Six weeks ago the attorney representing the investment group for the ocean front mega-project Coast Inn and Coast Liquor “remodel” presented their proposal to the Laguna Beach City Council. At that meeting dozens of residents expressed serious apprehensions about the proposed project’s mass, scale, and want of historical integrity. Rather than support the Planning Commission’s 5-0 vote to deny the project, the City Council instead referred the matter to a subcommittee for further discussion.
The same concerns articulated during public testimony at the Jan. 23 City Council meeting were again highlighted at the public subcommittee meeting. These included a huge non-historical rooftop bar, extensive decking and swimming pool, “fantasy” patron and employee parking exemptions, intensified traffic and safety concerns, noise and light pollution, grossly flawed trash pick-up proposal, serious view obstructions, burdensome impact on area neighborhoods and nearby commercial enterprises, and a height scheme triggering the need for massive structural reinforcing and variances.
The magnitude and inescapable consequences of this project’s very serious deficiencies underscore why the Planning Commission voted unanimously to reject it. Any clear-eyed observer can see that these proposed intensifications do not remotely align with the Coast Inn’s historical integrity. Because of its sensitive coastal location and its undeniable impact on the community, a project-specific Environmental Impact Report (EIR) and a full review by the California Coastal Commission should be mandated before the city of Laguna Beach takes any further action.
This project, with all its assorted baggage and flawed analyses, should be acknowledged for what it is: a disingenuous attempt to turn a historic building into something that never was.
As stewards of the public trust, the Laguna Beach City Council should stand tall and insist that the developer reassess the project and dramatically downsize its proposal. Any decision regarding its future should be based on what is best for the city and its residents, not guided by consideration for a profit-seeking investor group.
Randy Lewis, Laguna Beach