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Town Center Project

Dec 2015

Majestic Sells Project to Raintree Evergreen

Majestic Development sold their project to apartment owner/operator Raintree Evergreen.    Majestic received approval of their 3 building project located on each side of Amber Lantern and the west side of Violet Lantern all fronting on PCH and extending all the way to Del Prodo.   The approval was given to Majestic by 3 Councilmen (Olvera, Weinberg, and Brough) who reversed the denial by the Planning Commission.   The best numbers available show Majestic earning about $10,000,000 in profits from their approved project.


July 2014

Majestic Development Project Issues


1)      Density -  111 Condos and 30,000 sq ft of retail and restaurants with a need for 337 cars on 2.19 acres – not a small town village atmosphere as required in Town Center Plan

2)      Parking Nightmare – Only 250 spaces plus 12 tandem spaces provided in garages versus needs for from 337 (Community Development) to 392 (without concessions)

            a)      Guests and customers expected to find parking in underground maze?

            b)     Inevitable spill over into residential neighborhoods north and south

3)      Traffic Congestion – all project provided parking is entered from Amber Lantern or the alley between Amber and Violet Lantern which will snarl Amber Lantern; Only 2 narrow lanes on Amber Lantern for access to Phase 1 and 2 underground garages and back in slant parking plus deliveries and trash trucks blocking narrow lanes of Amber Lantern, PCH and Del Prado

4)      Height  variances - add 59 foot elevator towers  and 3 ½ foot railings which were not highlighted and require a conditional use permit

5)      In Lieu Parking – burden to supply rest of parking is passed off to the city for $15,000/ space; City has no plan where this will be and could cost $1,575,000

6)      Concessions - recommended by Dana Point Community Development to Majestic

            a)      4th floor variance adds 40 Condos = +56%  and 88.5 parking spaces required

            b)     Roof garden variance adds height + noise

            c)      Majestic can build to the lot line on all sides – no extended sidewalks, no seating

            d)     Majestic is given free use of two sections of public alley – 2 floors above and 2                       layers of garage below

            e)      Majestic is allowed to provide no delivery and trash pickup locations (pushed                         onto public roads and alley)

            f)       Majestic can eliminate providing  guest parking (23) and reduces parking  by 8%                   for bicycle spaces

            g)      Majestic can count 12 publocparking spaces on Amber and Violet Lantern as                           their contribution


The Majestic Project, the major topic of the July 14 Planning Commission meeting,  is a 111 unit condominium complex needing  a minimum 337 cars on only 2.2 acres between Del Prado and PCH that claims to promote the goals of the Town Center Plan.  This while asking for significant variances for height (over 40 feet)and the number of stories (four) that would violate the most important and core requirements of the Town Center Plan. If approved, this project would set a precedent for favoring residential projects rather than the pedestrian friendly business district with a, “small town village atmosphere” that the Town Center Plan requires and which would appeal to all Dana Point residents and visitors.  

At the meeting, Dana Point residents overflowed the council chambers and vigorously objected to the lack of information to Dana Point residents about the project and its hasty presentation to the Planning Commission.  The Community Development and Planning Department presentation did not highlight pertinent issues or provide complete disclosure to the public and Commissioners but advocated a sweetheart deal for the developer with no concern for residents.  The project’s generic appearance, density, traffic congestion and parking were the residents’ other major concerns. 

Majestic and Town Center property owners expect the City of Dana Point to knuckle under to their outrageous demands for the sake of “progress” in Town Center.  For example, since Majestic will not provide all required parking on its site, Majestic has demanded that Dana Point assume a long term obligation to provide necessary parking elsewhere in Town Center.  Without a parking plan in place, the City has no idea of the parking location or cost.  This demand alone could cost the City $1,575,000. The City is also granting this developer free rights to the area above and below two alleyways to enhance the project.

The City of Dana Point must not sell out its residents. If a major change of the Town Center Plan is required to attract development, residents must be fully included in all discussions and decisions regarding such changes. The Planning Commission has decided to continue the Majestic project to its August 11, 2014  meeting.  To avoid the perceived deception that occurred leading up to the July 14 Planning Commission Meeting, the City must provide residents with more timely information about the project well before the next Planning Commission meeting.    



Residents generally support the Town Center/Lantern District project, designed to beautify the city and encourage new business development.  While the concept is appealing, Dana Point taxpayers who are funding the project should be warned that, in reality, the project is an ambitious and costly undertaking for our city.  As admitted by Dana Point staff at the March 18th council meeting, the city is “rolling the dice” by fronting the development costs.  Although construction has begun, several key issues still need to be resolved. 

Financing is a major concern.  Dana Point is spending $13 million for just the first phase of the project, which is 45% of the city’s anticipated 2014 income of approximately $29 million.  This year’s large budget deficit will be funded from the city’s reserves, mainly to cover the Town Center project.  Phase two of the project could cost an additional $7 to $9 million.   Anticipated development fees will return only a small percentage of the cost to the city, although developers typically pay the majority of the cost.  Property owners in Town Center are also receiving a gift from taxpayers by not being asked to contribute to the cost of their improvements.  

The Town Center plan assumes that the improvements will stimulate retail and residential development.  However, at the joint Planning Commission and City Council meeting, the council was told by its consultant that the parking requirements in the plan appear to be an impediment for developers.   The city is now considering reducing the number of required parking spaces, which will impact nearby residents.  A representative of the building industry told the council that the height limit in Town Center is a major obstacle for developers to overcome.  Raising the height allowance would encourage developers and increase property values in Town Center but would adversely impact our community.       

With the construction of phase one almost complete, the city should stop “rolling the dice” with taxpayer money.  Dana Point’s resources are limited and the city must satisfy its many obligations throughout Dana Point and be able to fund other important programs that benefit residents and attract visitors.  Hopefully Town Center will begin to meet expectations by actual requests for building permits. Until then, the city council should reconsider future spending on the project and give priority to the financial well being of all of Dana Point.