CARLSBAD — To the apprehension of the California Coastal Commission, two local entrepreneurs are applying to open an umbrella and chair rental and butler service on one of Carlsbad’s beaches. Restaurateurs Leone D’Arcangelo, owner of Fresco Trattoria in the Village, and Frank Morelli are trying to establish a rental service on a stretch of beach near Carlsbad Village Drive. Their application proposes setting up umbrellas, chairs and coolers over a 1,400 square-foot area of public beach and then renting out use of that furniture for a $20 to $30 fee.
Their business would also offer a butler service for beachgoers to order food from nearby Village restaurants and have their orders delivered.
“I’m in the restaurant business, and I want to do the best for my customers. I want to do the same on the beach,” said D’Arcangelo.
Yet the Coastal Commission is concerned about the business’s potential impact on public access to the free, public beach in Carlsbad, according to Kanani Brown, a coastal program analyst for the Coastal Commission’s San Diego office.
While the business would not place barriers to section off a portion of the beach, its set up would discourage the general public from using the area without paying for the offered services, she explained.
“Actually setting up umbrellas and chairs in an area would discourage people from using the area for free,” said Brown.
Jeff Lassle, D’Arcangelo and Morelli’s consultant for the project, argues that the business would in no way inhibit beachgoers from using the area without using the service.
“There is no restriction to people accessing the beach at all…we are just renting the equipment,” he said.
D’Arcangelo said his project would improve the beach and mimic successful services seen everywhere in Europe. His business would create summer jobs and attract greater tourism to the area.
He also said that his staff would clean the beach every morning.
“I think it’s a really good service,” said Sam Ross, executive director of Visit Carlsbad, which offers tourist information about the city. He said that tourists would likely use the service, but acknowledged that the business would not be enough to attract more tourists.
In any case, the application has remained incomplete since the applicants first submitted it to the San Diego Coastal Commission office over eight months ago, said Brown.
The Coastal Commission will not review the proposal until all materials have been submitted.