The Laguna hotel could soon reopen its restaurant and lobby
Residents and visitors to Laguna Beach may soon be able to return to one of the city’s iconic coastal sites, as city officials reaffirmed their intention to quickly reopen the hotel’s lobby and restaurant. Laguna.
Marc Wiener, the city’s director of community development, said in a report to Laguna Beach city council that he hoped the restaurant could reopen to the public by the end of August.
“The Laguna Hotel is a gem of Laguna Beach, and we are extremely happy to reopen its doors to the community as a new, updated and refreshed gathering place,” said Hasty Honarkar, Vice President of Laguna Beach Co ., in a press release on Saturday. “We have revitalized the entire ground floor of the hotel, with the aim of restoring the class and style of the original 1930s building while giving it a modern touch.
“We have transformed the hotel lobby into an elegant and welcoming ‘lounge’ for neighbors and community members, and, overlooking the Pacific, will be a magnificent new restaurant run by celebrity local chef Craig Strong, who, we are convinced instant favorite.
Honarkar added that the community will be able to see the work of local artists, as well as photographs and memorabilia that will pay homage to the history of the Laguna Hotel and the Laguna Beach community.
The Laguna Beach Co. acquired the Laguna Hotel in 2019, but it hasn’t been a barrier-free road to getting to the point of welcoming the public again. Along the way, there were a total of four stop-work orders, three of which were for a relatively short period in the summer of 2020.
After inspecting the site, city officials decided to change a May 5 stop-work order in an effort to allow the restaurant to serve the public after finding that the work that had been done inside was nearing completion. .
Wiener said stop-work orders are issued by city staff, not council, and he added that building permits are not required to go to the planning commission unless that there is a change in use.
He also said the city consulted with the California Coastal Commission, which found that the remaining work – including door hardware, handrails and exit signage – did not constitute development.
A structural engineer was also brought in and reported that the building is structurally sound, Wiener said.
A temporary occupancy certificate must be issued by the city. Honarkar added that a permit will also need to be issued by the Orange County health care agency.
Honarkar said there was not yet an exact date for the Laguna Hotel to reopen, but expressed her excitement that that date was approaching. In addition to the work on the ground floor, she also drew up the remaining plans for the property.
“We are also currently working with the city and the coastal commission on the repair and maintenance of the outdoor patio, access, landscaping and the hotel’s beach club,” Honarkar said.
“We look forward to reopening the Laguna Hotel, including its rooms and the beach club, and hope to create a thriving community asset that creates jobs and sustains the city’s economy while serving residents and visitors.”
The project had recently come under scrutiny after it was revealed that plans to allow work to continue at the Laguna Hotel were discussed behind closed doors on June 29, before the partial lifting of the order to stop work on July 15.
This sparked debate over whether the closed session was a violation of Brown’s Law.
Councilor George Weiss was censored by council for leaking confidential information from that meeting.
Phil Kohn, the town’s lawyer, remained steadfast in his view that it was appropriate to discuss the matter behind closed doors.
“Stop-work orders are treated as administrative matters,” Kohn said.
“The city council did not vote to order staff to lift the stop work order for the Laguna hotel. Instead, the city council acted in accordance with the declared intention of city staff to change the stop work order… planning permission or the pending appeal before the Coastal Commission.
Laguna Beach city manager Shohreh Dupuis said on Tuesday the city faces an ongoing dispute, potentially from the Honarkar family over building permits or other parties.
“I discussed this with the city attorney, and we also discussed that the Coast Commission or a member of a community could also sue the city for allowing the work to continue,” Dupuis said in response. to an investigation into a possible litigation of City Councilor Peter Blake.
After much deliberation, the city council, by a 3-2 vote, again approved the city staff’s plan for the reopening of the restaurant and lobby of the Laguna Hotel. Council members Toni Iseman and Weiss disagreed.
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