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Visitors Bureau seeks location for information center

Council approves temporary spot at Forest Lane and South Coast Highway, as long as Planning Commission approves necessary permits.

August 09, 2012|By Barbara Diamond

The Laguna Beach Visitors and Conference Bureau's information center will temporarily be tucked back into Forest Lane, as long as it conforms to city regulations.

The City Council on Tuesday approved the temporary relocation of the center while visitors bureau officials try to find a permanent spot. The center previously was located on the ground floor of Coast Sotheby's International office at 361 Forest Ave., which it vacated last month. Council approval is subject to Planning Commission approval of a coastal development permit, a temporary use permit for up to three years, and the design of the project.

"I really hope you find a permanent location in a building, but even a temporary building that is going to be there for a couple of years will be better received by the community if it looks like the community," said Mayor Pro Tem Verna Rollinger.

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A rendering of the proposed 8-by-6-foot kiosk included an orange roof, which was selected to draw the public's attention, without impeding views of the mural or the decorative pavers at the entrance to Forest Lane at South Coast Highway.

Councilwoman Toni Iseman said she would prefer a mustard color.

"The color was pulled from the mural," said visitors bureau Chief Executive Officer Judy Bijlani. "But we can certainly look at mustard or ketchup or whatever you would like."

As proposed, the kiosk would be big enough for one bureau employee and the storage of printed material about lodgings, restaurants, events and businesses in town.

The location near Main Beach will make the information center accessible to thousands of day trippers who might be converted to overnight visitors, Bijlani said in a letter accompanying the request to the council.

Requested hours of operation are 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily, weather permitting.

Bureau officials intend the structure to be portable, according to Assistant City Manager Christa Johnson.

It will be on wheels and could be moved by just two people if utility companies need access to facilities under the pavement or if a flood is predicted, Johnson said.

City staff recommended council approval. As controlling interest in the use of the lane, the city will countersign the application for the TUP application.

Property owners on either side of the lane will be notified of the public hearing, at which they can comment on the project.

coastlinepilot@latimes.com

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