The Laguna Beach Planning Commission will consider tonight (Sept. 26) the revised application submitted by Jack’s Surf and Sport to take over the vacant building at 216-222 Ocean Ave.
A previous application that included converting resident-serving businesses to the proposed sale of sport and surfing equipment and apparel was denied by the commission in June. The denial was appealed to the City Council, but withdrawn before the hearing.
The revised application does not include the conversion of the two small businesses, including a dry cleaner, adjacent to the large building formerly occupied by Big Dog on Ocean Avenue, a street designated for resident-serving uses.
However, staff again recommended denial of the project based on the proposed conversion of an upstairs residential unit to retail, which does not comply with the Downtown Specific Plan and nor could staff make the legal justifications for a variance from parking standards required by the intensification of use from residential to retail.
Staff also concluded that Jack’s Surf & Sport is a formula-based business — there are four other Jack’s in South County that share a mass marketing approach, offering standardized merchandise, services and décor, which the specific plan discourages.
Applications also can be denied if the commission or the council determines the downtown would be saturated by the addition of another store to similar ones already in business.
Existing surf and/or sport shops downtown include Hobie Sports and Quicksilver Boardriders Club on Forest Avenue and Toes on the Nose on South Coast Highway.
Staff also pointed out that a number of established stores near the proposed project sell other items offered by Jack’s, including sunglasses, women’s and children’s clothing and bathing suites, jewelry and shoes, which staff determined would create a cumulative effect that might adversely affect the desired diversity downtown meant to keep the area vibrant.
If denied again by the commission, Jack’s would have 20 days to appeal the decision to the council.
The Commission meets at 7 p.m. in the City Council Chamber, 505 Forest Ave. Jack’s is scheduled seventh on the agenda. For more information, call Planning Administrator Ann Larson at (949) 497-0320.