of parks. Three members from the county Parks Commission will be appointed to run the committee, which will hold regularly posted meetings, Nicks said.
The switch came following a review by County Counsel Leon Page that found legal problems with the advisory council.
Legally, stakeholders in a government-type body are not allowed to have a financial interest in a contract they’re in position to vote on or improve, Page said. Most stakeholders are harbor tenants and have county contracts, he said.
“I understand there is angst,” Page said. “It’s entirely for their benefit. These stakeholders would be in harm’s way if they voted on something they could benefit from.”
The county plans to select a developer for the harbor as early as next month. On Oct. 4, county staff is expected to release a report with their recommendation for the developer. The Board of Supervisors is set to review the recommendation on Oct. 17.
In May, the county received proposals from two developers, who have not publicly been named, that are vying to head the long-awaited renovation. The project includes reconstruction of the commercial core, the east and west marinas, the Marina Inn Hotel and 52 guest slips. Under the proposed public-private partnership, a developer would design, fund and build the proposed improvements, then operate those portions of the harbor on a 50-year lease, before returning the property to the county.
Lentahall said the idea for the advisory council came from Newport Beach and Long Beach harbors, which both…