At recent City Council meetings on the gating of El Niguel Heights and the active use of Parc Vista Park, the council chamber overflowed with interested residents.
Dozens of people had to stand along the chamber's walls for up to three hours or listen to the meeting on loudspeakers outside.
But come spring, such overcrowding is expected to happen much less often.
The city will be expanding into nearly 7,000 additional square feet of office space, which will include a council chamber with triple the public seating capacity of the current chamber.
Now, only 35 people can sit to watch the meeting, but the new chamber has space for 102 spectators.
Parking also will be available in front of City Hall for the council meetings. Now, parking is in an alley behind City Hall because the chamber entrance is at the rear of the building.
City Manager Tim Casey said the two new six-year leases with Birtcher Niguel and Travis/Acklam reduce and freeze the rent for City Hall space, saving $300,000 between now and the year 2000.
The city leases 17,675 square feet of office space at 27781, 27791, 27801 and 27821 La Paz Road from the two companies.
The city will move into neighboring space occupied by the Laguna Niguel Performing Arts Center and the Birtcher Construction Accounting Department, which will bring the total City Hall square footage to 24,606.