Oc dana point harbor staff report marina improvement project

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Brad Gross, Director

24650 Dana Point Harbor Drive

Dana Point, CA 92629
Telephone: (949) 923-2236

Fax: (949) 923-3792

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SUBSEQUENT EIR No. 613 (SCH No. 2003101142)

DATE: September 26, 2012
TO: Orange County Planning Commission
FROM: OC Dana Point Harbor
SUBJECT: Subsequent Environmental Impact Report (SEIR) No. 613/IP No. 12-248 for the proposed Dana Point Harbor Marina Improvement Project
PROPOSAL: This environmental analysis has been prepared to review and analyze the potential environmental impacts related to the adoption and implementation of the proposed Dana Point Harbor Marina Improvement Project as required by the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA). Proposed SEIR No. 613/IP No. 12-248 (SEIR No. 613) provides impact analysis for the project and identifies appropriate and feasible mitigation measures or project alternatives that would reduce or eliminate environmental impacts of the proposed project.
Proposed Final SEIR No. 613 has been prepared to analyze and disclose the potential environmental effects associated with the construction and future operation of the proposed Dana Point Harbor Marina Improvement Project. This Final SEIR is intended to tier off the Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Program Final Environmental Impact Report No. 591 (FEIR No. 591) (State Clearinghouse Number 2003101142) that was certified by the Orange County Board of Supervisors on January 31, 2006. The Marina Improvement Project is legally and functionally separate from and independent of the Revitalization Project, but was analyzed at a programmatic level of detail in FEIR No. 591 to insure that the overall impacts from development, including cumulative and related projects were addressed.
ZONING: Dana Point Harbor Planned Community, Harbor Marine Waterside Areas
LOCATION: Dana Point Harbor, City of Dana Point, within the Fifth Supervisorial District
APPLICANT: OC Dana Point Harbor
STAFF CONTACT: Brad Gross, Director, bgross@ocdph.com, 949-923-3798

Lisa Smith, Deputy Director, lsmith@ocdph.com, 949-923-3796

SYNOPSIS: OC Dana Point Harbor requests that the Planning Commission recommend certification of Final SEIR No. 613 by the Orange County Board of Supervisors as complete and adequate CEQA documentation and incorporate refinements to the Dana Point Harbor Marina Improvement Project description as described in this staff report.

