Downtown Specific Plan Update

About the Project

On July 15, 2014, the City Council accepted the Downtown Specific Plan Update/Urban Planner Subcommittee recommendation to select MIG (agenda item 24). The City hired MIG, an urban planning firm, to assist with the preparation of a comprehensive update to the Downtown Specific Plan and review of Laguna Canyon Road land use issues. (Laguna Canyon Planning Study)

On February 24, 2015, the City Council directed staff to work with MIG on pilot demonstration projects, and to seek input from the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce, Visit Laguna, Transition Laguna and the Laguna Beach Beautification Council and other interested members of the public, and return to the City Council with options. On May 5, 2015, the City Council directed staff and MIG to return with an implementation plan and request for funding, to assisst with the implementation and construction of specific temporary pilot demonstration projects. On June 16, 2015, the City Council directed staff and MIG to further study the Forest Avenue closure option: move forward with the parklets on Forest Avenue and Ocean Avenue; look into temporarily relocating the Saturday Farmers' Market to one or a combination of Second Avenue and the Peppertree Lot and/or upper Glenneyre Lot beginning in September 2015 through May 2016; and appropriated funds for the implementation.


The downtown is the focus of the City's social, cultural, civic, artistic and recreational activities. The primary objective of the Downtown Specific Plan is to preserve and enhance the unique character of the downtown.

The Downtown Specific Plan was adopted by the City Council in 1989, after several years of work by a Citizen's Advisory Committee to identify significant planning issues and develop a policy base for the plan. Since 1989, the Downtown Specific Plan has been amended nine times, including one comprehensive amendment in 2000, which included the expansion of the Plan boundary to the Boys & Girls Club on Laguna Canyon Road, and the creation of the Civic Art District.

Some of the Plan areas to be evaluated for potential modification include, but are not limited to, expansion of the Civic Art District to the Act V and the Laguna College of Art and Design sites, the types and locations of the various downtown districts and their intent and purpose, allowed uses in each district, the general provisions/development standards, issue statements and policies, design guidelines and implementation measures.

Get Involved

MIG and the City staff are actively seeking input regarding the update of the Downtown Specific Plan from community members, property owners and business owners in the downtown. Check the schedule below for upcoming workshops and opportunities to participate and provide valuable input.


Planning Commission Meeting
Wednesday, May 3, 2017
(Review Draft Amendments - Section III, Topics 6-8)
MIG Proposed Amendments and Strikethrough/Underline Version - Section III, Topics 6-8
*Public correspondence received by the end of day on Monday, April 24, 2017, will be incorporated into the staff report for review by the Planning Commission.  Comments may be sent to Wendy Jung, Senior Planner at wjung@lagunabeachcity.net.

Planning Commission Meeting
Wednesday, April 19, 2017
(Review Draft Amendments - Section III, Topics 1-2)
Staff Report
Public Correspondence

Planning Commission Meeting 
Wednesday, March 22, 2017
(Presentation of IBI Group's Draft DSP Area Parking Actual Demand Study)
Staff Report and IBI Group Draft Study
Public Correspondence
Presentation by City Staff
Presentation by IBI Group

Planning Commission Meeting
Wednesday, January 18, 2017
(Review Draft Amendments - Section II)
Staff Report
Public Correspondence

Planning Commission Meeting
Wednesday, December 14, 2016
(Review Draft Amendments - Section I)
Staff Report
Public Correspondence

Planning Commission Meeting
Wednesday, October 19, 2016
(Discuss Overview of the Framework of MIG's Proposed Changes)
Staff Report
Public Correspondence

Planning Commission Meeting
Wednesday, September 21, 2016
(Discuss Proposed Work Program)
Staff Report

Planning Commission Meeting
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
(Urban Design)
Staff Report
Public Correspondence

City Council and Planning Commission Joint Study Session #3
Wednesday, January 27, 2016
Public Correspondence

City Council and Planning Commission Joint Study Session #2
Thursday, December 3, 2015
Public Correspondence

City Council and Planning Commission Joint Study Session #1
Tuesday, August 11, 2015
Public Correspondence

MIG Deliverables

Proposed Amendments
Section I (Introduction)
Section II (Profile of Downtown Characteristics)
Section III (Issue Statements and Policies) Topics 1-2
Section III (Issue Statements and Policies) Topics 6-8

Background and Research Memos
Task 1.1 Deliverable (Kick-Off Meeting Summary)
Task 1.2 Deliverable (Review of Downtown Specific Plan and Related Documents)

Task 1.3 Deliverable (Summary of Art Festival Needs and Key Issues for Coordination)
Task 1.4 Deliverable (Downtown Specific Plan Boundary Analysis and Recommendations)
Task 1.5, Task 2.2 and Task 2.10 Deliverables (Retail Use Memos)
Task 2.1 Deliverable (DSP Community Workshop Summary - July 20, 2015)
Task 2.3 Deliverable (Potential Sub-Areas and General Recommendations for Branding and Overall Wayfinding)
Task 2.4 and Task 2.8 Deliverables (Parking-Related Memos)
Task 2.5 Deliverable (Land Use Recommendations)
Task 2.6 Deliverable (Infill Housing Recommendations)
Task 2.7 and Task 2.11 Deliverables (Pedestrian, Bicycle and Vehicle Circulation Recommendations Related to Downtown Parking Management Plan and Village Entrance; and Recommendations for Future Disposition of the Village Entrance)
Task 2.12 Deliverable (Design Recommendations/Graphics for Streetscape Improvements to Laguna Canyon Road Corridor)
Task 2.13 Deliverable (Urban Design-Related Memo)

Pilot Demonstration Projects

City Council Meeting (#3) 6/16/15
Downtown Business Owners Meeting (#2) 6/2/15
City Council Meeting (#2) 5/5/15
Downtown Business Owners Meeting (#1) 4/22/15
Stakeholders Meeting (#2) 4/1/15
Stakeholders Meeting (#1) 3/18/15
City Council Meeting (#1) 2/24/15

Community Outreach

Community Workshop
Monday, July 20, 2015 
Community Workshop Summary
Presentation by MIG    
Press Release 

Pop-up Downtown Workshop
Saturday, November 15, 2014
Community Input Summary for Pop-up Downtown and Plan Trolley Events 

Plan Trolley
Winter Fantasy at Sawdust Art Festival - Saturday, December 20, 2014
Hospitality Night - Friday, December 5, 2014
Laguna Beach High School Football Game - Friday, November 7, 2014
First Thursday's Art Walk - Thursday, November 6, 2014

Reference Documents

Downtown Specific Plan Update Reference Documents

For more information about the project or to sign-up to receive updates, please contact:

Wendy Jung, Senior Planner
(949) 497-0321