LAGUNA BEACH, CA – The City of Laguna Beach has completed a series of inspections and confirmed that the interior work to date on portions of Hotel Laguna undertaken by developer Mo Honarkar meets the required construction standards. As a result, effective Thursday, July 15, the City is planning to partially lift the stop-work order on the hotel to allow the remodel of the first-floor restaurant, lobby, bar, and kitchen areas to be completed. No work will be permitted in other areas of the hotel until the developer submits a comprehensive plan for the overall restoration of Hotel Laguna and receives permits.
The remodel of the first-floor restaurant, lobby, bar, and kitchen areas of Hotel Laguna does not require a Coastal Development Permit (CDP) because the work consists of interior renovations to existing spaces and does not include changes in use. A building permit for these interior improvements was issued in December 2019 and the work is near completion. By removing the stop-work order on this portion of the hotel, the developer will be allowed to finish the permitted work which includes the fire-related improvements and other minor work needed to pass fire inspection, building inspection and to obtain a health department permit to reopen first-floor restaurant, lobby, bar and kitchen areas and small portions of the lower level related to the kitchen use. None of the areas where work will resume are part of the CDP currently under appeal to the California Coastal Commission (see attached Exhibit A) and are under the jurisdiction of the City of Laguna Beach. The City has notified the Coastal Commission staff that the remaining minor work resuming in the restaurant, lobby, bar, and kitchen areas delineated by the City (see attached Exhibit A) does not constitute “development” and is not subject to a CDP.
The developer is currently working to submit a comprehensive plan for the overall restoration of Hotel Laguna. A comprehensive plan must include a schedule and description of the future work that is proposed, including all interior and exterior renovations, a summary of the intended use of the lower-level spaces, including the conference room, as well as the commercial spaces fronting Coast Highway. Staff will then evaluate the proposed uses and determine if use permits and/or Coastal Development Permits are necessary for the comprehensive plan to proceed, and the comprehensive plan will be brought before the Planning Commission for review and approval prior to any further construction taking place in these areas.
Staff will continue making regular daily visits to the project site to ensure that no unpermitted work is occurring. As an extra measure of oversight, prior to the issuance of a Temporary Occupancy Permit for the first-floor restaurant, lobby, bar, and kitchen areas, a comprehensive report will be required from a structural engineer concluding that the Hotel Laguna remains in structurally sound condition and is safe to occupy.
“Hotel Laguna is a historic landmark and an important asset to this community, and we are supportive of the end-goal of restoring Hotel Laguna,” said Laguna Beach City Manager Shohreh Dupuis. “At the same time, we will continue to make it clear that all the procedures and requirements applicable to the project are to be followed.”