The Orange County Planning Commission has several roles regarding CEQA compliance. These roles are defined in the Board-adopted Local CEQA Procedures Manual, including:
“A statement regarding the adequacy of the EIR will be made by the Planning Commission along with the appropriate findings, which will be forwarded to the Orange County Board of Supervisors, the decision-making body for the proposed project.”
The Planning Commission’s role in the Dana Point Harbor Marina Improvement Project is to consider the adequacy of the environmental analysis presented in Final SEIR No. 613 and recommend whether the Orange County Board of Supervisors, which is the governing body of OC Dana Point Harbor (OC DPH) should certify Final SEIR No. 613 prior to project approval and submitting an application to the California Coastal Commission (CCC) for action on a Coastal Development Permit for the project. CEQA defines a “Lead Agency” as the public agency that has the principal responsibility for carrying out or approving a project that may have a significant adverse effect upon the environment. For the purposes of CEQA, the County of Orange is the lead agency for the implementation of both the Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Plan and Marina Improvement Project.
Project Background
The construction of Dana Point Harbor (Harbor) began in the late 1960s with the Harbor officially being dedicated on July 31, 1971. Since its creation nearly four decades ago, many parts of the Harbor’s infrastructure, including docks, piles and landside facilities such as storm drains, sewers, parking lots and some of the structures have deteriorated and are now in need of modernization and/or replacement. Recognizing the physical conditions in the Harbor required comprehensive intervention; in 1997 a Task Force was created by the Orange County Board of Supervisors to assist with the development of a comprehensive plan for the future Harbor. The Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Plan (Revitalization Plan) was developed over the next several years and officially adopted by the Orange County Board of Supervisors and Dana Point City Council in 2006.
A Program Environmental Impact Report (Program EIR) was prepared for the overall Harbor Revitalization Project (landside and waterside areas) and certified by the Orange County Board of Supervisors on January 31, 2006 (County of Orange Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Plan Program FEIR No. 591). FEIR No. 591 evaluated the entire Harbor Revitalization Plan at a programmatic or conceptual level of detail and provided project or construction-level EIR analysis for the Commercial Core area of the Harbor (a portion of Planning Area 1 and all of Planning Area 2), consistent with CEQA Guidelines Sections 15146 and 15168. (see Staff Report Attachment 1, Project Exhibits) Following certification of EIR No. 591, the Board of Supervisors approved the project and authorized the County to proceed with the next steps toward implementation of the Revitalization Plan.
Implementation of the Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Plan also required a series of subsequent approvals by the City of Dana Point and the CCC to modify the previously adopted regulatory documents, including the City of Dana Point’s Local Coastal Program (LCP), which covers the Harbor. The Revitalization Plan and District Regulations therefore required a Local Coastal Program Amendment (LCPA). Pursuant to the requirements of the California Coastal Act, an LCP includes a Land Use Plan (LUP) component and an Implementation Plan (IP) component, which together establishes policies, zoning regulations and other implementing actions required for implementation of improvements and ongoing management of the facilities.
Changes in the Land Use Plan as recommended by the Dana Point Planning Commission and adopted by the Dana Point City Council subsequent to the Orange County Board of Supervisors certification of FEIR No. 591 and action on the Revitalization Plan included:

  • Elimination of 1 dry stack boat storage building and a reduction of the maximum building height of the structure from 70 to 65 feet

  • Revisions to plan development regulations to remove allowances for elevators, mechanical units, etc. to exceed the maximum building height on all buildings over 35 feet in height and reduce allowances for architectural building projections to not exceed 10% of the total roof area or a maximum of 5 additional feet

  • Addition of parking management plan requirements to optimize on-site parking opportunities for the public and employees

  • Revitalization Plan design requirements to maintain the character, nature and vision of the Harbor as a “in water” small boat harbor

  • Incorporation of requirements to provide a trail connection between the Harbor and Doheny State Beach

Following review of the LCP Amendment application submitted by the City of Dana Point, the California Coastal Commission approved the LUP component of the LCPA for the Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Project with suggested modifications on October 8, 2009. The suggested modifications added a number of new Land Use Plan policies, including but not limited to:

  • Prohibiting any new boating/yacht clubs or associations to be established in the Harbor

  • Removal of the lighthouse land use designation and elimination of a freestanding marine retail store in Dana Point Harbor Marine Services Commercial Planning Area 1 (PA 1)

  • Restriction of building heights to 35 feet maximum with exceptions for Planning Areas 1, 2 and 3

  • Addition of an overall goal for renovation of the Harbor Marinas of “no net loss” of slips harbor-wide or a maximum of 155 slip loss for boat slips

  • Added a policy requirement to maintain a minimum 1.6 acre full-service shipyard facility

  • Added a policy requirement to provide dry boat storage capacity of 493 spaces

  • Added a policy requirement to provide a minimum of 334 parking spaces for vehicles with trailers in the launch ramp area

  • Established parking standards to provide a minimum of 0.6 spaces per boat slip and 1 space per 3 passengers for sport fishing, charter boat and passenger ferry commercial operations

  • Included policy provisions for the protection of bird nesting and foraging habitat

  • Included policy provisions for tsunamis and rogue waves, storm surges and sea level rise

The Coastal Commission approved the City’s LCPA IP component with suggested modifications on January 12, 2011. The suggested modifications added a number of new regulations and development standards to the Implementation Plan, including but not limited to the following:

  • Established general regulatory provisions for building design to maintain consistency with the character of the community

