City of Laguna Niguel ~ Gateway Specific Plan
On November 15, 2011, the Laguna Niguel City Council adopted a comprehensive update to the Laguna Niguel Gateway Specific Plan to provide for up to 2,994 residential units and 2.26 million square feet of retail, office, entertainment, hotel and other non-residential uses resulting in 28% fewer average daily trips than would have been generated under the previously approved 1999 Gateway Specific Plan. It allows existing businesses to remain, but will serve as a guide for the private market to attract and develop new land uses that will gradually transition the Gateway area into an attractive and desirable transit and pedestrian-oriented urban village where people live, work, shop, are entertained and recreate.
The Gateway Specific Plan includes the approximate 315-acre area along Crown Valley Parkway, Cabot and Forbes Roads, bounded by Interstate 5, San Joaquin Hills Transportation Corridor, and the City limits to the north and south.
Making room for apartments adjacent to Crown Cape Center:
The Gateway Village Apartment Complex was approved for development on by the City of Laguna Niguel, Planning Commission July 2013. The following OC Register Newspaper article was published August 1, 2013.
Laguna Niguel's Gateway at a Crossroads
By Luke Ramseth / Orange County Register
Published: Aug. 1, 2013 Updated: Aug. 21, 2013 12:28 p.m.
An apartment project approved last week for the heart of Laguna Niguel's Gateway District has drawn concern from area business owners and officials who see a possible shift in the original vision for the area.
The 351-unit apartment complex known as Gateway Village calls for four to six stories, open courtyards and a five-level parking structure off Forbes Road near Crown Valley Parkway. Apartments will have one to three bedrooms. Onsite amenities will include a pool, spa and fitness rooms. The project also includes three retail spaces facing Forbes.
But the project has brought confusion over what the district between I-5 and the 73 toll road will eventually look like. Some have said the original plan was to create a bustling downtown atmosphere with retail shops, while others say the biggest goal was simply to bring more family housing to the area.
Existing business owners in the largely industrial area, meanwhile, are mostly wondering what will happen if and when they are forced to leave.
The new apartment complex from Forbes Investment Partners could break ground early next year. It would join two other major apartment projects currently under construction further west off Cabot Road – the Crown Apartments and Career Lofts. They are the first major projects implemented under the Gateway Specific Plan, approved more than a decade ago.
City Planner Larry Longenecker said the City Council's original idea for Gateway was straightforward.
"The vision is to be very flexible and responsive to the market," he said.
Planning Commissioner William Kelley was the lone vote against the Gateway Village permit and tentative site map at the commission's meeting last week.
"Essentially, there is no retail (in this project), in terms of what constitutes the Gateway area," Kelley said. "Frankly, I'm a little hesitant to approve something that is so much different from what (the original Gateway Specific Plan) calls for."
"It's become clear that the retail component of this project was an afterthought," he added, after hearing that Forbes Investment Partners had originally proposed the project without any retail. City staff then encouraged the developer to add shops to the project.
As approved last week, Gateway Village will have three retail spaces facing Forbes Road that total about 6,000 square feet.
The Gateway Specific Plan, however, calls for 10 times the retail space inside an overall project of this size – a requirement that, city staff suggested in its report on the project, was unrealistic from the start, when the Gateway plan was hatched in 1999 and later updated in 2011. Longenecker said this week that perhaps the retail requirement should be re-examined.
The retail requirement "is more typical of regional-serving commercial uses, not the resident supporting uses proposed with the" Gateway Village project, the report said.
Other concessions made for the project included allowing a project density of 70 housing units per acre – though 50 is the maximum in the specific plan – and 110 parking spaces where 206 are required.
The following images are conceptual drawing of the adopted Gateway Village Apartments:
Gateway Project Overview
Gateway Village Entrance View
Gateway Village Cape Drive View
City of Laguna Niguel Gateway Documents & Links:
Gateway Specific Plan (very large file)
Gateway PEIR (very large file)