Rooftop Bar Still on Ice


By Randy Kraft, Special to the Independent

Local resident Sam Goldstein will require more patience to learn if his petition for a rooftop deck on the Heisler Building can proceed.

Last week, the Planning Commission put off resolving the matter, granting a continuance until Sept. 10, rather than deny the request entirely as recommended by city staff.

Goldstein renovated the once derelict two-level building at Coast Highway and Laguna Avenue that is now occupied by a Tommy Bahama store and bar and Rock ‘n’ Fish restaurant. He wants to extend the latter’s seating outdoors.

The key point of disagreement is an elevator shaft that protrudes above the permitted building height, and, according to architect Todd Skenderian, cannot be engineered without a variance.

The continuance is to allow a review by the fire department to determine if a gurney elevator is in fact required If not, the matters left undecided should be easily resolved. Goldstein was asked to consider if potential view obstructions can be minimized.

The owner of the parking structure on Glenneyre behind the building also objected to the potential reduction of water views, and a representative from the Hotel Laguna objected on grounds that rooftop patrons might be able to compromise privacy in guest rooms opposite the deck on the other side of Coast Highway.

None of the four Planning Commissioners present argued the staff findings and, although the meeting was a public meeting, and despite several potential speakers on behalf of the project, discussion was limited to staff issues.

At the next session, the expectation is the public will be allowed to voice their opinion about the project once the primary hurdle of the elevator is removed.


Randy Kraft writes book reviews for and is the author of “Colors of the Wheel.” She formerly covered City Hall for the Indy.


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