Laguna Planning Commission will discuss Coast Inn project on Wednesday

After multiple continuances, the Laguna Beach Planning Commission will discuss a proposed remodel of the Coast Inn hotel at its meeting on Wednesday.

The proposed project covers two parcels — 1401 S. Coast Hwy. and 1391 S. Coast Hwy. The latter parcel is the site of the shuttered Coast Liquor, which would reopen as a combination deli and liquor store.


Owner Chris Dornin, a Laguna Beach resident, is seeking coastal development and conditional use permits, and a variance, which is essentially an exception, for a building height that extends higher than allowed under city code.

During a Sept. 20 public meeting, Commissioner Roger McErlane asked Planning Manager Scott Drapkin to explain the reason for the delay.


"The holdup was caused in part by a traffic study," Drapkin said. "Staff met with a traffic engineer to try to get a little more explanation."

The proposed 24-room hotel would include three restaurants, one of which would be located atop a rooftop deck, and pool, Dornin confirmed in a text message on Friday.

Dornin, who purchased the property in December 2013 , said that the current hotel has been open two years, averaging 95% occupancy.

He, along with architect Marshall Ininns, worked with historical consultant Jan Ostashay on the remodel to honor the property's rich history.

John H. Smith built the hotel, which opened in 1927, and attracted tourists as Laguna Beach gained a reputation as a resort destination, according to the Coast Inn website.

During World War II and the postwar years, the Coast Inn changed from a primarily vacation destination to a temporary home for servicemen reporting for duty in Southern California, the website said.

In 1956, a fire destroyed much of the front portion of the building. In the ensuing decades, the hotel's original cocktail lounge and dining room morphed into a nightclub that became a favorite hangout for gays and was dubbed the Boom Boom Room, according to the hotel's website.

The Boom Boom Room closed in 2007.

Previous plans had the pool placed behind the liquor store, but staff and commissioners had concerns for guests' safety because they would have to cross Mountain Road to get to the pool, according to a city staff report.

At their March 15 meeting, commissioners requested a parking study and the rooftop deck be reduced in size, the report said.

To read the staff report, visit Click on the "Government" tab. A drop-down menu will appear. Click on "City Meeting Minutes and Agendas." Under "Upcoming Events" click on the Oct. 4 Planning Commission agenda.

Wednesday's meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall at 505 Forest. Ave.

Twitter: @AldertonBryce