  • Included requirements for preparation of a number of management plans to aid in the revitalization design, facility management and discretionary review process

  • Provided standards for the maintenance and trimming of trees

  • Designated areas containing existing park areas for continued recreation purposes

  • Required an area be provided in the Marine Services Commercial PA 1 for boat owner DIY maintenance and repair

  • Established requirements for the size and scope of the boat launch ramp and dry boat storage areas

  • Established discretionary review/approval standards for allowing exceptions to the maximum building height requirements of 35 feet harbor-wide for Planning Areas 1, 2 and 3

  • Augmented provisions for the protection of public access to land and waterside areas, including expansion of recreational boating opportunities

  • Added restrictions for the replacement of hotel units

  • Provided restrictions on the continued operation of existing yacht clubs and boating associations

  • Added environmental protection standards for the replacement of docks and piles

  • Added standards for the design and replacement of slips and pump-out facilities

  • Modified procedures for the adjustment of Planning Area boundaries

On October 6, 2011, the CCC concurred with the Executive Director’s determination that actions of the City of Dana Point accepting certification of the Local Coastal Program Amendment No. 1-10 with suggested modifications was legally adequate, thereby certifying the Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Plan and District Regulations as being fully effective.
Due to the incorporation of additional policies, regulations and development standards by the CCC, resulting in refinements to the LUP and IP components of the Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Plan & District Regulations in the form of various suggested modifications, the County prepared an Addendum to FEIR No. 591 to provide a record and explanation of the changes resulting from the certification of the City’s LCPA and an assessment whether those changes resulted in any of the conditions described in Guidelines Section 15162 in relation to the analysis and conclusions of FEIR No. 591, as provided for in CEQA Guidelines Section 15164 to provide a record of the changes resulting from the LCPA discretionary approval process that occurred subsequent to the certification of FEIR No. 591 by the Orange County Board of Supervisors. No Subsequent or Supplemental EIR is required.
The Addendum reviewed changes in the project that have occurred since FEIR No. 591 was certified and compares environmental effects of development of the project as revised with those of the original project previously disclosed (see Staff Report Attachment 2, page 2-11 through 2-14 - Table 2.A, Comparison between the Land Use Summary Analyzed in FEIR No. 591 and the Project Analyzed in the Addendum to FEIR No. 591 for a complete summary of physical changes to the project). The Addendum also assesses whether new information of substantial importance that was not known and could not have been known with exercise of reasonable diligence at the time FEIR No. 591 was certified has become available and evaluates whether there are new or more severe significant environmental effects associated with changes in circumstances under which project development is now being undertaken.
Jurisdictional Considerations
The project site is located entirely within the Coastal Zone and is subject to regulation under the California Coastal Act of 1976 (Coastal Act). The Harbor is under the land use planning and regulatory jurisdiction of the City of Dana Point1 (landside areas) and the California Coastal Commission (waterside areas) and is included in the certified Dana Point Specific Plan/Local Coastal Program (LCP; Dana Point LCP). In 1981, the County approved the LCP for Dana Point known as the South Coast Planning Unit Dana Point LCP and in 1985 the California Coastal Commission certified the LCP. In 1991, when the City of Dana Point was formed, LCP authority for the entire City including the Harbor was transferred to the City. Landside areas remain under the oversight of the Coastal Commission as an appealable jurisdiction while the Coastal Commission exercises full discretionary authority over all waterside areas, including all aspects of the Marina Improvement Project.
Environmental Setting and Existing Conditions

Dana Point Harbor (Harbor) is located in Capistrano Bay on the Southern Orange County coastline. The Harbor is a County of Orange (County) facility located within the City of Dana Point (City) and offers recreational boaters, County residents, tourists and others a number of recreational activities, retail shopping and dining opportunities. The facility is operated by OC Dana Point Harbor, a County agency and is owned by the County of Orange. Over 40 years ago the State of California, through a Tidelands Grant, designated the County as the trustee of the Harbor for the benefit of the people of the State of California.

