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City Manager’s Updates

Arts Audience Spending by Zip Code - The Arts Commission partnered with Americans for the Arts and recently published the findings of Arts and Economic Prosperity Report 5. In addition to the report, the City participated in a survey of audience spending by zip code. The study indicates 65.3 percent of attendees at arts events were from Orange County and 34.7 percent from outside the County. The detailed report can be viewed at http://www.lagunabeachcity.net/civicax/inc/blobfetch.aspx?BlobID=18823 

Art Updates - Want to receive the latest City Arts updates, sign up HERE or our newsletter or https://app.robly.com/subscribe?a=a6aa5eb0fa48629efcf44a04013f8bb1

Poet Laureate Showcase at LCAD Gallery - Kate Buckley, City of Laguna Beach’s inaugural Poet Laureate, has launched a Poet Laureate’s Showcase series of readings, aimed at bringing nationally known poets to Laguna Beach. The next Showcase will be held on Thurs, Sept 14, at 7 p.m. at the Laguna College of Art + Design Gallery, 374 Ocean Avenue. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Agate Street and Thalia Street Beach Access Rehabilitation - Construction is set to begin on Sept 11 for the replacement of the beach stairs at both sites.  The permitted working hours are 8 a.m. to 6 p.m., Mon through Friday. There are no anticipated traffic impacts, other than occasional equipment and material deliveries. Both access points will remain closed while work is ongoing. Construction is expected to be completed in April 2018. 

Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP) - The City of Laguna Beach has begun preparation of a Local Hazard Mitigation Plan (LHMP), a five-year strategic plan to improve local resilience to hazard events. Development of the plan, the first such plan for Laguna Beach, is being funded through a grant from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The Laguna Beach LHMP will summarize the natural and human-caused hazards that pose a threat to the community, including drought, flooding, earthquakes, and wildfires. The City would like your input and encourage you to join us for a Community Kick-off meeting on Sept 14 at 6 p.m. and a Hazard Profiles Open House on Oct 18 at 6 p.m., location for both is the Susi Q Center, 380 Third Street.

Fall Quarter 2017 Registration Activities - Registration for fall 2017 recreation activities for all ages is still open.  To register and see the list of programs available please vist: https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/catalog/index.

Pancake Breakfast Success - This past Labor Day Monday the Laguna Beach Fire Department (LBFD) held the annual Labor Day Breakfast at Heisler Park. The event was a great success with over 650 breakfasts served.  Special thanks to the lifeguards that came and helped, as well as staff from Public Works that provided additional logistical support. Fire fighter/Paramedic Matt Rolfe did a great job coordinating the event for the LBFD.  As always we had great support from our community friends in organizing the event (Sande St. John especially) and for all our residents and friends that joined us for a seaside breakfast. Thanks to all!

New Paramedic - Laguna Beach Firefighter Brent Buccola has recently completed the arduous process of becoming certified as an Orange County Paramedic.  Congratulations to Firefighter Paramedic Brent!


Draft amendments for Downtown Specific Plan focus of Planning Commission Meeting on Sept 20

The City of Laguna Beach and consultant MIG will continue their efforts on the Downtown Specific Plan Update on Wed, Sept 20, during the Planning Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall (505 Forest Avenue).  

City staff will present draft amendments to the Downtown Specific Plan for discussion with the Planning Commission. The focus of the presentation and discussion will be on MIG’s recommended draft amendments to Section III: Issue Statements and Policies, Topic 4 (Re-Use and Intensification) of the existing Downtown Specific Plan document. 

Click on photo for larger image

Photo by Terry Russell (12)

Downtown Specific Plan Update at Planning Commission Meeting on Sept 20

A copy of the Section III, Topic 4 draft amendments, including a strikethrough- underline document for reference are available to review on the project webpage (link included below). The staff report may be viewed on the City’s website on Fri, Sept 15.

Additional meetings will occur in 2017 to review draft amendments to other sections of the plan. This meeting and future meetings play an essential role in obtaining input from the community and direction from the Planning Commission, and to identify the City’s priorities for the future of the downtown area.  

For more information and to send in comments on the Downtown Specific Plan Update contact: Wendy Jung, Senior Planner, at 949-497-0321; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or visit: http://www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/


Proposed Park Plaza approved

By BARBARA DIAMOND

City officials agreed on Tuesday to temporarily ban vehicles for six weeks from Lower Park Avenue, a link from South Coast Highway to Laguna Avenue and Glenneyre Street 

The short block will be converted to a pedestrian-only plaza from Oct 21 to Dec1 and maybe even longer, depending on the success of trial period proposed by Transition Laguna, the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce, and the Beautification Council. 

“This has been years in the making,” said spokesman Billy Fried. “The thrust of the idea is to make downtown a more convivial destination for locals, which can only help area merchants. So it’s a win-win.”

“Imagine a busy soccer mom shuttling her kids through town and having to make a stop at the post office or drug store. Maybe the kids want an ice cream and she’d like to take a load off for a moment. 

“They purchase food and settle into a seat at the Plaza. The kids can play and safely walk around. In the process, mom sees someone from the book club who tells her about new club and she make a connection to join it.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Rendering courtesy Billy Fried

Rendering of proposed Park Plaza

Fried said the plaza would transform downtown. Not everyone agreed that was a good idea.

“This is a solution looking for a problem,” said Susan Elliott. “I drive home that way. It’s better than turning at Cliff (Drive). And soccer moms won’t sit there – there will be too many tourists.”

Council meeting regular and founder of Laguna Beach Chat, Michael Morris, also found fault with the proposal.  

“I use that turnoff,” said Morris. “Other [left turn] options on Legion and Cleo have no dedicated arrows. I think three-car turning lanes will create a backup and have an adverse effect.” 

Realtor and former planning Commissioner Bob Chapman said blocking vehicles on South Coast Highway from turning onto Lower Park Avenue presented challenges. 

“We should look at the plaza as potentially permanent---or why do it at all?” said Chapman.

Police Chief Laura Farinella supported the concept.

“I consider the proposal a positive,” she said. 

The plan was to furnish the plaza with leased tables and chair and decorated with potted plants, obtained through Beautification Council member Ruben Flores, provided City Manager John Pietig is convinced that the cost is competitive.

Councilman Bob Whalen asked staff to investigate whether purchasing the equipment would be cheaper.

The city had previously budgeted $50,000 for the plaza. Another $25,100 would be required if the council approves extending the required temporary Use Permit to Jan 2. 

Organizers must apply to the Planning Commission for the TUP. Staff indicated that the hearing could be held Oct 4.  


Council approves weapon ban

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Weapons or ordinary items that could be used as weapons will not be allowed at demonstrations, protest rallies or other public assemblies on city beaches or parks. 

The City Council on Tuesday approved an ordinance proposed by Police Chief Laura Farinella to turn away anyone seen with items such soda cans or flags on sticks, as well as the more obvious daggers, metal pipes, or chains. 

“It is important to make our community and our law enforcement personnel safer,” said Mayor Toni Iseman 

Council acted on resident Hillary Cole’s recommendation to add bio-hazardous materials, regardless of the container, to the extensive list of banned items.

However, Cole also said participants in public events should be allowed to carry poles to hold up signs, but her suggestion was not included in the motion to approve the ordinance.

Farinella said flag poles could have easily-removed caps to uncover sharp inserts.

When possible, a warning should be issued before enforcement, unless circumstances dictate immediate action, according to the ordinance.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lynette

What exactly will be regarded as weapons?

“If we see someone heading toward a gathering carrying a weapon, we will tell them to go back to their car,” Farinella said

Violators of the ordinance will be guilty of a misdemeanor.

“This backs up what we want people to know about what we are going to do,” said Mayo Pro Tem Kelly Boyd.

Farinella crafted the urgency ordinance with City Attorney Phillip Kohn, in the wake of the Aug 20 “America First” rally at Main Beach. A similar rally in Virginia ended with one dead, and many others injured when a vehicle was driven into the crowd, Farinella said.  

David Oakley suggested the council should revisit the ordinance to avoid slipping into a police state.

Farinella said people would be able to express their First Amendment rights---just don’t bring weapons.

“Í would rather err on the side of safety when it does not inhibit free speech,” said Councilman Steven Dicterow.

An urgency ordinance takes effect immediately on passage, without the usual requirement for a second reading. 

The complete text of Agenda Bill 13 and the ordinance can be reviewed at www.lagunabeachcity.net. Click on the council agenda for Sept. 12 and again on documents.


City Manager Updates

New Police Officer Graduates from Academy - On Friday, Sept 15, Priscilla Angeloni graduates from the Golden West Police Academy. Priscilla was a jailer with the police department before entering the academy. She has been an outstanding police recruit and is representing Laguna Beach with honor as she has been selected as class president. As class president she will be the keynote speaker for graduation ceremony of Academy Class #155. Welcome Officer Angeloni!

Downtown Specific Plan Update – Review Draft Amendments (Section III, Topic 4) - The City of Laguna Beach and consultant MIG will continue their efforts on the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) Update on Wed, Sept 20, during the Planning Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall. 

The Planning Commission will review and discuss MIG’s recommended draft amendments to Section III: Issue Statements and Policies, Topic 4 (Re-Use and Intensification) of the existing DSP document. A copy of the draft amendments are available to view on the City’s website: www.lagunabeachcity.net

For more information on the Downtown Specific Plan Update project please contact: Wendy Jung, Senior Planner, at (949) 497-0321; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Commission OKs staff TKO on downtown development

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The Planning Commission on Wednesday agreed to jettison recommendations by consultant MIG on the topic of re-use and Intensification in the revisions to the Downtown Specific Plan.

Commissioners voted 5-0 to accept staff’s agreement with recommendations by an ad hoc committee to scrap policies described as obsolete due to the current economic climate and changes in commercial uses, and shunt still-relevant policies to other areas of the document.

“Speaking for the ad hoc committee, I agree with the staff report,” said former Planning Commissioner Norm Grossman.

Senior Planner Wendy Yung’s report to the commission stated that staff believes the committee’s comments and suggestions were reasonable. She identified the committee as composed of a group of interested residents that want to build consensus on suggested changes to the Downtown Specific Plan. 

Staff and consultant’s recommendations differ significantly

Asked by Commissioner Roger McErlane how the staff recommendations could differ so much from the consultant’s, Community Development Director Greg replied that staff works with the consultant, but adds its own perspective.

Written comments by the Ad Hoc Committee included removal of the topic, originally developed to address economic pressures 10 or even 20 years ago, many of them now irrelevant. 

The committee contended that still relevant policies can appropriately be moved to other topics, such as MIG’s position on shared second story office uses as justification for parking relief, which the committee rejected as covered in another section of the plan and which should be discussed there. 

An MIG recommendation to change the title of the topic from “Re-use and Intensification” to “Small–Scale Development” was also squelched, although Grossman agreed with the elimination of the word, intensification.

“It gets an adverse reaction,” said Grossman.

Members of the ad hoc committee also include former Planning Commissioners Becky Jones, Barbara Metzger and Realtor Bob Chapman; former Mayor Ann Christoph; Village Laguna Board member Kate Clark; and business owners Kavita Reddy, David Rubel and Kent Russell.


Reasons for concerns about proposed trees on Ocean Ave

Stu News reported on the discussion that took place at the Council meeting of May 8 regarding the choice of trees to be planted at four vacant tree wells on Ocean Avenue. The article reflected the comments from Public Works Director Shohreh Dupuis that we (Ruben Flores, horticulturist, Bob Borthwick and Ann Christoph, landscape architects), had had four weeks to make our recommendations known to staff in advance of the public meeting. This left the impression that either we were negligent in not responding sooner, that we were trying to delay the process or that our comments were ill-considered and should be discounted. None of these impressions is correct.

