By Andrea Papagianis
Despite appeals, both formal and verbal, of several residents who expressed concerns about noise, the City Council voted unanimously Tuesday, May 20 to uphold a Planning Commission decision allowing the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel to expand its event facilities.
The expansion was first approved by the commission April 14 but came before the five-member body after nearby resident of the Niguel Shores community, Judith Hummer, filed an appeal April 29.
Plans include relocating the resort’s conference facilities, which were previously approved as a main building attachment in 2009, at a newly constructed 36,000-square-foot building replacing existing tennis courts. While the building will be bigger, it will not require a variance to the city’s height limit.
“I am here because of hotel noise,” Hummer told the council. “I am here because of the noise level increased improperly and we have a serious problem.” She said the hotel’s first years of operation were quiet, but things changed within the last 10 years and asked that hotel operations “keep the peace.”
Hotel representative Ted Harris, of California Strategies, said the luxury resort agreed to all conditions set forth by the Planning Commission, adding the new pavilion will create a sound barrier.
Conditions of approval include noise mitigation measures like limits on outdoor entertainment and sound thresholds. The council added others such as noise monitoring and limited delivery hours.
The permit must still be approved by the California Coastal Commission.