Letter: Concerning the Coast Inn

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I am very concerned that the City Council may be trying an end-run by going around the Planning Commission and the residents and rushing a vote on the Dornins’ massive redevelopment plans for the Coast Inn. 

According to news reports and various conversations with city staff, I was led to believe that “no controversial developments” were going to be heard by the city until the current health crisis was over and it was safe to go to City Hall. This project certainly falls under the “controversial” category.

At the last second on the day of the City Council hearing, Marcella and Chris Dornin tried to open up their proposed rooftop swimming pool and bar to nearly 100 guests. The chain seafood restaurant planned for the ground floor can hold hundreds of more people. All this with not one additional parking space based on the 1927 plans for the hotel back when there were very few cars. The Dornins’ grand plans for 1401 South Coast Highway are terrible.

As the founder of Save the Boom, I have been deeply involved with this process since a group of us formed this preservation organization back in early 2006.

During the summer of that year we collected 6,000 signatures that we presented to the City Council urging the city to help us keep the Coast Inn and Boom Boom Room gay establishments just like it had been for over 60 years   

The current owners have done little in this regard.

By trying to circumvent the city’s current rules for parking and occupancy, they would create a nightmare scenario in the neighborhood.

Please send this bad plan back to the Planning Commission and allow public input with plenty of notice. Laguna deserves that.

Fred Karger, Laguna Beach

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