In reality we had no knowledge of the types of trees being proposed until the agenda bill was out at the end of the previous week. Because of this short time frame the public forum was the only venue available to bring our recommendations forward regarding the most appropriate trees to be planted.  

We are concerned that the Magnolia ‘Little Gem’ trees being proposed will be too small and shrubby to provide canopies under which the public can walk.  We are recommending a larger growing Magnolia with a canopy, ‘Samuel Sommer’.

We are also concerned about the proposed Chinese Pistache tree, which is a deciduous tree that grows “30-60’ tall with nearly equal spread” according to Sunset. Adding a large deciduous tree to the evergreen tree palette of the downtown will be a change to the area’s visual character, and so we recommend continuing with the present mix of trees which includes the Magnolia and the staff-proposed Metrosideros, New Zealand Christmas tree.

We are grateful to Barbara and Greg MacGillivray for donating the additional amounts needed to augment the City’s tree budget, and to councilmember Bob Whalen who has been facilitating a tree decision-making process for the downtown trees. 

As professionals who have been contributing to landscape decisions for our town for many years, we are happy to continue working with these and other dedicated citizens to beautify our environment.

Ann Christoph

Bob Borthwick

Ruben Flores

Laguna Beach


Council to pick which tax measure goes on Nov ballot

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council on Tuesday will consider two possible ballot measures to fund undergrounding utilities on key evacuation routes in the November election.

Staff has provided steps for placing measures for a general purpose sales tax increase or a special purpose sales tax increase on the ballot. Special purpose taxes for a specified use require a two-third supermajority vote for approval and the revenue goes into the General Fund, to be used at the council’s discretion. 

A general purpose tax requires a 50 percent plus one vote and revenue is limited to the specified use approved by the voters. 

If the general purpose tax is selected, the council must adopt a resolution expressing support for the Utility Undergrounding, Fire Safety and Other Essential City Services Measure, its intent to prioritize spending options for future ballot measure revenue and its intent to create an oversight committee.

The special purpose measure is titled Laguna Beach Undergrounding and Fire Safety Measure.

Both measures to be considered recommend a one percent increase in sales tax.

Staff has been working with Mayor Kelly Boyd and the council’s Utility Undergrounding Subcommittee of Councilmen Rob Zur Schmiede and Bob Whalen to develop the wording of a measure. 

Regardless of which option is selected, certain actions must be taken by the council:

--Direct the City Attorney to prepare an impartial analysis measure

--Authorize City Manager John Pietig to prepare a fiscal analysis

--Authorize Boyd, Whalen and Zur Schmiede, any other council members so inclined and the chiefs of the Police and Fire Departments to prepare direct and rebuttal arguments in favor of the selected measure 

Staff has also recommended that the council appoint Whalen and Zur Schmiede to prepare a ballot argument in favor of the selected ballot measure and a rebuttal.

All of the documents must be filed with the City Clerk’s Office by 5:30 p.m., August 10.

The first reading of an ordinance for the selected measure is scheduled to be introduced at Tuesday’s meeting. A second reading will be required for adoption.


Planning Commissioners want more information before approving changes to second unit ordinance

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The Planning Commission on Wednesday tossed the ball back into staff’s court after a lengthy discussion on revisions to the city’s ordinance regarding Accessory Dwelling Units.

Commissioners asked for more information about ways to calculate which lots would be eligible for what used to be called second units, size of the units, graphics of possible configurations, parking requirements and a definition of public transportation to determine if the city’s “Little Blue Buses” could be counted.  

“It seems we had more questions than answers,” said Commissioner Anne Johnson.

Changes in the ordinance must comply with state laws passed in 2016. 

The intent of the state legislation was to address California’s housing shortage by making it easier to develop second units, detached or within a single-family home, according to the staff report to the commission by planners Melinda Dacey and Monique Alaniz-Flejter. 

A bump in the inventory of affordable housing at or below the going rate in pricey neighborhoods would provide options for family members, students, the elderly, in-home health care providers, the disabled and other vulnerable folks.

Fiftieth District Assemblyman Richard Bloom, who authored AB 2299, wrote City Manager John Pietig on Sept 13 to “strongly request” the city begin processing requests for approval of second units in accordance with the state law, while updating the local ordinance.

State law and the Local Coastal Plan

The revision in the ordinance must be incorporated in the city’s Local Coastal Plan, which requires certification by the Californian Coastal Commission.

“Follow the law now,” said resident Cort Shannon. “It could be a year or more for a new [amended] ordinance to become part of the certified Local Coastal Plan.” 

Shannon urged the commission to offer incentives, such as tax breaks, fee waivers and faster processing of applications.

Incentives could be tied to deed restrictions specifying low-income renters, said Community Development Director Greg Pfost.   

Resident Charlotte Masarik asked the commissioners to be wary of unintended consequences. 

“Potentially, these ‘ADUs’ could morph into short term lodgings and we know enforcement is all but impossible,” said Masarik.

Accessory dwellings are detached from the main structure, JADUs ( junior accessory dwellings) are under the same roof as the primary living space. 

“JDUs provide immediate, low-hanging fruit in as much as they are less than 500 square feet and within an existing structure,” said Housing and Human Services Committee member Kimberly Norton. “Voila!”

Access to fire services in high-density neighborhoods is an issue

However, Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Committee Chair Matt Lawson urged caution in developing affordable housing that would increase density in “access-impaired” neighborhoods. 

“Our firefighters are superb at navigating large emergency apparatus on our sub-standard streets but they aren’t magicians and mutual aid firefighters from other agencies may not have the same skills,” said Lawson. 

He advised careful control of second unit development in risky neighborhoods. 

Unfortunately, the state fire marshal has classified about 90 percent of Laguna highest fire risk, according to Lawson. 

Nine applications to develop ADU are in the pipeline, according to Pfost.

Norton questioned the delay in approvals. 

“The state has provided guidelines, why not follow them,” she asked. “I request the commissioners meet with the Housing and Human Services Committee, the Seniors Task Force and the Board of Realtors, who are very informed before recommending any provisions that unintentionally inhibit ADU creation.”

Staff has until late November to prepare the answers to the questions asked by Commissioners on Wednesday. 


Ballot Measure and key vs main evacuation routes

City Council voted 5/0 to push forward to underground Edison Utility lines on “Key Evacuation Routes” by a Ballot Measure, without remotely addressing nor giving due consideration to the overwhelming “resident concerns” that were aptly delivered by a deluge of residents during two minute Public Comment! The opposition was well represented by a factual reasonable presentation delivered by the newly formed resident advocacy group STOP. My deepest gratitude to Mike Morris for presenting the professional Power Point presentation on behalf of Jennifer Zeiter’s organized resident STOP advocacy group and to the many well spoken concerned residents who should not go ignored by elected officials. Many concerned speakers brought forth substantive facts and valid concerns that should be considered and addressed by elected officials, with due consideration, prior to putting this measure to vote.  

Why our city has spent nearly half a million dollars and counting to advocate support of undergrounding initiative but has refused to spend a dollar to consult with technological advancements by qualified energy professionals to deliver a comprehensive renewable sustainable energy plan for Laguna Beach? I find this known fact to be most disagreeable and offensive to the sensibility and sustainable values of this environmental community. 

The city has been utilizing taxpayers’ money to advertise their personal agenda to pass [the] Undergrounding initiative using a cleverly designed emotional response delivered by a fire and fear Safety Campaign to corral sheep citizens to agree to a Sales Tax initiative to pay for Bonding the construction cost. If you think the Third Street construction debacle created a nuisance, wait until Edison begins to trench our “key routes”.  Edison will cleverly with assistance of the City have the taxpayers pay 100 percent of construction improvement costs for the aging infrastructure of Edison, a Multi Billion Dollar privately owned company. Keep in mind, above ground utility poles have a shelf life and I find it obscene that the cost of a depreciating asset is not being factored into replacing Edison’s archaic infrastructure. Recall, a few years ago, Edison replaced a large portion of above ground utility poles on LCR? Why no “Fire & Fear Campaign” back then and work to underground the newly replaced poles?  

Voter ignorance may win 2/3 votes, without STOP advancing an adequate educational campaign regarding the financial risk of overspending that a debt liability of this magnitude will create for our village and the many other potential follies of cost overruns that are not being adequately addressed! I have personally addressed City Council, numerous times [via] public speaking, suggesting the city scale back the scope of the project to a more reasonable level and include only the main Evacuation Routes of LCR and PCH. In this manner we could pay as we go, using Measure LL Tax and Rule 20A credits to get the main evacuation routes completed.  

I have made the repeated suggestion that neighborhoods continue to use current method of Neighborhood Assessment Districts to underground their own key neighborhood routes by cooperation of majority of residents. I believe the intention of creating ‘Key ER’ is to curry voter favor, to in-debt those who have already “paid their fair share” to underground their own neighborhood, to now pay to underground other neighborhood specific routes! I feel this is a misguided approach and effort to place the burden, on all taxpayers, to pay the share of specific neighborhoods. Yes, this will benefit some, even specific City Councilmember Toni Iseman, [who] had to recuse herself after the specific benefit was brought to attention of the City by another resident. 

One matter of huge concern is that the City must STOP (pun intended) spending the generous unlimited taxpayer war chest to continue to advocate and promote by advertising to support the personal objective of the current City Council. California Government Code §54964(a) prohibits local governmental agencies from expending public funds to advocate for or against a ballot measure or other voting initiative, with some exceptions for educational/informative materials. The city may have already crossed the line into the grey area with their initial advertising campaign to promote undergrounding by driving forward the false narrative undergrounding utility lines will somehow make us fire safe.

City Council is simply not adequately addressing resident concerns and are failing their constituents to reasonably explore other advanced technological alternative energy sources and to avoid scaling back the project to avoid assuming gross debt liability of cost over budget construction costs! We all know the government rarely comes in on budget for cost of construction.  

Caution-beware: City of Fresno, in few years time, went from 25M to 400M for bullet train underground of utility lines!

Lorene Laguna (Auger)

Laguna Beach


City Manager’s Update

Fallen Officer Ceremony - Thurs, Sept 21, marked the four-year anniversary of the in the line of duty death of Laguna Beach Police Officer Jon Coutchie. At 6 p.m. on September 21, in front of the police officer’s memorial in front of the police station, the Laguna Beach Police Department held a ceremony in honor and remembrance of Officer Coutchie and Officer Gordon French, who both gave the ultimate sacrifice while protecting the citizens on this city.

Review Final Draft of Laguna Canyon Planning Study - The City of Laguna Beach and consultant MIG will continue their efforts on the Laguna Canyon Planning Study Project on Tues, Sept 26, during the City Council’s regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall.  

The focus of the planning study is to review zoning and development standards regarding property within the Laguna Canyon study area. The Laguna Canyon Planning Study has been presented as a draft report to the Planning Commission in a series of three hearings, and will conclude with a final hearing before the City Council. 

A copy of the final draft report is available to review on the City’s website: www.lagunabeachcity.net.  For more information on the Laguna Canyon Planning Study Project, contact: Wendy Jung, Senior Planner at (949) 497-0321; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

New Fire Engine and Vehicle for the City - The fire department took delivery of a new fire engine this week.  It was built by Pierce Manufacturing and will soon go into service at Station #1. The cost of the engine was $644,000. We also took delivery of a new command vehicle. This unit will be placed in service as the Battalion 1 vehicle and will be housed at Fire Station #2.

 

Click on photos for larger images

Photos courtesy City Manager

New fire engine and command vehicle

Nationwide Test of the Emergency Alert System - On Sept 27 at 11:20 a.m. PST, the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), in coordination with the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will conduct a mandatory test of the Emergency Alert System (EAS). The test will assess the readiness for distribution of the national level test message, as well as verify its delivery.  

The EAS test is made available to radio, television, cable and direct broadcast satellite systems, and is scheduled to last approximately one minute.

