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DANA POINT, CA-The swank St. Regis Hotel’s controversial efforts to expand its beachfront club and begin operating a shuttle to move its guests from the hotel to the ocean itself will be heard tonight by this city’s Planning Commission.

St. Regis officials want to nearly double the size of facility’s outdoor beachfront patio and to begin a shuttle service that would take guests from the $240-million resort down to the ocean and back. The shuttles would run on a private, roughly mile-long path that the hotel would build across the Monarch Links Golf Course.

Some residents in the area, which is dotted with multimillion-dollar homes, oppose the plan. They fear that it would allow the hotel’s guests to overrun their secluded shoreline. A handful of environmentalists and conservationists also oppose the idea, saying it could hurt the environment and displace wildlife.

The plan was originally set to be heard by the Planning Commission in August, but the hearing was cancelled after the state’s Fair Political Practices Commission indicated that commissioners who were given free passes to a $500-per-ticket party at the hotel may have violated conflict-of-interest laws. The three commissioners and two City Council members who attended the bash have since reimbursed the hotel for their share of the costs, according to Deputy City Attorney Bryan C. LeRoy.

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