The Pacific Ocean to the south; Dana Headlands and Old Cove Marine Preserve to the west border the Harbor; Doheny State Beach to the east; and a variety of commercial, hotel, residential and park uses to the north. Interstate 5 (I-5), located approximately two miles east of the Harbor, runs north/south through the City and provides regional access to the Harbor. The Harbor is primarily accessible from Pacific Coast Highway and the Street of the Golden Lantern via Dana Point Harbor Drive. Cove Road and the Pacific Ocean provide secondary access.
Land uses surrounding the Dana Point Marina Improvement Project within the Harbor boundaries include marine services, commercial retail, restaurants, public parking, public waterways, yacht clubs, Harbor Patrol facilities, a hotel, harbor-related public recreational areas, the Ocean Institute and public parks. Residential, commercial and hotel uses are located to the north and west along the coastal bluffs, outside of the Harbor boundaries.
The proposed Marina Improvement Project addressed in Proposed Final SEIR No. 613 is comprised of the marina (waterside) portions of the Harbor, Planning Areas (PAs) 8 through 12. The West Marina (PA 9) channel connects the marina to the West Turning Basin, which contains docks for the Sea Explorer and two tall ships, the Spirit of Dana Point and the Pilgrim. In addition, a public beach area, commonly known as Baby Beach is located adjacent to the West Turning Basin.
The East Marina (PA 10) contains the Orange County Sheriff Harbor Patrol docks, which are located near the entrance to the East Marina. Commercial fishing slips are located adjacent to the Sheriff Harbor Patrol docks. The East Marina channel connects the East Marina to the East Turning Basin, which contains a full-service fuel dock and a bait receiver.
Embarcadero Marina is located in PA 11, northeast of the East Turning Basin. PA 11 also contains the sport fishing docks, charter boat docks, the Catalina Express dock, boat rental facilities, the public boat launch ramp and docks utilized by Marine Service operators, including the shipyard.
See Staff Report Attachment 1 for the Regional Vicinity, Harbor Planning Area and Harbor Layout Maps.
The primary goals of the project are to revitalize Dana Point Harbor so it can continue to operate as a popular destination for boaters, local residents and tourists while maintaining the unique character of the Harbor. The project goals include implementation of Coastal Act Policies in conformance with the approved Dana Point Harbor Revitalization Plan Land Use Plan, including:
Maintain the Harbor’s current character and family atmosphere

Renovate and replace the deteriorating docks and slips

Satisfy ADA requirements for dock areas of the Harbor

Maintain a full-service Harbor

Enhance the level of services for boaters

Update commercial fishing facilities

Maximize the number of slips available in the East and West Marinas for public rental by relocating many of the yacht broker slips to another area of the Harbor.

Relocate guest dock facilities and provide new dinghy docks convenient to Day-Use Commercial uses

Upgrade utility infrastructure to all areas of the Marinas

Maintain a safe environment for all levels of the boating community, Harbor users and merchants

Provide improvements in accordance with California Department of Boating and Waterways (DBW) guidelines, including the placement of boats in correctly sized slips

Update the sport fishing dock

The Dana Point Harbor Marina Improvement Project addressed in this Proposed Final SEIR No. 613 includes replacement of waterside facilities in the West and East Basins in Dana Point Harbor, connection of dock gangways with the quay wall and bulkheads within those basins and replacement of gangways and security gates to both marina areas. Additionally, new Embarcadero/Dry Boat Storage Staging docks and dinghy docks, along with renovations to the marine services docks, OC Sailing and Events Center docks, guest slips, Harbor Patrol docks, commercial fishing docks and sport fishing docks are included in the proposed project.
The project also includes public access improvements to gangways and docks in compliance with the ADA guidelines. In order to accommodate displaced boats during project implementation, a temporary dock near the east breakwater next to Doheny State Beach is included as part of the project proposal. Once renovations are complete, the temporary dock may be converted for use on a permanent basis; however, any permanent use within this federal anchorage area would require approval by the United States Army Corps of Engineers (Corps) and would also be subject to approval of a Coastal Development Permit by the California Coastal Commission.
See Staff Report Attachment 1 for the Proposed Harbor Layout. A detailed description of the project characteristics addressed in SEIR No. 613 is also provided in Section 3.6, Project Characteristics, pages 3-8 through 3-14. The Project Components Table on the following page summarizes the existing and proposed Marina Improvement Project improvements:

