Royal Hawaiian, a Warning for North Laguna




The transformation of the renowned Royal Hawaiian into a noisy neighborhood problem shows the need to balance business and neighborhood interests by compliance with conditional use permit rules.

This often difficult process is likely to reappear as owners submit plans for parcels under development or still vacant along North Coast Highway.

Most property along Coast Highway north to McKnight Drive and back to the alleys is within the commercial neighborhood C-N zone. It permits, subject to a conditional use permit, “cafes, full service restaurants…with or without outdoor seating serving alcoholic beverages.” Also allowed, are “liquor sales”. Tempting to aggressive out of town developer of a luxury nightspot? A challenging CUP process, big parking issues and maybe upset local citizenry would surely await. But the money to be made, as shown by the Royal Hawaiian’s claimed “after hours” monthly lost profit of $25,000 alone is not inconsiderable.

Though not immediately threatening, neighbors near Coast Highway on either side should be aware of planned and potential commercial development and its scale and impact and be prepared to applaud or protest.

Ed Merrilees, Laguna Beach

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