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Lifeguard HQ plan shrinks

A proposal for a new Main Beach lifeguard headquarters has been reduced in size.

Plans for the project, which call for relocating the headquarters closer to the ocean to give lifeguards a better view of the beach and ocean, will be unveiled to the public at a meeting set for 4 p.m Wednesday in front of the existing facility at the north end of Main Beach.

“The project has been redesigned and re-staked,” said Assistant City Manager John Pietig, who is teaming with Marine Safety Chief Mark Klosterman and Special Projects Director Wade Brown on the new facility. “Major changes include swapping the location of the restrooms and the headquarters at North Main Beach so the lifeguards will be able to see both north and south.

“This is especially important in the offseason, when the lifeguard towers are not staffed.”

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The existing headquarters site allows only a southern view.

Revisions to an earlier plan include reducing the square footage by 21%, pushing the building closer to North Coast Highway and three feet north, and lowering the height by 10 inches, although the building will still be higher that the existing headquarters.

“The exterior was redesigned from a modern style to include more wood features to better blend with the hillsides and the boardwalk,” Pietig said.

A view deck was eliminated because of neighbor opposition.

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Laguna Beach architect Gary Whitfield designed the project.

“We are replacing a 30-year-old facility with a structure that should last 50 years,” Pietig said.

The driveway from the headquarters also will be relocated 75 feet north for safer ingress and egress of marine safety department vehicles on and off of the highway.

Plans for the restrooms also were revised to include six toilets for women and five for men.

The public will have an opportunity to review and comment on the proposed plans at a Planning Commission hearing tentatively scheduled for Nov. 14. Comments may be made at the hearing or in writing.

Court challenges, if any, may be limited to issues raised at the commission hearing or in correspondence delivered to the commission at or before the hearing.

An initial study with the determination of a mitigated negative declaration — which basically says adverse impacts will be reduced to a level of insignificance — was prepared for the project, in accordance with provisions of the California Environmental Act.

Public review and comment period will begin Monday and end Nov. 14.

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The project is located within the Laguna Beach Coastal Zone and a coastal development permit filed on Sept. 19 is appealable to the California Coastal Commission.

For more information, call city Principal Planner Carolyn Martin at (949) 497-0398.



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