Proposed Project Components


Existing Conditions

Marina Improvement Project

Floating Docks (East/West Marinas and Satellite Areas)

Floating docks supported by 1,306 concrete filled steel pipe piles
2,409 boat slips
Average slip length of 29.85 feet (ft.).

Majority of West Marina slips oriented west-east. East Marina slips oriented north-south

Approximately 492,530 square feet (s.f.) of area covered by floating docks

Remove existing piles and replace with 969 piles
2,2931 boat slips (loss of 116 slips)

Average slip length not to exceed 32 ft.

West Marina slips to be reoriented to a north-south direction. East Marina slips to remain oriented north-south
Approximately 459,540 s.f.2 of area covered by floating docks


52 gangways

59 gangways plus 9 Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) gangways, for a total of 68 gangways

Boat Services

3 sewage pump-outs

4 upgraded sewage pumpouts3


electrical service, water service, telephone and cable service
Dock Boxes

Upgraded electrical service, water service, telephone and cable service
New Dock Boxes

Embarcadero/Boat Storage Staging Docks

766 linear feet (lf)

1,300 lf

Marine Services Docks

1,190 lf

896 lf

Sport Fishing Docks

1,350 lf

1,350 lf

Guest Slips

42 slips

46 slips

Dinghy Dock

No dinghy dock

374 lf

Harbor Patrol Slips

8 slips plus 2 emergency side-ties

8 slips plus 2 emergency side-ties

Commercial Fishing Slips

15 slips plus 1 end-tie for California Department of Fish and Game boat

15 slips plus 1 end-tie for California Department of Fish and Game boat

OC Sailing and Events Center Docks

890 lf

893 lf

Temporary Docks

No existing temporary docks

1 dock located along the eastern breakwater – approx. 2,590 lf 4


Includes the following: 4 slips at the guest docks, 3 slips at the Harbor Patrol docks and 62 slips at the temporary docks

2 Includes Temporary Docks during estimated 8 years of construction that may become permanent after completion of construction subject to approval of separate permits

3 Pump-out facilities for individual vessels will be in accordance with CCC requirements and determined at the time CDPs are processed for Marina improvements

4 Subject to discretionary approvals for conversion to a permanent use to be obtained with completion of the Marina Improvement Project as required

Pursuant to CEQA, the County of Orange is the Lead Agency responsible for preparing a Environmental Impact Report (EIR), in this case a Subsequent EIR (SEIR), to address, analyze and consider potential environmental impacts associated with the Dana Point Harbor Marina Improvement Project, the project alternatives and mitigation measures designed to avoid or minimize impacts to a level of less than significant. The intent of CEQA is to ensure that the decision makers and the public are provided with information about environmental effects of proposed project activities. The CEQA process provides for the full disclosure to the public of the reasons that decision makers approve project having unavoidable significant environmental impacts. The process also enables a lead agency to prevent significant avoidable environmental damage by making changes in a project through the recommendation of project alternatives and/or imposition of appropriate mitigation measures. All of this must be reviewed and considered by the Lead Agency prior to taking action on the project.
Proposed Final SEIR No. 613 identified the following unavoidable adverse impacts of the proposed project: that were determined to be significant and no mitigation is available that would reduce impacts to less-than-significant levels.
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