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Dana Point Gives Nod to Headlands Project

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

In a marathon session that lasted past midnight Tuesday, the Dana Point City Council supported almost in its entirety the Headlands development proposal that calls for 185 homes, 70 acres of open space and a beach-side hotel.

No vote was required. The unanimous council consensus allows city officials to begin work on a final, detailed plan, to be completed by late summer.

“This is still only the beginning,” Councilwoman Ruby L. Netzley said, “even though it is a major step.”

The council suggested a few changes to earlier proposals, such as scaling back housing development in some areas and asking city officials to look at alternative street plans.

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About 30 residents attended Tuesday night’s session to express their concerns about the project.

“The Headlands is our last great place,” said Elinor Orlandella of the Committee to Save the Headlands. “Therefore, the open space must be preserved.”

Some residents who had lobbied to defeat an earlier plan, which called for 370 homes and a 400-room hotel, expressed support for the latest plan. But others said that more refinement is needed.

Resident Ed Gallagher pointed out that most of the 70 acres of open space would be privately owned, which would mean that many more homes could be built there someday.

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To give the landowners 185 homes and let them keep the open space as a private area “doesn’t make any sense,” Gallagher said.

The property is owned by M.H. Sherman Co. and Chandis Securities, a subsidiary of Times Mirror Co., which publishes the Los Angeles Times.

The owners have taken issue with some of the city’s recommendations.

In an April 24 letter to the city, representatives of the two companies called Tuesday’s meeting “the culmination of a workshop process convened by the city from which we have been effectively excluded from the outset.”

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The letter also states that the city has ignored its own General Plan, which would allow 261 to 522 homes on the Headlands.

The companies also oppose the city’s proposal to place the hotel in the northern portion of the project, saying it would be better to put it closer to other businesses in the harbor area.

City officials maintain that the owners have had ample opportunity to participate in the planning process.


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