Artist’s Live-Work Project Readies for Review

         The Planning Commission is scheduled next week to consider a reworked concept of Laguna Beach sculptor Louis Longi’s long-delayed artist live-work project on Laguna Canyon Road.

Longi had originally planned an eight-unit, live-work space for artists on his large parcel, but wants to increase the density to 30 occupants engaged in monumental paintings, installations and sculpture. Also in the plan is a common work area designed for sharing resources such as a foundry, construction materials and work equipment, said Longi.

The property is currently zoned for commercial and light industrial use, and Longi must seek a conditional use permit to allow residential use of the units, which will have the amenities of homes including special allowances for making art such as easy access, natural light and sufficient ventilation. The facility will include eight low-income units and 41 underground parking spaces.

Longi purchased the land in 2008 but plans to partner with a local investor he declined to identify willing to contribute $500,000 in equity that will help the project qualify for a $3.5 million construction loan should it be approved.

The project was delayed by the credit crunch as well as the December 2010 flooding and a year-long moratorium on artist live work projects. In May, the council approved a revised ordinance to entice development of such units. Longi’s would be one of the largest ever considered.

Also on the agenda: A seasonal tent proposal at Maro Wood Grill,  conversion of the Laguna Beach Dog Company into a Living Juice shop, proposed construction of a roof-top deck at Rock’n Fish, a conditional use permit for the Nekter Juice Bar.

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