As the Coast Inn development heads toward another City Council hearing on Tuesday, July 28, many residents continue to be baffled by why a rooftop deck and bar on this historic property would ever be approved by the City Council. Residents have nothing to gain by a rooftop deck that is “for hotel guests only,” but they have everything to lose. Those who live above the Coast Inn will look down on a large roof cluttered with signs, flags, turrets, towers and umbrellas. Views will be blocked, dark skies will be brightened, and noise will emanate from the people on the deck. And to add insult to injury, not a single resident (or tourist) will ever be able to enjoy the rooftop deck unless they rent a hotel room.
Yes, we absolutely need to revitalize Laguna’s economy. But the City has nothing to gain financially from this deck—no additional bed tax and only a few dollars of sales tax from drinks served at the rooftop bar. The owner already benefits financially from this property—the hotel is currently operating as an AirBnB and the restaurant has been leased to Bear Flag. So why is a rooftop deck and bar even necessary, especially when it threatens to set dangerous precedents for building height, decorative flags, decks, towers, turrets, railings, umbrellas, and signs on rooftops (which are prohibited by code)?
Yes, the existing property is in desperate need of renovation. But that is the result of the owner intentionally letting it fall into a state of disrepair to motivate approval of this project. Yes, the project has taken a long time to get through the City planning department. But it’s the owner who must take responsibility for all the delays.
There is only “pain” and no “gain” in Laguna’s future if a rooftop deck on the Coast Inn is approved. A few years ago, when the owner of the Coast Inn spoke to City Council to voice his opposition to the Mozambique rooftop, he said: “We shouldn’t all sacrifice and the owner make no compromises for any of us…” And he was absolutely right. Please encourage the City Council to deny the rooftop deck at Tuesday’s hearing.
Terry Meurer, Laguna Beach