The lease agreement was worked out last year and states the city will pay a monthly rent of whatever the "fair market value" for property in the canyon is.
When the lease was written in 2006, the fair market value had yet to be determined.
The lease also stipulates that the city will have to pay a security deposit of one and one-half times the rent.
The lease will run out June 30.
The city began using the half-acre space, located in a Caltrans right-of-way on Laguna Canyon Road, for the Day Labor Center in the early 1990s.
Unauthorized use revealed
Last June, Caltrans ordered the site closed after anti-illegal immigration activist Eileen Garcia, a Laguna Beach resident, researched the issue and discovered that the land belonged to the state.
Garcia's queries to Caltrans resulted in the agency's determination that the city had no authorization to use the site, which is developed with a small office and portable toilets.
City officials had opened the site in order to move labor-seekers from congregation areas in North Laguna and elsewhere. A city ordinance prohibits solicitation for work anywhere in the city except the designated Day Labor Center.
City officials are concerned that, if the labor center were to close, the ordinance would be unenforceable because of U.S. Constitutional guarantees of freedom of speech.
After the issue came to light, Caltrans ordered the labor center immediately closed, but city officials acted quickly to arrange a lease.
The subsequent year-long lease allowed the center to remain open until June this year, with the rent to be determined.
'A great deal'
Real Estate agent Rick McIntire of the Laguna Board of Realtors said $420 a month isn't much to pay for property in the canyon.
"It seems like a great deal," McIntire said.
Assistant City Manager John Pietig said after the lease is up in June, the city will most likely pay a month to month lease.
He also said it's possible the city will try to buy the land if Caltrans puts it up for auction.