The city of Laguna Niguel offers more than 25 parks and a rather however, it appears the old courthouse may be the preferred choice of some young people.
This YouTube video shows several skateboarders using the former courthouse at 30143 Crown Valley Pkwy., as a playground and skateboard center. They use the rooftop, and other areas of the vacant building for stunts.
In May 2011, City Manager Tim Casey said, the original blueprint called for a courthouse, firehouse and expanded library next to the new City Hall. But now that the county has backed out because of budget woes, new ideas are in the mix.
Possibilities under discussion for the 18-acre plot include a Coach House-style concert venue, retail shops, restaurants, a sports club, medical offices and educational facilities, he said.
To help with the decision-making process, the city and county held a joint meeting to hear the recommendations of a technical-assistance panel held by the Urban Land Institute, Orange County, in 2011.
The county owns the 18 acres of land in question—but the city controls the zoning. This means any development needs approval from both.
Some Obstacles to Development
According to the Urban Land Institute report presentated to the city in May 2011, obstacles to consider in a development and zoning plan include:
- Thirty feet of grassy knoll on the property must be dug up and re-compacted if used for parking.
- Overall parking space, which might be limited.
- The property's distance from major freeways.
- A vocal senior community that might object to changes in lighting or noise.
Ideas pitched for the plot included:
- Children's educational attractions.
- Theme-oriented retail—for instance, retail shops and eateries geared toward bicyclists who could use adjacent trails.
- Interactive art for children.
- A music venue similar to the Coach House in San Juan Capistrano.
- Continuing adult education.
- An outpatient health care facility, perhaps tied to a larger hospital such as Hoag Memorial or USC.
- A sports club.
Sustainability and Eco-Friendliness
- Shared parking.
- Walking and biking trails.
- Shops and eateries geared toward health.
- Civic space that would enable multiple uses such as concerts in the park, farmers markets and festivals.
There is no timeframe on the process or plan for the area, Casey said in May 2011.
"The time frame is impossible to predict. We are at the start of this process—nowhere near the end. But this could be fun," Casey said.
Calls to the county were not returned.