Annual Composting Classes - The City’s solid waste hauler, Waste Management, will offer the final free composting class for 2017 on Sat, Sept 23, from 10 to 11 a.m. at Bluebird Park, located at 798 Bluebird Cyn Drive. Compost and worm bins will be available for purchase during the class at a discounted price.  

For more information, contact the Waste Management class instructor, Lisa Ryder, at (310) 874-2499 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Main Beach Park Bench Painting - On Mon, Sept 25, the 47 wooden benches at Main Beach Park will be sanded and re-stained. The project is expected to be completed by Wed, Oct 4.  The project will be done in phases so that most of the benches will be available for the public at all times.  For more information, contact Maintenance Supervisor, Wayne Chintala, at (949) 464-6644.

Street Resurfacing - Construction will begin next week to repair and resurface roadways in the Mystic Hills, Skyline, lower Bluebird Canyon, and lower Summit Drive areas, including Park Avenue between Wendt Terrace and Hillview Drive. Preliminary construction notices have been mailed to affected residents.  

The project is expected to be completed by the end of November.  For more information, visit the project website at www.lagunabeachcity.net/slurryseal or call (844) LAGUNA4 or (844) 524-8624.

Fall Aquatics Programs - The Community Services Department is still accepting registrations for all aquatics programming. Sign up for the gold medal winning age group water polo program, or make a splash on the swim

team. 

Register online at: https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/catalog/index?filter=Y2F0ZWdvcnklNUI1NDYyJTVEPTEmdGFiJTVCMTI2NiU1RD0xJnNlYXJjaD0=


Harley Rouda shares appreciation of his supporters

Since we started this campaign together almost a year and a half ago, we have accomplished so much. From the tremendous grassroots support we have had since the beginning, our campaign has received endorsements from every facet of the Democratic Party – from local elected officials such as Toni Iseman, Katrina Foley, and Gina Clayton-Tarvin, to national leaders such as the entire Democratic Congressional Delegation from Orange County as well as many other members of Congress; from environmental organizations such as the Sierra Club to progressive organizations such as the California Nurses Association and the Progressive Democrats of America; from organizations fighting gun violence like Moms Demand Action and Pride Fund Against Gun Violence to LGBTQ organizations like Equality California. 

And most recently the DCCC has put us on Red to Blue – just one of three campaigns in all of California.

It’s our time to move Orange County forward. I’ll fight for common sense change in Washington. Together we are the only campaign that can beat Dana Rohrabacher. I hope I can earn your vote on June 5th and together we will Flip the 48th.

Harley Rouda

Laguna Beach


Council to vote Tuesday on raises for

themselves, board and commission members

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council on Tuesday will determine if they or members of the Planning Commission, Design Review Board and Arts Commission should get raises, and if so, how much.

Three options were supplied by staff:

--Increase compensation by the growth in the Consumer Price Index over the past 30 months, 7.7 percent

--Match the increases to the salary increases given employees over the past three years, 3.5 percent in January of 2016 and 3 percent in July of 2017 and 2018

--Increase the compensation by 5 percent for 2016 and 2017 (10 percent total), the maximum amount allowed council members by government code

The current annual cost of the compensations is $109,900. (Annual costs are approximately $68,895 for city council, $17,780 for DRB, and $22,225 for all commissioners.) The first option would raise the cost to $118,200; the second option would cost $120,400; the third option, $120,900.

Raises for board and commission members could be approved by resolution, retroactive to July 1, the start of the new fiscal year.

An increase in the compensation for City Council members must be approved by ordinance. If approved, state law stipulates that increases would not go into effect until the start of new terms for a council member, December 4.


Council expected to approve tree removal permit and set a fee

By BARBARA DIAMOND

An ordinance to establish a tree removal permit and a permit fee is expected to be approved tonight by the City Council.

The council previously voted unanimously in favor of the permit and set fines for violating the ordinance.

Permits will be required to remove heritage trees, Design Review-approved trees and privately maintained trees in the public right of way.

Proposed fines for violations are heavy. All fines will be doubled for unpermitted removal of heritage trees.

Size matters

The fine for unpermitted removal of non-heritage trees with a trunk measuring six to 12 inches around is $1,000 for the first offense, $3,000 for the second offense and $5,000 for the third offense. 

Fines for unpermitted removal of non-heritage trees with trunks that measure more than 12 inches up to 24 inches is set at $3,000 for the initial violation, $7,000 for the second and $10,000 for the third.

Non-heritage trees that measure more than 24 inches around will cost the culprit $5,000 for the first violation, $12,000 or the second and $15,000 for the third.

If the ordinance is passed as expected, the public will be notified of the procedures for obtaining a tree removal permit by various sources.

What you need to know about the permits

--Permits will be available at the front counter in City Hall

--Folks on the Interested Parties List will be noticed

--Permit applications will be posted on the Tree Removal Permit web page

--A press release will be coordinated with the Community Information Officer

--Real Property Reports will be amended to include a statement that trees on the property may require a permit for removal

--Announcement of the new ordinance will be made by a city-wide mailer to all property owners

The proposed ordinance is on the council’s Consent Calendar and will be approved without discussion unless pulled by a member of the council or the audience.


Council approves maximum pay hikes

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council approved last week the maximum hike allowed by law in their monthly stipend. The vote was 3-2, with Councilman Bob Whalen and Mayor Pro Tem Rob Zur Schmiede opposed to the ten percent increase (five percent increase for each of past two years).

Members of the Design Review Board, Arts and Planning Commissions also got a pay increase, retroactive to July 1, approved by a resolution. The council will have to wait until after the November election for their increase to become effective per the ordinance introduced at the meeting. A second reading is required for passage.

Resident Michael Morris said the proposed increase for council members was not commensurate with the time they spend on City business, merely symbolic and not a measure of the council’s worth and perhaps should be waived. 

“The number of hours you put into public service is immense,” said Morris. “I don’t think the increases are meaningful. I would suggest given that the city’s voters are going to be asked to increase taxes on themselves in November, perhaps the council – but not the commissions or board – just forgo an increase.” 

Three options considered

City staff provided three options for the council to consider. 

--Increase compensation by the growth in the Consumer Price Index over the past 30 months, 7.7 percent

--Match the increases to the salary increases given employees over the past three years, 3.5 percent in January of 2016 and 3 percent in in July of 2017 and 2018

--Increase the compensation by 5 percent annually (10 percent total), the maximum amount allowed council members by government code

Whalen and Zur Schmiede favored an increase that would mirror the three percent annual increases for city employees.

A fourth option not included in staff recommendations could have increased the compensation for board and commission members, but not for the council. 

The approved increases raise the council member’s salary from $826 a month to $908 a month. Planning Commissioners’ and Design Review Board members’ monthly compensation will be raised from $357 to $392. The eight Arts Commissioners will see their checks go up from $125 to $137 a month.

The cost of the increases is covered by the $12,900 appropriation approved by the council in June.

A hike in pay was proposed by Councilwoman Toni Iseman, who said she spends most of her stipend meeting with the public.

Council members also are reimbursed for expenses incurred in travel on behalf of the city; are given a flat amount to compensate for cell phone bills; and the City pays the dues for memberships in organizations that benefit the city. 


City Manager’s Update

Downtown Specific Plan Update – Review Draft Amendments (Section III, Topics 10-11): The City of Laguna Beach and consultant MIG will continue their efforts on the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) Update on Wed, Oct 4, during the Planning Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall. 

The Planning Commission will review and discuss MIG’s recommended draft amendments to Section III: Issue Statements and Policies, Topic 10 (Civic Art District) and Topic 11 (Central Bluffs) of the existing DSP document. 

A copy of the draft amendments is available to view on the City’s website: www.lagunabeachcity.net. For more information on the Downtown Specific Plan Update project please contact Wendy Jung, Senior Planner, at (949) 497-0321; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

City Hall Pepper Tree Reduction -Next week, the historic pepper tree at City Hall will be reduced to approximately 12 feet high. Street parking directly in front of City Hall will not be available during the trimming operations. Please use the Lumberyard Parking Lot or Parking Lot 11 for business at City Hall when parking spaces are not available in front of City Hall.  

Wood from the tree will be made available through the end of November to artists, or any members of the public who wish to craft objects or to have a memento from the tree. For more information, or to request wood from the tree, please contact Senior Administrative Analyst, Robert Sedita at (949) 497-0740 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Skyline Drive Road Work - From Oct 4 to 20, Skyline Drive will be closed to through traffic, between Manzanita Drive and Vista Lane, during working hours of 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday, to accommodate construction of an underground sub-drain. The drain will improve the road surface conditions and is being installed in advance of the upcoming slurry seal resurfacing. 

The road will remain open to residents within the work zone.  For more information, please contact, Assistant City Engineer, Mark Trestik at (949) 497-0300 or at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Emergency Permit For Fuel Modification - The Fire Department has received an Emergency Permit from the California Coastal Commission to perform fuel modification work in the area above Driftwood Drive and Ocean Vista Drive.  The work is scheduled to begin on Monday, October 2.  

No native vegetation will be removed and all the work will be performed by hand crews with a biologist on site to ensure the protection of sensitive habitat.  For information on this project contact the Fire Department at (949) 497-0700.


This “granny flat” poem should set the tone

Important tone for the present controversy – here’s a “granny flat” poem by Marcy Wingard – see below.

Walker Reed

 

Home

Planted in sunshine paradise

came forty years ago and more

California’s Gold Coast suited

then and does today

 

Older now, finished with work

choice is mine  escape to other climes

leave this idyllic home

costly to care for  hard to maintain

 

Resources dwindling   fewer needs

downsizing has its subtle charms

but   leave my garden

good friends  fellowship

 

Sunshine pouring in, I watch the day

outside the kitchen door, my garden

past wrought iron fence

that borders my domain

 

Here, I am home  I know my way

my habits long entrenched

the world an ordered place

so hard to start anew

 

Precious brown hills

fresh green after springtime rain

ocean close enough to see

from top of winding grade

 

Feast of fruit and other fare

a wondrous mix grown here

so many things to lose

if I choose flight to smaller space

 

Besides   my partner of many years

sleeps peacefully below the hill

could I desert him   leave him alone

with no one left to bring him flowers

 

So here I am and here I’ll stay

until the choice no longer mine

then leave these hills but they’ll remain

in memory ‘til mine have fled.


Commission denies approval of Coast Inn project

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The Planning Commission didn’t like the revised proposal for the Coast Inn any more than the original submission in March.

Commissioners unanimously voted on Wednesday after about three hours of testimony to recommend the City Council deny approval of the project. The commissioners voiced concerns about the proposed roof-top deck, which includes a swimming pool, and the extent of the project, which they felt verges on a major remodel and does not conform to the current city code.

“I was surprised and pleased with the commission’s decision,” said project opponent Barbara Metzger, a former planning commissioner.

Development Department staff had advised the commission to recommend approval of the project to City Council.

The project still will go to the council because it includes parking credits for historic preservation.

Parking was an issue with many opponents of the project and a parking study was mandated in March, now completed. 

Project architect Marshall Ininns said the Coast Inn has 98 spaces grandfathered in for the hotel, 12 spaces grandfathered for the liquor store, plus 13 actual spaces. The remainder of the required parking would be fulfilled by Uber, Lyft, private vans, trolleys and buses, he said.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy LB Historical Society

The original Coast Inn with iconic tower

“This is a perfect opportunity for Laguna to preserve one of the historical icons and prevent it from being lost forever,” said Ininns. 

Coast Inn owner Chris Dornin is no stranger to controversial projects. He partnered with Louis Longi in the battle for approval of an artist work/live project in Laguna Canyon, opposed by the Friends of the Canyon. 

