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Volume 15, Issue 25  | March 28, 2023Subscribe

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Commission OKs Mozambique plans for rooftop ADA bathroom, relocation of bar for ocean views


The Planning Commission this week approved remodel plans for Mozambique, including adding an ADA accessible bathroom on the rooftop level and relocating the bar so guests have ocean views. 

Commissioners voted 4-0 (Commissioner Steve Kellenberg was absent) in favor of a conditional use permit and design review for interior and exterior modifications to the restaurant located at 1710 and 1740 South Coast Highway and 245 Agate Street.

Modifications include a new window system at the existing second floor patio area and installation of sound attenuation measures, an interior remodel to relocate bar and change floor plan and seating layout, emergency exiting deck pathway and door improvements, addition of an accessible restroom on the roof deck (65 square feet), roof material change, solatubes, rooftop mechanical equipment and associated screening, and to change the previously approved location for off-site parking. The action also included cleaning up some of the outdated language in the previously approved CUP conditions. 

The additions are minor and the most notable changes are inside and help with the overall flow, said Commissioner Susan McLintock Whitin.

“It’s about time to renovate the interior here. You need to do this kind of work every 10 years or so just to keep your building functioning,” Whitin said. “It does need an upgrade and I think it’s going to be, really, a nice entertainment space and it will complement what’s already been done up on the roof deck.”

The ADA bathroom on the third floor is a “great addition” not just for people in wheelchairs but just for everyone else who’s out enjoying the roof deck, she added. 

And the pathway and door improvements make a lot of sense, Whitin said, not just for emergency exiting for but just for general circulation on the third floor.

It’s definitely an improvement, agreed Commission Chair Jorg Dubin. 

“The flow is going to be better. The bar area will be better for not only patrons, but the musicians. And the addition of the rooftop bathroom is a good idea for the obvious reasons, including people who have difficulty with stairs,” he said. 

Commission OKs Mozambique plans for rooftop recent exterior

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The Planning Commission this week approved exterior and interior modifications for Mozambique

The three properties are under common ownership and have a combined area of approximately 22,500 square feet, The site was originally established in 1961 as a restaurant. On Jan. 12, 2005, the Planning Commission approved a CUP which permitted the establishment of a new restaurant (Mozambique) with alcoholic beverage service, live entertainment and valet parking. 

A key part of the plans is the addition of an accessible restroom at the rooftop deck.

The new 65 square-foot accessible restroom is not considered an intensification of use requiring additional parking because the applicant is also proposing to remove an equivalent amount of existing restaurant gross floor area at the first floor to offset the proposed restroom, explained Principal Planner Wendy Jung.

The roof deck bathroom was brought forward because guests who use the elevator to get to the top level, including people in wheelchairs or who have a difficult time with their mobility, currently have to go all the way back down to use the bathroom, added architect for the project Marshall Ininns.

They also plan to remove the upstairs office and move it downstairs, which will create a hall for easy access to the downstairs bathrooms so people don’t have to go through the crowded bar area, Ininns said.

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The most notable part of the interior remodel portion of the project is the relocation of the second-floor bar and changes to the floor plan and seating layout. Currently, the bar is located east of the patio area. 

The bar will be moved further west toward the side facing South Coast Highway, which will provide guests seated at the bar with views of the ocean as well as the new stage location. The stage area is proposed to be shifted to the rear wall of the existing restrooms, Jung explained. 

That bar has been in that spot for nearly two decades, Ininns said, it’s worn down.

“It’s rotted, the equipment’s rotted, the floor has rotted,” and it’s time to improve it, he said. They’ll be upgrading it and “moving the bar towards the ocean gives the opportunity for the people sitting there to not only get a drink, but get a view of the ocean.” 

The seating layout will be modified to accommodate the new floor plan, but the total number of restaurant seats shall not exceed 197 at any time, Jung emphasized. No changes are proposed to the occupancy or number of seats, she said.

Sound attenuation measures throughout the second level include new interior walls with isolator connectors located between the exterior and interior walls, isolation of the roof and new interior ceiling with isolated connectors and a new stair enclosure at the front of the building facing South Coast Highway, Jung said.

Other than relocating the bar. the biggest part of the project, expense-wise, is sound attenuation efforts they’re doing to control the music and noise that’s escaping from Mozambique 

“It’s long been something that we’ve wanted to do,” Ininns said. “I think it’s a positive move”

They hired an acoustic engineer who focuses on hardening homes near airports, Ininns reported.

“They harden some of those houses to prevent the noise from getting in, well we’re hardening it to (prevent it from getting) out,” he said. 

The new window system is proposed for the existing second floor patio area that will consist of double window units at each opening with layers of laminated glass. 

Jung noted that the entry door will also be replaced with double doors, and an emergency exiting deck pathway and door improvements are proposed to provide life and safety exiting for patrons from the roof deck to the parking area.

Additional exterior modifications include a roof material change to a portion of the second-floor patio from the existing canvas material to standing seam metal, four solatubes, new rooftop mechanical equipment and associated screening. The applicant proposes wood louver screening to be maintained at the same height as the existing glass screens located on the roof deck.

The project also includes changing the previously approved location for a minimum of 10 off-site parking spaces from 1890 South Coast Highway to 1705 South Coast Highway.

Noting that Mozambique offers employee parking spaces at a nearby lot and a free back-and-forth shuttle for any guests within eight miles, Whitin said this is how applicants should approach creative parking solutions. 

“This is a model for how to address employee parking in the city. It’s not a requirement under the CUP and it’s not in the resolution, but this is an example of an owner and operator who has stepped up and addressed the issue in a very progressive way,” Whitin said. 

Overall, the project doesn’t seem to negatively impact the adjacent residents or businesses, said Commission Chair Pro Tem Ken Sadler, pointing to several letters of support from neighbors. The only potential concerns they heard were only if there was some kind of expansion or intensification of use, which isn’t happening with this project, he said. 

“Mozambique has worked very hard to be neighborhood friendly and we’re continuing with this as we have in the past,” Ininns said.


Sara Hall covers City Hall and is a regular contributor to Stu News Laguna.

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