Christmas tree lot opens in canyon

It may be Black Friday, but Laguna will be greener with the Friday opening of a Christmas tree lot at 725 Laguna Canyon Road.

The lot is set to be open through Dec. 26, operating from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Monday through Thursday, 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday and Saturday and from 9 a.m. to 7 p.m. Sunday, as approved in a temporary use permit by the Planning Commission on Oct. 24.

The temporary use permit accommodates reasonable requests for interim or temporary uses for desirable activities in the community, Associate Planner Wendy Lung stated in the staff report.

Located in the Civic Art District within the Downtown Specific Plan area, the vacant lot has been used for the past 12 years for temporary parking during Festival Season.

The commission approved the request by Ryan Strassburg to operate the 20,000-square-foot Christmas tree lot, which will have a temporary trailer, storage container, display area and 32 parking spaces.

"He has Christmas tree lots all over," said Rick Hubbell, spokesman for property owner Ventana Laguna LLC.

The lot will be lighted at night, but fully shielded and turned off by 9 p.m. or earlier.

Lighting, power equipment and tools were subject to review and approval by the building division and the fire department.

Conditions of approval included daily trash collection, brush clearance and aggregate piled on the driving and parking surfaces, as has been required with prior approvals.

Laguna Beach Fire Department Division Dan Stefano also required a fire safety plan for use of any power equipment and tool such as chain saws, accessible and operational fire extinguishers on-site and an emergency plan for the site.

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