“Commissioners missed a significant opportunity on Wednesday to beautify this blighted neighborhood and to put significant restrictions on the project,” said Dornin, born and raised in the HIP District of Laguna. “They had the opportunity to put 54 conditions on the project and limit the property to 300 people.  

“We could open the Boom Boom Room tomorrow with 597 people in it, live music or a DJ and about 200 cars parked in the neighborhood.”

The project as presented to the commission on Wednesday still included a request for a variance to restore documented towers and the original sign on the hotel that disappeared decades ago and the swimming pool on the roof of the hotel, but eliminated the pool deck, spa, gym, and conference room in the defunct store on the corner of South Coast Highway and Mountain Road, according to Ininns. 

“Our future plans depend on the outcome of the City Council review,” said Dornin. 

The entire staff report on the Coast Inn project, more than 200 pages long, is available for review on the city website, www.lagunabeachcity.net. Click on City Meetings and Agendas.


Trump’s view of NFL players taking a knee

What is happening to our beloved country?  Donald Trump’s comment yesterday about NFL players taking a knee is wrong on so many levels I really don’t know where to begin.  

I graduated from USC in 1970, so I lived through the tumultuous days of “love it or leave it” during the Vietnam War. Since when is it a crime to peacefully protest at Main Beach or at a football game? Suffice it to say that if the president believes players “shouldn’t be in the country if they can’t stand proudly for the anthem” then maybe he shouldn’t be in the White House.  

Clearly, Mr. Trump doesn’t understand the first thing about what the Constitution truly stands for (including allowing me the right to take a knee and pen this letter).

Denny Freidenrich

Laguna Beach


Council approves changes in the 2018-19 budget

By BARBARA DIAMOND

At its June 12 meeting, City Council approved most of the changes to the 2018-19 budget recommended by staff, based on a positive economic outlook for the city. 

Forecasts for major city revenues include a 4.5 percent increase in property taxes, a 4 percent increase in bed taxes, and a 2 percent increase in sales tax; the 20 percent General Fund reserve and the 10 percent Disaster Contingency remain intact. The adopted budget for fiscal year 2018-19 is $97 million. The General Fund, which is the city’s primary operating fund, is $64.3 million.

The rosy projections make possible the spending additions for the fiscal year starting July 1.

Approved additions included reducing the appropriation for a Community Development Historical Inventory consultant from $30,000 to $20,000 and using the $10,000 to fund salary increases for the City Council, the Planning and Arts Commissions and the Design Review Board. City Attorney Philip Kohn will also get an increase in his monthly retainer from $8,500 to $12,000 and in his hourly rate from $235 to $255. Marine Safety funding for part-time salaries will be increased by $10,000 to address busier activity on city beaches. 

The biggest change was the increase from $100,000 to $600,000 to pay for IT equipment, Cultural Arts grants recommended by the Arts Commission and funded by the Business Improvement District in the amount of $237,600, and Community Assistance Grants totaling $259,000 were approved for disbursement. 

City Clerk Lisette Chel Walker and City Treasurer Laura Parisi were awarded 5 percent Exceptional Performance payment.

Unfunded pensions remain a concern. The California Public Employees Retirement System, known as CalPERS, continues to be underfunded, and apparently isn’t expecting its investments to pay better in the future. The rate of return was lowered from 7.5 percent to 7 percent, which is expected to increase the city’s payment to CalPERS by an additional $2.8 million by 2024-25. 

However, in June of 2017, the council approved incrementally appropriate ongoing revenues above the budget estimates toward future increases in pension payments with the goal of $2.8 million by 2024-25.


City Manager’s Update

5th Annual Flood Prevention Device Practice Installation Day - In an ongoing effort to assist with the implementation of the recently adopted Floodplain Management Ordinance, the Code Enforcement Division has notified the Laguna Beach property and business owners located in the flood hazard zone of the upcoming 5th Annual Flood Prevention Device Practice Installation Day. This is a voluntary educational emergency preparedness training event encouraged by FEMA.  

All persons employed to work in a business located within areas of special flood hazards are requested to be trained by the business owner on how to install the flood prevention devices and be provided a copy of the flood contingency measures plan. Each year on the fourth Monday in October, the business owner and employees are encouraged to practice installation of the flood prevention devices. Therefore, Monday, October 23 is designated as the fifth Annual Flood Prevention Device Practice Installation Day.

Parents’ Night Out - Parents, call it a break from the kids; kids call it a break from your parents. The City of Laguna Beach is hosting its quarterly Parents’ Night Out on Friday, Oct 20, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Community & Susi Q Center, 380 Third Street. Parents can enjoy some adult time to see a movie, catch up with friends or enjoy a kid-free meal. 

The children will have a blast enjoying games, movies, arts & crafts and dinner. Cost: $20 per child, $5 sibling discount available. Pre-registration is required 48 hours in advance. To register, call (949) 464-6645 or visit, www.lagunabeachcity.net click “recreation classes.”

Smart Gardening Series - Pumpkin succulent centerpieces can add a beautiful, long lasting display of colors and textures to your holiday table. Learn how simple it is to create your own unique centerpiece in this free workshop. Join Master Gardener, Aneta Dorhout on Sat, Oct 14 from 9 to 10 a.m. at the Community & Susi Q Center, 380 Third Street. To register, call (949) 464-6645.

El Toro Road - SoCal Gas Advanced Meter DCU Installation Project - SoCalGas will install its advanced meter related equipment on the north side of El Toro Road, approximately 870 feet east of Laguna Canyon Road. The work is scheduled for Oct 16 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. 

During construction hours, a portion of El Toro Road will be reduced to one lane. A portion of the bike lane on both Northbound and Southbound directions will be closed between Laguna Canyon Road and State Route 73. For additional information, please contact Shaun Baptiste, from SoCalGas, at 562-305-2977.


Council denies appeal of Ranch Restoration Plan

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council unanimously denied an appeal on Tuesday of the Planning Commission’s approval of a restoration plan proposed for The Ranch.

Laguna Beach resident Mark Fudge did not blame the commission for its decision. He blamed the city staff.

“The Planning Commission did the best they could,” Fudge said in his five-minute presentation to the council. “Staff abused their discretion.”

Fudge based his appeal on six grounds: 

--Insufficient notice of the Planning Commission meeting 

--Categorical exemption from California Environmental Quality Act requirements

--Non-compliance with the city’s General Plan, including six specific policies

--No consultation with other agencies interested in the project

--Failure to consider a recent court decision which defined the scope of the project and required further work to be subject to CEQA.

Staff provided a lengthy defense of its position, claiming in its report that the grounds for the appeal were speculative and unfounded. The report further stated that Fudge provided no proof that the Planning Commission erred or abused its discretion in approving the plan, required findings to overturn a commission decision.

Design review, in this case conducted by the Planning Commission, is required for proposed native vegetation restoration plans. 

The restoration plan proposed by the Ranch was designed to mitigate what Coastal Commissioners had previously determined “were unauthorized tree trimming/vegetation removal activities in Aliso Creek” and the impacts from the removal of downed vegetation from the creek bank due to the January 2017 storms, according to a letter from The Ranch representative.

“The Planning Commission rubber-stamped a California Coastal Commission decision,” said Sharon Fudge, the appellant’s wife. 

He had also claimed the restoration did not qualify for the California Environmental Quality Act’s ”small habitat restoration” categorical exemption.

The exemption applies to projects that do not exceed five acres to ensure the protection of habitat for fish, plants or wildlife. 

“This project will affect the entire 19 miles of the stream,” said Sharon Fudge. 

However reviews of the project by a Coastal Commission ecologist, the Ranch’s ecologist, the commission and city staff determined the project affects 4.83 acres of restoration. 

Fudge declined to comment on the council’s decision or any further action he might take.


Council will review owners’ rights to cut down trees without permits

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council will review on Tuesday the right of private property owners to cut down trees on their own land or in adjacent public-rights-of-way without city permission.

According to a staff report the council clearly has the right to regulate trees in the public right of way, but may be on shakier ground when it comes to regulating the removal of trees on private property.

“I do believe property owners, especially in Laguna Beach, should have the opportunity to design their own landscape plan and unfortunately, sometimes trees reach maturity or don’t fit in,” said resident Karl Koski, former city manager of Temple City. “Requiring a permit is an erosion of private property rights.”   

Councilman Rob Zur Schmiede raised the issue of regulation at the June 27 meeting following the owner’s removal of trees at Ruby’s Diner in South Laguna.

“We have had a lot of losses in last-minute and weekend cutting,” said landscape architect Ann Christoph, who supports a permit process. 

Property owners may not be aware of city policies on removing trees

“The trees at Ruby’s are gone, but if we had a permit process there would be a public review and evaluation. The property owner might even reconsider removal after hearing public comment.” 

Property owners are not always aware of city policies on removing trees, and those policies do not address all removals, according to staff.

The council must approve removal of Heritage Trees. Removal of trees in a landscape plan approved through the design review process must be approved by the Design Review Board or the Planning Commission. Removal without permission may be prosecuted as a misdemeanor.

Removal of privately maintained trees in the public-right-of-way may be removed only if perceived to be at risk of failing, under the term of an interim policy adopted by the council in 2016. The policy applies only to trees in danger of failing. 

If the council directs staff to prepare a new ordinance, penalty for removal without permission could result in an administrative citation or prosecution for misdemeanor and replacement of the tree at the owner’s cost. 

Each removed tree would be a separate violation. Currently citations escalate from $100 for first violation, to $200 for the second and $500 for the third.


City Manager’s Updates

Laguna Beach Fire Department (LBFD) Assists with Fires - The LBFD had three engines and Chief Christopher assigned to the Canyon 2 fire. Chief Christopher and our Office of Emergency Services (OES) Engine 313 are expected to be released from Canyon 2 and redeployed to Northern California. While the LBFD was heavily committed to the Canyon 2 fire, we were able to staff all four of the City’s fire stations.

Downtown Specific Plan Update – Review Recommended Changes to Land Use Permitting - The City of Laguna Beach and consultant MIG will continue their efforts on the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) Update on Wed, Oct 18, during the Planning Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall. 

City staff will provide an update on the Planning Commission Subcommittee’s suggested revisions to MIG’s Table 1, which addresses land use permitting for various districts within the DSP area.  A copy of the Subcommittee’s suggested revisions is available to review on the City’s website: www.lagunabeachcity.net.  

For more information on the Downtown Specific Plan Update project please contact: Wendy Jung, Senior Planner, at (949) 497-0321; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Planning Commission Recommendation on the “Draft” Historic Preservation Ordinance - The Laguna Beach Planning Commission will review a revised draft of the Historic Preservation Ordinance at its next meeting, which will be held on Wednesday, October 18, 2017, starting at 6:00 p.m. in the City Council Chambers (located at 505 Forest Avenue in Laguna Beach).  The Planning Commission will be reviewing the revised draft to provide a recommendation to the City Council.  

To view a copy of the staff report for this item, please refer to the City’s website: www.lagunabeachcity.net. For more information on the Historic Preservation Ordinance, please contact Martina Caron, Senior Planner at (949) 497-6629; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Juried Fine Art Exhibition – Artist Reception and Award Ceremony - On Thurs, Nov 2, at 5:30 p.m. the winners of the eleventh annual Juried Fine Art Exhibition will be announced at an Artist Reception at Laguna Beach City Hall, 505 Forest Ave. The exhibition can be viewed through Nov 22. 

The juror, Mackenzie Stevens, Curatorial Assistant at the Los Angeles Hammer Museum, reviewed submissions from artists from throughout Orange County and selected 34 for exhibit. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Children’s Holiday Palette Exhibition - The Arts Commission is currently accepting designs to the annual competition. Children ages 5 to 17 years old may submit an original design celebrating the holiday season. Up to 12 designs will be selected for display at City Hall throughout December. Designs must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Fri, Nov 17. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. Call Mike McGregor, Arts Program Coordinator at (949) 497-0722 extension 5 for information.

Palette Competition - The Arts Commission selected one design by artist Kelly Hartigan Goldstein for this year’s competition. The new palette will been installed outside City Hall. The palettes can be seen throughout the City extending to South Laguna. Currently in its 51st year, this program is funded by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.

Holiday Cookie Contest - Residents are invited to participate in the City’s first annual holiday cookie recipe contest. Each participant is asked to submit their favorite family cookie recipe and the story behind it. Three finalists will be selected to bake a sample batch of their cookies for a tasting ceremony on Nov 13. 

The first place winner’s story and recipe will be published in the Winter 2018 Community Services brochure, to be mailed citywide. Entries must be submitted at the front desk of the Community and Susi Q Center by Oct 31. For more information, contact Adam Gufarotti, Senior Recreation Supervisor, at (949) 497-0304. Entry forms can be downloaded from the following City website link:

https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/catalog/index?filter=c2VhcmNoPUhvbGlkYXkrQ29va2llK0NvbnRlc3Q=

Intro to Mindfulness & Self Compassion for Parents & Teens - In partnership withMission Hospital Laguna Beach, the City is pleased to offer a workshop that will help teens and their parents navigate the emotional ups and downs of life with greater ease, offering tools for coping with teen issues. The workshop will be held on Sat, Oct 21, from 9:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Community & Susi Q Center, 380 Third Street. 

Teens, please bring a yoga mat or beach towel. Cost: $10 per person. To register, call (949) 464-6645 or visit, www.lagunabeachcity.net click “recreation classes.”

Parents’ Night Out - Parents, call it a break from the kids; kids call it a break from your parents. The City of Laguna Beach is hosting its quarterly Parents’ Night Out on Friday, Oct 20, from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Community & Susi Q Center, 380 Third Street. Parents can enjoy some adult time to see a movie, catch up with friends or enjoy a kid-free meal. 

The children will have a blast enjoying games, movies, arts & crafts and dinner. Cost: $20 per child, $5 sibling discount available. Pre-registration is required 48 hours in advance. To register, call (949) 464-6645 or visit, www.lagunabeachcity.net click “recreation classes.”


City’s proposed draft plan for replanting of trees to be reviewed at public workshop on Friday, June 29

There will be a public workshop to review the City’s proposed draft plan for replanting of trees in the downtown area and on portions of Coast Highway. The workshop will be held on Friday, June 29 from 1:30 to 4 p.m. in the community room of the Laguna Beach Community & Susi Q Center.

Citys proposal downtown trees

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Replanting of trees workshop is on Friday, June 29

Public Works staff have developed a replanting plan which will be presented at the workshop.

Subsequent to the workshop, the planting plan will be presented to the Planning Commission on July 18 and to City Council on August 7.

Susi Q Center is located at 380 Third St.

For more information, go to www.lagunabeachcity.net.


Planning Commission on track to recommend approval of Preservation Ordinance after marathon

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The Laguna Beach Planning Commission may finally be ready to pass the baton to the City Council for approval of recommended amendments to the Historic Preservation Ordinance.

Commissioners are expected to recommend approval of the amendments to the Zoning Ordinance, the Local Coastal Program and the Laguna Beach Municipal Code related to changes in the preservation ordinance on Wednesday. 

Among the recommendations supported by the commission are proposed parking reductions for commercial properties on the city’s Historic Register.  

Coincidentally, one of the 12 items on the commission’s Wednesday’s agenda is a request for a reduction in required parking, submitted on behalf of Slice, which is scheduled to open for business this week.

Pizza parlor parking proposal presented

The pizza parlor is asking for the parking reduction for properties on the Historic Register to be increased to 65.2 percent - 2.4 percent greater than the current reduction. 

Maximum reduction allowed under the state code is 75 percent or up to 15 spaces, whichever if the most restrictive. 

Residential structures are eligible for parking reductions and less rigid setback rules. 

Incentives are designed to encourage preservation of structures deemed historically or architecturally valuable. 

The ordinance is slated to be the first item on the commission’s lengthy agenda.

As recommended for approval by staff, the ordinance will incorporate new designations for ratings as suggested by Chair Susan Whitin and approved by the commission at the Sept 6 meeting.

Commissioners recommended identifying properties with the numerical ratings used by the California code, rather than the Laguna specific letters E, K, and C.

C-rated structures not now on the city’s historic register will no longer be considered historic resources as defined by the California Environmental Quality Act.

Recommendations by the commission for City Council approval also include creating a staff position to oversee historic preservation and additional training for Design Review Board and Heritage Committee members, according to the staff report.


City will discuss new options at its Tuesday meeting to underground utilities and mitigate severe fire risk

Renewing its commitment to public safety and fire prevention, the City of Laguna Beach will consider advancing new policy and funding solutions to remove utility poles and underground wires citywide at its upcoming October 24 City Council meeting. The City Council agenda item can be viewed at this link:

http://lagunabeachcity.granicus.com/MetaViewer.php?view_id=3&event_id=254&meta_id=54919.

In addition to considering a portfolio of solutions, the City Council will also consider repealing its preliminary undergrounding ordinance, opting to settle expensive litigation initiated by regional utilities and pursue more cost-effective options.  

A recent Los Angeles Times feature exposed how power lines and electrical equipment are a leading cause of wildfires in California. 

“Laguna knows all too well about the devastation caused by wildfires and my heart goes out to all those whose lives were changed in an instant by the massive fires in Northern California,” said Councilmember Bob Whalen.  

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Dave Day

Just last week, an accident brought down power lines and closed the Canyon Road for hours

“Reading that these fires may have been sparked by overhead utility lines and equipment once again sends an urgent message – in high risk fire zones, above ground utilities are a grave danger.  Our residents in Laguna live every day with the threat of destruction from fires sparked by power lines and transformers. The utility companies have refused to help expedite undergrounding leaving us no choice but to ask our community to support a local funding plan.  We must get this done to protect lives and property.»  

City Council will discuss new options on Tuesday Oct 24

On Tuesday, the City Council will discuss and potentially vote on the following recommended actions:  

Approve and authorize the purchase of California Public Utilities Commission (CPUC) Rule 20A undergrounding credits from Rancho Santa Margarita and Indian Wells at $0.55 on the dollar;

Direct staff to use $3 million in available funds and up to $4 million in Measure LL, Street Lighting and Rule 20A funds available during the next two fiscal years for undergrounding of utilities along highest priority evacuation routes;

Direct staff to continue to investigate other funding opportunities and present to the City Council in the near future; and

Repeal the city’s ordinance designed to reduce severe fire risk and utility pole related traffic accidents by requiring utility companies to underground all new and replacement utility infrastructure.

The City passed an ordinance in March 2017 designed to reduce severe fire risk and utility pole related traffic accidents by requiring utility companies to underground all new and replacement utility infrastructure. 

In response to the ordinance, Southern California Edison (SCE) and San Diego Gas & Electric (SDG&E) filed lawsuits against the City to prevent enactment of the ordinance. Faced with the threat of a long and expensive litigation process, the City Council has reached a settlement agreement with the two utilities and will consider repealing the ordinance while continuing to pursue more cost-effective alternatives.

“We must focus on solutions,” says Mayor Iseman

 “We strongly believe the utilities should step up and share in the cost of undergrounding their dangerous wires and we’re disappointed they sued our City in an attempt to avoid paying. However, slogging through costly litigation for years isn’t going to solve the problem in a timely manner. We’re focused on identifying funding options and directing resources as soon as possible to underground these dangerous utility wires,” said Laguna Beach Mayor Toni Iseman. 

The settlement commits the utilities to work with the City to review safety concerns and existing overhead electric systems and discuss opportunities to reduce fire risk. It also allows for the advancement of Rule 20A funds for up to five years for city initiated undergrounding projects. SCE has agreed to develop preliminary designs for undergrounding of electric facilities along Laguna Canyon Road in 12 months, and SDG&E agreed to advance the City initial funding for engineering and design costs for undergrounding projects that take place within the next five years.

The City Council agreed that fighting a long legal battle would not serve the community’s best interest – not when the threat to public safety is imminent. 

In the last 10 years, downed utility lines have caused at least five significant fires, and 58 vehicles have collided with utility poles on Laguna Canyon Road. 

With millions of visitors each year and only two evacuation roads leading out of the city, the next disaster could be more devastating than the last.


The City Council is now accepting applications to serve on the Personnel Board

The City Council is accepting applications to serve on the Personnel Board.

Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on the Personnel Board should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or online from the City’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net and file in the City Clerk’s office no later than Friday, July 13 at 5 p.m. Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at (949) 497-0705. Applications will not be accepted after the deadline

Interviews and appointments will be conducted on Tuesday, July 24 at 6 p.m. by the City Council in the City Council Chambers, 505 Forest Avenue. All applicants will be interviewed. Applicants may be contacted by City Council members prior to the interviews and appointments so please be prepared to make a brief statement about your desire to serve on a committee.

Two (2) two-year terms on the Personnel Board begin July 25, 2018 through September 30, 2019. The Personnel Board hears appeals relative to any disciplinary action, dismissal, demotion, reduction in pay or suspension. One of the two selected will serve as an alternate member.


City Manager’s Update

Health+Wellness Senior Expo & Free Flu Shot Clinic Live and thrive well! Join a number of City of Laguna Beach, Susi Q and local community services organizations providing resources, awareness, medical and educational information, as well as free demos, screenings and activities. Free flu vaccines will be provided by St. Joseph Health, Mission Hospital for those 18 years+ while supplies last.  This year’s event will be held on Friday, Oct 27, from 8:30 a.m. to 11 a.m. at the Community & Susi Q Center, 380 Third Street. For more information: call (949) 464-6645.

The City is proud to announce the opening of “Park Plaza” - Beginning this weekend, the 200 block of Park Avenue will serve as an outdoor pedestrian plaza free from vehicular traffic. In partnership with volunteers representing Transition Laguna, the Laguna Beach Beautification Council and the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce, the lower block of Park Avenue has been spruced up, lighted, furnished, landscaped, and decorated to create an inviting plaza for pedestrians to enjoy.  

The trial program was initiated and funded by the City Council and is tentatively scheduled to continue through the end of the calendar year. Park Plaza will be open to the public between the hours of 8 a.m. and 10 p.m. daily.


City Manager’s Updates

November Awareness Month - City of Laguna Beach is proud to announce our 10th Annual National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Month in November. Proclaimed by the City and organized as a public service by the Housing and Human Services Committee, this month-long event brings awareness to the Laguna Beach community about people who are hungry and homeless in our community, our country, and our nation. During the month of November, there are five different ways to participate in this worthy cause. For more details visit: http://www.lagunahungryandhomeless.org/events.html.

Juried Fine Art Exhibition – Artist Reception and Award Ceremony - On Thurs, Nov 2, at 5:30 p.m. the winners of the eleventh annual Juried Fine Art Exhibition will be announced at an Artist Reception at Laguna Beach City Hall, 505 Forest Avenue. The exhibition can be viewed through Nov 22. The juror, Mackenzie Stevens, Curatorial Assistant at the Los Angeles Hammer Museum, reviewed submissions from artists from throughout Orange County and selected 34 to exhibit. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Children’s Holiday Palette Exhibition - The Arts Commission is currently accepting designs to the annual competition. Children ages 5 to 17 years old may submit an original design celebrating the holiday season. Up to 12 designs will be selected for display at City Hall throughout December. Designs must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov 17. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. For exhibition guidelines go to: http://bit.ly/2iEI0y3.

Creative Placemaking Town Hall Meeting - The City of Laguna Beach will hold its first public town hall meeting to discuss the Creative Placemaking Assessment, exploring the city’s cultural infrastructure.  We ask that all attendees bring an example of a cultural space, cultural activity, or public art intervention that they find particularly interesting or aspirational to the meeting. The meeting will be held on Wed, Nov 8, at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room at the Community and Susi Q Center, 380 Third Street. Refreshments will be provided. For information contact Siân Poeschl, Cultural Arts Manager (949) 497-0727 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

City Sewer System Video Inspection Project - Tunnelworks Service Inc. has been awarded the second-year contract of a five-year program to perform cleaning and video inspection of the City’s sanitary sewer system.  On Monday, Oct 30, Tunnelworks will begin work in North Laguna covering the area from Irvine Cove to Cliff Drive. The work will be ongoing until May 2018.  Project updates will be provided through www.clbwq.net or feel free to contact the City’s Water Quality Department with questions at (949) 497-0378.

Bluebird SOCWA Wet Well Lining Project - Pascal & Ludwig Constructors has been awarded the contract to install a temporary bypass system so that the Bluebird SOCWA lift station can be taken out of service for maintenance work. The bypass system will be set up at the end of Galen Drive.  Through traffic on Glenneyre Street will be modified to facilitate construction but will be kept open in both directions at all times.  Construction activities will commence on Monday, Oct 30.  Work hours will be 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Friday.  The project is not expected to exceed three months in duration.  The bypass system is comprised of electric pumps with critically silenced enclosures around them to reduce noise while the system runs continuously during the work inside the lift station.  Project updates will be provided through www.clbwq.net or feel free to contact the City’s Water Quality Department with questions at (949) 497-0378.

Main Beach Sea Rise Level Installation - The City invites the public to view the Main Beach Sea Level Rise installation on November 2-5.  The installation will be composed of three illustrated signs located on the grassy area near the Lifeguard Tower. The installation is intended to draw attention to potential impacts of sea level rise from global warming. The signs are illustrated by Laguna Beach High School art students. The installation coincides with the Laguna Art Museum’s annual Art & Nature festival and its theme of art’s engagement with the natural world.

Smart Gardening Series: Beautiful Bulbs - Join local Master Gardener,Mary Duffy on Sat, Nov 11, from 9 to 10 a.m. at the Community & Susi Q Center, 380 Third Street. Discover the beauty, ease and simple steps for successful gardening with bulbs. Learn about the types of bulbs, and how to plant them, including soil preparation and depth. For more information or to register call (949) 464-6645.

Mindfulness for Teens:  The Secret to a Happier, Healthier You - This series will expose young people, ages 11-15, to mindfulness practices to cultivate kindness, compassion and joy.  By focusing on the present and recognizing their emotions, mindfulness practices are helping young people manage their busy lives. The six-week series will be held Mondays, Oct 30 through December 4 from 4 to 5:30 p.m. at the Community & Susi Q Center. $45 per student, scholarships are available. Call (949) 464-6645 for more information or to register.

Holiday Cookie Contest - Residents are invited to participate in the City’s first annual holiday cookie recipe contest. Each participant is asked to submit their favorite family cookie recipe and the story behind it. Three finalists will be selected to bake a sample batch of their cookies for a tasting ceremony on November 13. The first place winner’s story and recipe will be published in the Winter 2018 Community Services brochure, to be mailed citywide. Entries must be submitted at the front desk of the Community and Susi Q Center by October 31. 

For more information, contact Adam Gufarotti, Senior Recreation Supervisor, at (949) 497-0304. Entry forms can be downloaded from the following City website link: http://bit.ly/2yvNtes.


City announces 10th Annual National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness month in November

The City of Laguna Beach is proud to announce the 10th Annual National Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Month in November. Proclaimed by the City Council and organized as a public service by the Housing and Human Services Committee, this month-long event brings awareness to the Laguna Beach community about people who are hungry and homeless in our community, our county, and our nation.

The purpose of Laguna Beach’s Hunger and Homelessness Awareness month is to enhance community awareness of the issue as well as the community organizations that assist with these concerns in Laguna Beach and Orange County.

The Housing & Human Services Committee encourages our community to participate in activities offered during the Laguna Beach Hunger and Homelessness Awareness Month. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lynette

Get Help from the Homeless program brought together homeless men and neighbors needing work done

L-R: Gary Madsen, Emanuel Wood, Gene Sottosanto (project manager and ecologist), Dave Finkle, Don Sciortino (visionary) and Wylie Harrison

During the entire month of November, there are five different ways to participate in this worthy cause:

The Laguna Food Pantry’s Annual Food Drive will take place from Nov 1-17, sponsored by the City of Laguna Beach and Waste Management for the eleventh year. The food drive benefits the Laguna Food Pantry, which provides free, fresh groceries to more than 300 local families in need each week. Located at 20652 Laguna Canyon Road north of the dog Park, the Pantry is open from 8- 10:30 a.m. Mon through Fri. 

Food collection sites include U.S. Bank at 310 Glenneyre Street near Forest Avenue, plus many of the city’s churches, public and parochial schools, and Anneliese schools. New volunteers are always welcome. Phone (949) 497-7121 www.lagunafoodpantry.org. 

Peanut butter and jelly, canned tuna, cereal, macaroni and cheese, pasta and pasta sauce, and rice and beans are the most needed products.

The Girl Scout Toiletry Drive will take place from Nov 1-18. Made possible by the Laguna Beach Girl Scouts and the Laguna Beach Community Clinic, the community can participate by donating unused toiletry items and socks which benefit our city’s Alternative Sleeping Location (ASL), which provides the homeless temporary nightly housing and other services year round. 

For a list of drop off locations, contact Missy Palino at (949) 322-0470 / This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. They are in constant need of the following items: new socks (adult sizes preferred), sample sized shampoo and conditioner, individually wrapped bars of soap, deodorant, toothbrushes and sample sized toothpaste, sunscreen, small bottles of lotion, lip balm, disposable razors, feminine products, small tissue packages, Bandaids, washcloths, and brushes/combs.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Lynette

These are the foods most needed by the Laguna Food Pantry

Volunteering Time at the Friendship Shelter/Guest Chef. The Friendship Shelter helps homeless adults achieve self- sufficiency and become more productive members of our community. Each night more than 160 homeless men and women sleep safely in one of its three programs; Residential Shelter, Emergency Shelter and Housing. 

This November, sign up to be a Guest Chef. Friendship Shelter’s generous volunteers prepare, cook and help serve hot, healthy meals for residents every night of the week. Guest Chefs of all ages are encouraged to volunteer their time and recipes, and make a positive difference in the lives of our residents. To volunteer, call (949) 494-6928 or email the office at friendshipshelter.org.

The Annual Laguna Beach Community Thanksgiving Potluck Dinner will take plcae on Nov 23 at noon. Join Friendship Shelter and the Neighborhood Congregational Church for Laguna Beach’s Annual Thanksgiving Community Potluck. An estimated 600 to 700 meals will be served buffet style, with food and supplies provided by individuals, churches and community groups. 

Donations of food - especially prepared and cooked turkeys – are needed and will be accepted beginning at 11 a.m. Thanksgiving Day at the church at 340 St. Ann’s Drive. The feast begins at noon. 

For more information, or to volunteer, contact Friendship Shelter Marketing Director, Kristin Points at (949) 494-6928 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. To donate turkey, contact Mary LaRusso at (949) 497-5641 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


City responds to surprise proposal for Aliso Creek mainstem ecosystem

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The Army Corps of Engineers recently surprised Laguna residents and officials with an unexpected release of a proposal for the Aliso Creek Mainstem Ecosystem Restoration project, along with supporting feasibility and environmental impact reports.  

Opponents have only until Nov 28 to review and comment on the Corps’ 2,000-page draft feasibility and environmental reports. They asked the council Tuesday night for help in rejecting the proposal, which bears a similarity to a Corps recommendation almost a decade ago that was shelved due to community opposition.

“The Laguna Beach Bluebelt Coalition met last night and we have many concerns about the Corps restoration project, also known as “SUPER Project of 2008,” said Mike Beanan, speaking on behalf of the coalition.

It was not a compliment.

Aliso Creek

“We need the city council’s support and resources to respond to the draft EIR and to work with the community to present a better alternative,” said Beanan.

The council responded by appropriating $40,000 to obtain expert analysis and support to develop comments on the project and directed the city’s Water Quality Improvement Plan sub-committee to work with staff, consultants and interested community members to develop written comments in accordance with the National Environmental Protection Act. 

“We need to know who our possible allies are and we also need to know the effects on the Aliso Creek Treatment Plant,” said Councilman Bob Whalen. “We also need to get up to speed on the politics of this.”

In a summary submitted by Water Quality Director David Shissler, the council was advised that it will take an extraordinary effort to develop comments on the vast amount of information released by the Corps with such short notice. 

“I am sure the corps intends to do the right thing,” said Shissler. “They are just going about it in the wrong way.”

City comments will be developed to make clear the strong community support for an analysis that reflects the unique environmental interests of Laguna as the tail end of the 19-plus mile mainstem, which collects seven major tributaries---and their pollution--- on its way to the ocean.

The new Corps proposal ends at the treatment plant, ignoring impacts on coastal resources where the creek ends at Aliso Beach, Beanen told the council. 

He recommends modernizing the treatment plant and upgrading sewage facilities to protect Laguna’s ocean water quality.  

“We are at the end of the pipe,” said Mayor Toni Iseman. “This is an opportunity to make it safer.”

Comments may be mailed to Eduardo T. De Mesa, Chief, Planning Division, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Los Angeles District, ATTN. Deborah Lang, 915 Wilshire Blvd, Suite 930, Los Angeles Ca, 90017. 

Lamb can be reached by phone at (213) 452-3789 or by email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Laguna Beach Beautification Council honors Keith Kesler and his war on graffiti on Thursday, June 21

After reading about Keith Kesler’s war on graffiti in last week’s edition, Laguna Beach Beautification Council President George Weiss decided Kesler should be recognized for his single-handed work in helping to keep Laguna graffiti free. In just 10 months, Kesler removed 1,000 tags and continues to be relentless in his quest to banish all graffiti from town.

On Thursday, June 21 at The Laguna Beach Beautification Council (LBBC) Awards, Kesler will be presented with the “Harry Lawrence Award” for his selfless work on graffiti removal throughout Laguna Beach. The event will be held at The Ranch at Laguna Beach.

Weiss says, “Laguna’s public art, elegant edifices, and imaginative seating areas for vista viewing have been under attack by anonymous taggers who deface these works with graffiti. Unknown to most Lagunatics, we had a stealth, anonymous super hero scrubbing away these disfigurements when they appeared, Keith Kesler.”

Laguna Beach fence

Click on photo for larger image

Photo by Dianne Russell

Keith Kesler ridding LB of graffiti, one tag at a time

“While he deserves a cape and more for his work ridding our town of this graffiti blight, LBBC can only provide ‘The Harry Lawrence Award’ in recognition of his work at our annual LBBC Awards event next week,” Weiss says.

Since 1967, the LBBC has been awarding residents and businesses Beautification Awards for their contributions in beautifying Laguna Beach. The Harry Lawrence Star of Excellence Award was conceived in 2013 as a way to honor the memory of Harry, and to acknowledge a resident or business that has shown exceptional passion for the beautification of Laguna Beach.

The LBBC Awards evening begins with an antipasto buffet at 5 p.m. (no host bar available), and the awards presentation starts at 6 p.m.

The cost for Friends of LBBC is $35 per person, which includes the buffet and one beverage, payable by cash or check on the day of the event. Make checks payable to Laguna Beach Beautification Council.

RSVP by June 16 to Ellen McKessar at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 510-3093.

The Ranch at Laguna Beach is located at 31106 Coast Hwy.

For more information on LBBC, go to www.lagunabeachbeautificationcouncil.com.


Council asked to approve nine Mills Act contracts

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Nine owners of Laguna Beach properties of high historical value have requested the Council to approve on Mills Act contracts on Tuesday.

The Mills Act allows local governments to offer incentives to owners of Laguna Beach properties with E- or K-ratings if they agree to certain restrictions in return for incentives, which may include reduced property taxes. Contracts are for 10 years, with the expectation that the tax savings will be used to maintain and/or rehabilitate the historic structures.

The Mills Act is the single most important economic incentive program in California for the preservation of historic buildings by private property owners, according to the state Office of Historic Preservation.

Applications for the contracts are reviewed by the city Heritage Committee. The committee makes recommendations to the council for approval of the contracts once a year.

To date, 67 contracts have been approved. 

The contracts cost the city in property tax revenue. It is estimated that “lost” property tax revenue for the 37 properties 2016 came to $193,000. Contracts for nine current applicants is estimated to cost the city up to $45,000 a year.

City staff is recommending approval of contracts with owners of properties at 1860 Carmelita St., 595 St. Anns Drive, 377 Mountain Road, 405 El Camino del Mar, 631 Virginia Park, 31706 Scenic Drive and 229 Arch St.

The agenda item is on the consent calendar, which will be approved without discussion unless pulled by a member of the council or the public.


City Manager’s Updates

Heroes with Heart Award - On Wednesday evening, Motor Officer Matt Gregg was honored by the Orange County Trauma Intervention Program at its annual “Heroes with Heart Awards Gala” at the Anaheim Hilton. This event recognizes police, sheriffs, firefighters and hospital personnel who have gone above the call of duty to provide compassionate support to citizens in crisis. Officer Gregg was nominated by a Trauma Intervention Program (TIP) volunteer who was impacted by his empathy, and support for a family, who were dealing with the loss of a loved one.

Free Health Insurance Counseling & Advocacy Program (HICAP) Medicare Open Enrollment Clinic - Specially trained HICAP counselors will provide you with health and drug comparison charts and conduct a cost analysis of your options at no cost to you. Appointments are available from 9:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m. on Friday, Nov 17, at the Laguna Beach Community & Susi Q Center, 380 Third Street. To make your 45-minute appointment or for more information call (949) 464-6645. 

Creative Placemaking Town Hall Meeting - The City of Laguna Beach will hold its first public town hall meeting to discuss the Creative Placemaking Assessment, exploring the city’s cultural infrastructure.  We ask that all attendees bring an example of a cultural space, cultural activity, or public art invention that they find particularly interesting or aspirational to the meeting. 

The meeting will be held on Wed, Nov 8, at 6:30 p.m. in the Community Room at the Community and Susi Q Center, 380 Third Street. Refreshments will be provided. For information contact Siân Poeschl, Cultural Arts Manager (949) 497-0727 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Laguna Arts Museum – Art & Nature Installation - As part of its Art & Nature festival, the Laguna Art Museum will unveil its temporary sculpture installation “Seascape” by artist Pablo Vargas Lugo. The sculpture will be located in the ocean 200 yards from the shoreline and will on exhibit for 14 days. 

If the public has any questions, contact Marinta Skupin, Curator of Education at (949) 494-8971 ext. 201. For more information visit www.lagunaartmuseum.org.


City Manager’s Updates

Children’s Holiday Palette Exhibition - The Arts Commission is currently accepting designs for the annual competition. Children ages 5 to 17 years old may submit an original design celebrating the holiday season. Up to 12 designs will be selected for display at City Hall throughout December. Designs must be submitted by 5 p.m. on Friday, Nov 17. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. Call Mike McGregor, Arts Program Coordinator at (949) 497-0722 x5 for information.

Emergency Storm Drain Repair on Coast Hwy near Aliso Beach Park on 11/15 - Emergency storm drain repairs will take place next Wednesday on the slope next to Coast Highway across from Aliso Beach Park. The City’s contractor will be replacing a large piece of storm drain pipe that was damaged in an auto accident. The work will require the closure of the northbound #2 lane of Coast Highway between 9 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. For additional information, contact Maintenance Supervisor, Wayne Chintala at (949) 464-6644.

Planning Commission review of  “Draft” Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance Update - The Laguna Beach Planning Commission will continue their review and discussion of potential revisions to the City’s Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance, which is Chapter 25.17 of the Laguna Beach Municipal Code. The Planning Commission meeting will be held on Wed, Nov 15, at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers (located at 505 Forest Avenue). Staff will provide a presentation to the Planning Commission regarding discussion points and proposed changes.  

The Planning Commission will consider a draft revised ordinance for recommendation to the City Council at a future noticed meeting. To view a copy of the staff report for this item, please refer to the City’s website: www.lagunabeachcity.net.

Free Lecture Event on Wildland Chaparral and Coastal Sage Scrub - The City invites the public to attend a free lecture series event at 6 p.m. on November 16, at the Laguna Beach Community Center, 380 Third Street. The event, entitled “Appreciating Our Coastal Sage Scrub,” will feature biologist Richard Halsey of the California Chaparral Institute, who will discuss the beauty and benefits of chaparral and living in a fire-prone environment. 

The event is the first in the City’s quarterly Environmental Lecture Series. For more information on this event or future lecture topics, please contact Environmental Specialist Michael Phillips at (949) 497-0390.

Restoration of Public Art - The Arts Commission continues its ongoing maintenance of its public art collection. Currently maintenance work is being undertaken on the “Waves” created by artist Larry Gill at the entrance of Forest Avenue. In addition, restoration work will be undertaken on the hanging gate at the intersection of Forest and Park. These projects are funded by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.

Juried Fine Art Exhibition – Winners Announced - Mayor Toni Iseman and Arts Commission Chair Michael Ervin recently announced the winners of the exhibition: 1st Place Michael Ward; 2nd Place James Loving; 3rd Place Noriho Uriu. Each was awarded $1,000, $500 and $250 respectively. Honorable mention was awarded to Patsee Ober and Andrew Cortez.

Fire Department Announcement - The Laguna Beach Fire Department is pleased to announce the recent graduation of Firefighter James Lin with Paramedic Class 78 from Saddleback College. James will be assigned to Paramedic Engine 4 (South Laguna) starting in January 2018.

Coast Royal Utility Undergrounding Improvements - Installation of underground conduits and facilities including pull boxes, concrete pads, and retaining walls by the City’s Contractor, Hot Line Construction, is now complete within the Coast Royal neighborhood along Monterey Street, Brooks Street, Pedro Street, Holly Street, Ceanothus Drive, Alta Loma Drive, and Ocean View Street. SDG&E will begin mobilizing their crews to install underground cables and equipment beginning on Nov 16. Due to the upcoming holidays, SDG&E will not work the week of Nov 20 and will begin work again on Nov 27.

Cress Street Sidewalk Extension Complete - Construction work to extend the sidewalk on Cress Street from Bluebird Park to Temple Terrace has been completed and the area is now open to the public. The additional sidewalk will greatly enhance pedestrian traffic circulation and connectivity that is generated from nearby park and school bus drop-offs.

Veterans Day Transit Services - Laguna Beach Transit services will operate on its regular service schedule for the Veterans Day Holiday.

Cookie Contest - Residents are invited to attend the tasting and judging ceremony for the Community Services Department’s first annual Holiday Cookie Contest. Three finalists have been selected to bake a sample batch for a taste-test on Nov 13 at 3:30 p.m. at the Community and Susi Q Center. Cookies, milk, and refreshments will be available to all who attend. 

The winner’s story and recipe will be published in the Winter 2018 Community Services brochure, to be mailed citywide. For more information, contact Adam Gufarotti, Senior Recreation Supervisor, at (949) 497-0304.


City Manager Updates

E-Waste and Paper Shredding Event this Saturday - Residents and businesses are invited to participate in the annual free E-Waste drop-off and Paper shredding event on Sat, Nov 18, from 8 a.m. to noon.  The event will be held at the City Maintenance Facilities, 1900 Laguna Canyon Road.  For more information, including a detailed list of acceptable E-Waste items, visit the City’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net/recycling or contact Liz Avila at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

City Receives a Public Works Project of the Year Award - The City has received the 2017 Project of the Year award from the Southern California Chapter of the American Public Works Association (APWA) for the Oak Street and Mountain Road Beach Access Improvements project. APWA’s Award Program was established to recognize public agencies for outstanding capital improvement projects and public works programs.

Thanksgiving Holiday Transit Services Schedule - On Thurs, Nov 23, no Transit Services (trolley and bus) will be operating.  We will be running a modified schedule on Friday, Nov 24.  For schedule information, please visit http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/transit_and_trolleys/citybus.htm. Also, for real time information, try the Trolley Tracker on the Visit Laguna app.

Holiday Street Sweeping Schedule - There will be no street sweeping performed on Thanksgiving Day, Thurs, Nov 23 and parking restrictions will not be enforced.  On Friday, Nov 24 only non-residential areas will be swept.  Residential street sweeping will not occur and parking restrictions will not be enforced. Street sweeping and parking enforcement will return to normal on Saturday, Nov 25.

Holiday Trash Collection Schedule - Residential and commercial trash collection will be delayed one day for customers normally serviced on Thursday and Friday because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

Glenneyre Street Closure - On Tues, Nov 28, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Laguna Beach Water District will close Glenneyre Street between Agate Street and Bluebird Canyon Road for construction of water facilities. Northbound traffic will be detoured to Agate Street to South Coast Highway to Bluebird Canyon Road. Southbound traffic will be detoured to Bluebird Canyon Drive to South Coast Highway to Pearl Street. For questions, please contact Lisa Dunbar of the Laguna Beach County Water District at (949) 464-3119.

City Hall Closed - City Hall will be closed on November 23 and 24 for the Thanksgiving Day holiday.


City Manager Updates

Use the Trolley Service for Small Business Saturday -The Laguna Beach Neighborhood and Coastal Trolleys are your transportation to shopping during Small Business Saturday, Nov 25 and all throughout the holiday season. The Neighborhood Trolley service operates on Saturday from 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m. and the Coastal Trolley from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.  For schedule information, see our website at www.lagunabeachcity.net/trolley

Moulton Meadows Field Maintenance and Closures - Moulton Meadows Field will be closed for annual maintenance and turf renovations from Nov 20 – Dec 8. Questions, please call Alexis Braun, Senior Recreation Supervisor at (949) 497-0762.

New City Hall Exhibition - Selected works from the Festival’s Permanent Collection will be exhibited at City Hall, 505 Forest Avenue, from Nov 28, 2017 to Jan 19, 2018. The exhibition is free to the public during normal City Hall business hours of Monday through Thursday 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and every other Friday from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m.

Cultural Arts Calendar - The newly published Cultural Arts Calendar is now available. See upcoming arts events from Dec 2017 through Feb 2018. To view the calendar online, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/ cityhall/art. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.

The Community and Susi Q Senior Center Closed - The Community and Susi Q Senior Center will be closed on Nov 23 through 25 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

 

REMINDERS:

Thanksgiving Holiday Transit Services Schedule - We will be running a modified schedule on Friday, Nov 24. Neighborhood Trolleys will be operating from 9:30 a.m. to 11 p.m., Neighborhood Bus Service from 6:30 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. and Coastal Services from 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. For schedule information, please visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/transit_and_trolleys/

citybus.htm. Also, for real time information, try the Trolley Tracker on the Visit Laguna app.

Holiday Street Sweeping Schedule - On Friday, Nov 23, street sweeping and parking enforcement will only occur in commercial areas. Street sweeping and parking enforcement will not occur in residential areas. Street sweeping and parking enforcement will return to normal on Saturday, Nov 25.

Holiday Trash Collection Schedule - Residential and commercial trash collection will be delayed one day for customers normally serviced on Thursday and Friday because of the Thanksgiving holiday.

City Hall Closed - City Hall will be closed on Nov 23 and 24 for the Thanksgiving holiday.

Hospitality Night 2017 - This year’s Hospitality Night event is scheduled for Friday, Dec 1 from 5 to 10:00 p.m. Instead of beginning in front of City Hall this year, the festivities begin in the Peppertree Parking Lot (located between Ocean Avenue and Forest Avenue, across from Second Street) where Santa Claus will arrive to greet holiday revelers before the tree lighting ceremony at 6:10 p.m. The City will be hosting arts and crafts and holiday card writing to U.S. military personnel overseas in the lot until 8 p.m. Street closures in the downtown area will begin at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. Portions of Forest Avenue, Ocean Avenue, Beach Street, and the Pepper Tree Parking Lot will be closed to vehicular traffic prior to and during the event. For more information, contact Adam Gufarotti, Senior Recreation Supervisor, at (949) 497-0304.


City to approve longer trial period & entertainment for Park Plaza

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The Park Plaza trial period will be extended to Dec. 31 and entertainment will be permitted in the temporary parklet between South Coast Highway and Laguna Avenue, as requested by Laguna Beach businessman Billy Fried.

Fried made the requests at the Nov. 14 City Council meeting on behalf of Transition Laguna, the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce, and the Beautification Council, three groups that organized the project. The required conditional use permit for entertainment is in the works, according to City Manager John Pietig.

“I anticipate approval of the CUP,” said Pietig, who has been supportive of the project. “I also plan to approve the extension of the trial period through December.”

Musical entertainment and other cultural events will be limited to five Saturdays, starting on Dec. 2, Fried said.

The extension will cost the city $25,000 in addition to the $50,000 budgeted for the project, according to the original agreement.

Fried also announced at the Nov. 14 meeting, committee plans to improve landscaping and furniture.

Organizers selected the furniture and plants. The city supplies containers for trash and recyclables.

City officials in September agreed to temporarily ban vehicles from Lower Park Avenue, a link from South Coast Highway to Laguna Avenue and Glenneyre Street for a six weeks trial period.

Organizers convinced the council that the plaza was worth a try, but not everyone agreed.

“This is a solution looking for a problem,” said Susan Elliott. “I drive home that way. It’s better than turning at Cliff (Drive). And soccer moms won’t sit there – there will be too many tourists.”

Realtor and former Planning Commissioner Bob Chapman said blocking vehicles on South Coast Highway from turning onto Lower Park Avenue presented challenges. 

“We should look at the plaza as potentially permanent – or why do it at all?” said Chapman.

However, Police Chief Laura Farinella supported the parklet concept. 

“I consider the proposal a positive,” she said.

Farinella also supported Fried’s recent proposal to extend closing time at the Plaza to 2:30 a.m. to accommodate businesses that stay open until 2 a.m., Pietig said.

The extended trial period and improvements will be funded by a $10,000 donation by an anonymous resident, Fried announced.


Council adds 3rd meeting to December calendar

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council will meet Saturday, Dec. 16, in addition to regularly scheduled meetings on Dec. 5 and 12. 

A workshop on the contentious Historic Preservation Ordinance amendments will be held from 9 a.m. to noon on the third Saturday in December – far from the first workshop on the proposed amendments to the ordinance and possibly not the last hearing.

The city has been fiddling with the ordinance at least since 2013. It has been reviewed, revised and reviled at hearings before the Heritage Committee, the Design Review Board, and most recently by Planning Commission, which alone held six hearings.

Nobody appears to like the version the commission recommended for approval by the council at a really ugly meeting in October. 

Village Laguna and the South Laguna Civic Association oppose lowering the standing of C-rated homes to no rating as a historical resource, per the California Environmental Act, also the position of the city Heritage Committee.

Let Laguna Live! organized a successful clamor for C-rated homes to be excluded from any constraints when owners propose alterations. But C-rated structure owners still object to the Planning Commission’s decision that any home 70 years or older should be reviewed when remodels are proposed, even if not on any list as a historical structure.

C-rated homes are described as those that contribute to neighborhood character. Properties rated E, the top rank, and K are valued for characteristics of a time period, region, construction method, or represent work of an important creative individual, or one has lived in the home.

Owners E and K rated structures are eligible for the city’s Historic Register and perks such as reduced parking requirements and waived building and permit fees.

Oh, and by the way, the long-time ratings of E, K and C were changed by the commission to a numerical identification: 1 through 5.

Regular meetings

The agenda for the council’s Dec. 5 meeting will begin with a joint meeting with the Planning Commission. One topic to be discussed: the Village Entrance: one of the few city projects that has generated even more review than the Historic Preservation Ordinance.

An Appropriation for the Village Entrance is also set for the agenda.

The last scheduled council meeting for 2017 will be held on Dec. 12. A conditional use permit for the Coast Inn and outdoor displays are on the proposed agenda.


City will review Downtown Specific Plan Update during Planning Commission meeting this Wednesday, June 6

The City will continue its efforts on the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) Update this Wednesday, June 6, during the Planning Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall. 

The Planning Commission will review and discuss public correspondence and issue areas related to Section V: Land Use Districts of the existing DSP document. Topics covered will include: the intent and purpose of land use districts, permitted land uses/required entitlements, permit processes, findings and special findings for certain uses, allowable changes in permitted use category per City Council resolution, and definitions. 

For more information on the Downtown Specific Plan Update project, please contact Wendy Jung, Senior Planner at (949) 497-0321 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Council to test community support for funding citywide undergrounding

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The council will consider on Tuesday spending roughly $242,000 for consultants to determine the level of community support for citywide undergrounding and the development of a general obligation bond for the 2018 election to fund the project.

Proposed contracts with consultants include an agreement not to exceed $123,700 with TBWB Strategies and Fairbank, Maslin, Maulin, Metz and Associates (FM3) to develop and implement a survey on a bond measure and report back to the council, and an agreement not to exceed $97,500 with David Taussig Associates for special tax consulting services. Approval of $20,800 for project expenses due to unforeseen circumstances is also recommended.  

Appropriation from Street Lighting Fund to pay for consulting 

A $242,000 appropriation from the Street Lighting Fund to pay for consulting services is proposed to pay for the consultants.

Efforts have been underway since late October to determine options for funding the undergrounding of utilities along major evacuation routes and in neighborhoods still served by overhead utilities.

Those efforts, according to a staff report, have resulted in recommendations to find out how the community feels about the creation of a general obligation bond and a Community Facilities District to fund undergrounding. 

A general obligation bond would be used get rid of overhead utilities that could cause a hazard along evacuation routes. Property owners citywide would be billed. The district would be used to fund undergrounding in neighborhoods still serviced by overhead utilities and would be paid for by those neighborhoods. 

Both require a vote of the people.

Stu News loves to hear readers’ opinions on the issues of the day. Letters to the Editor should be addressed to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for possible publication in our Letters section.


City Manager’s Update

Use Laguna Beach Transit for Hospitality Night, tonight - Forget about traffic and take the free and convenient Neighborhood Trolley to downtown for Hospitality Night. The trolleys run until 11 p.m. on Fridays so you will have plenty of time to enjoy the festivities. For those in the North and South Laguna areas, just walk to Coast Highway for our Coastal Route service to downtown.  

For detailed schedule information, see our website at www.lagunabeachcity.net/trolley, or for real time arrival information download our Trolley Tracker app on your smart phone. 

World AIDS Day Ribbons - Since 2005, the Arts Commission have annually recognized World AIDS Day on Dec 1 by installing black and red ribbons on public art installations. This year the ribbons will be installed on four sculptures in the downtown area. 

Public Works Deploys New Portable Irrigation Unit for Trees  - The Public Works Department has purchased a portable 200 gallon spray tank and pump for irrigating street trees. The primary use will be for watering young trees, for providing watering to trees that are experiencing drought stress, and to fill tree watering bags that provide slow deep irrigation to trees.  

Camel Point Beach Access Dead Trees Removal - On Sat, Dec 2, Orange County Parks is scheduled to remove two dead eucalyptus trees at the Camel Point Beach Access. The tree removal work will require the closure of the southbound outside travel lane of South Coast Highway of approximately 1000 ft. starting at Camel Point Drive, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. One southbound lane will be maintained for travel and northbound lanes will not be affected during this period. Questions and concerns can be directed to Kris Burbidge, Project Manager, with West Coast Arborist at (714) 920-0567.

Cultural Arts Funding - The City of Laguna Beach is currently accepting grant applications from non-profit organizations for cultural programming based in Laguna Beach. The deadline to submit an application is Feb 5, 2018. Applications must be submitted on-line at www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com

2017 Children’s Holiday Palette Exhibitors - The Arts Commission reviewed 188 palette designs from children ages 5 – 14, the following artists were selected for display at City Hall through December: Addyson Mackay, Lexi Breault, Lauren Trautenberg, Tessa Anderson, Allie Borgerding, Reagan Hannus, Paige Laws, Audrey Calef, Ace Halpern, Mia Gwin, Emma Chi-Sing, Taylor Brook Jones. The selected designs can also be viewed at www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art.

Winter Quarter 2018 Registration Activities - Registration is now available for all Winter 2018 recreation activities for all ages. To register and see the list of programs available please visit: https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/catalog/index.

Moulton Meadows Field Maintenance and Closures - Moulton Meadows Field is currently closed for annual maintenance and turf renovations until Dec 8. Questions, please call Alexis Braun, Senior Recreation Supervisor at (949) 497-0762.


Council plans to test community support for funding citywide undergrounding

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The council will consider on Tuesday spending roughly $242,000 for consultants to determine the level of community support for citywide undergrounding and the development of a general obligation bond for the 2018 election to fund the project.

Proposed contracts with consultants include an agreement not to exceed $123,700 with TBWB Strategies and Fairbank, Maslin, Maulin, Metz and Associates (FM3) to develop and implement a survey on a bond measure and report back to the council, and an agreement not to exceed $97,500 with David Taussig Associates for special tax consulting services. Approval of $20,800 for project expenses due to unforeseen circumstances is also recommended.  

Appropriation from Street Lighting Fund to pay for consulting 

A $242,000 appropriation from the Street Lighting Fund to pay for consulting services is proposed to pay for the consultants.

Efforts have been underway since late October to determine options for funding the undergrounding of utilities along major evacuation routes and in neighborhoods still served by overhead utilities.

Those efforts, according to a staff report, have resulted in recommendations to find out how the community feels about the creation of a general obligation bond and a Community Facilities District to fund undergrounding. 

A general obligation bond would be used get rid of overhead utilities that could cause a hazard along evacuation routes. Property owners citywide would be billed. The district would be used to fund undergrounding in neighborhoods still serviced by overhead utilities and would be paid for by those neighborhoods. 

Both require a vote of the people.

Also, City Manager will seek council participation in Coastal Commission hearing

The California Coastal Commission has finally set a date to hear the city’s request for certification of an ordinance amendment regulating short-term lodging in Laguna.

City Manager John Pietig is seeking council participation in the Dec. 16 hearing.

The commission has indicated an interest in hearing from elected officials whenever new regulations are proposed, according to Pietig. He considers it important for commissioners to hear council members speak on public policy and land use issues related to short-term lodging, the regulations adopted by the city and the reasons for the adoption. 

Amendments to the municipal code, which is part of the city’s certified local coastal program, must be approved by the coastal commission. The city requested certification on Sept. 27, 2016.

The city council had adopted in August amendments to the existing ordinance that prohibited short-term rentals in residential neighborhoods. Limiting the rentals to commercial areas was the most controversial change. 

Short-term lodging remains a contentious issue

Short-term lodging was, and still is with some folks, a contentious issue in Laguna Beach. 

First regulated by ordinance in Laguna Beach in 1999, short-term rentals were permitted in some residential neighborhoods. By 2015, an estimated 36 short-term permits for 81 properties were in effect. