Wave Resort Dana Point


August 1, 2018

F23a Wave Resort Dana Point

Appeal No. A-5-DPT-17-0063 (Headlands Investments, LLC, Dana Point)

In October 2017, the Surfrider Foundation South Orange County Chapter appealed a luxury hotel development approved by the City of Dana Point through Local Coastal Development Permit CDP17-0008. At its December 15, 2017 meeting, the Commission found substantial issue with the City of Dana Point’s approval of this project and ordered de novo review. One of the critical issues focused on by the appeal (and by the Commissioners during the hearing) was whether the certified Headlands Development and Conservation Plan (HDCP) permits construction of a hotel in addition to a hostel in Planning Area 4 (where the proposed project is located).

The HDCP allows for development of one hotel and does not permit a second hotel in Planning Area 4. The prior owner of the property comprising Planning Area 4 knew this and did not attempt to construct a hotel when it entitled the property for retail/restaurant/office space in 2008. In 2014, the City of Dana Point, in its bond proposal for a Facilities Maintenance District repeatedly distinguished between the commercial/office lots of Planning Area 4 and the hotel/luxury inn lots of Planning Area 9. Clearly, the HDCP does not permit development of a second hotel in Planning Area 4.

Coastal Commission staff disagreed, stating that the HDCP is sufficiently ambiguous to allow the luxury hotel. As such, staff recommended approval of the development with conditions. Commissioners ultimately agreed with staff and approved the development with proposed conditions.

Why You Should Care

Consistency of position and plain meaning are important when interpreting local coastal programs. The HDCP does not permit a second hotel in Planning Area 4 and the City of Dana Point has never thought it did, until now. By allowing this development, the Coastal Commission is opening the door to other development inconsistent with LCPs and potential abuse of LCP policies.


Pro-Coast Vote

Anti-Coast Vote

Commissioner Steve Padilla stated that he respects the Surfrider Foundation’s argument. However, he sympathized with the developer and stated that the hotel is a principally permitted use in the HDCP and he motioned to approve the permit. Commissioner Roberto Uranga seconded the motion stated that he supports the addition of a hostel to the hotel development as mitigation for the moderate- to high-cost proposed hotel.

Organizations Opposed

Surfrider Foundation

Decision Type

De Novo Appeal

Staff Recommendation

Approval with Conditions

Coastal Act Policy