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Old California Beach Cottages Set to Become Vacation Rentals

Sunday Mar 12, 2017

More than a dozen old seaside cottages at scenic Crystal Cove State Park will be renovated and made available for coveted overnight rentals, offering visitors a taste of a long-gone era of Southern California beach life.

The state Coastal Commission on Wednesday unanimously approved a $30 million development permit to rebuild the wood cottages, the Orange County Register reported (http://bit.ly/2nivaCG ).

The plan is to spruce up the 17 remaining, crumbling structures on the north end of the Crystal Cove Historic District, adding to the 29 cottages that have been improved and open for public use in the past decade.

The cottages, which sit on the sand along a scenic stretch between Newport Beach and Laguna Beach, were built in the 1930s to 1950s. They were occupied by families until a state lease expired in 2001.

"This has been a long, hard journey," Laura Davick, founder and vice president of nonprofit Crystal Cove Alliance, said at the commission meeting.

The alliance, a state partner that heads the restoration project, was formed to maintain the history and create unique, low-cost public accommodations along the coast. The group previously helped fight plans for a luxury resort.

All 17 cottages will be built into 22 affordable overnight units and will add about 48,000 rental opportunities annually - about doubling the current available occupancy, according to the newspaper.

A new "open bed" dorm lodge, with 11 beds, will be added at $35 per bed a night. The most expensive cottage, sleeping up to 10 people, will be $245 a night.

"This is really an exciting project. I think it's going to be one of the crown jewels in the California State Parks system, if it isn't already the crown jewel," commissioner Gregory Cox said.

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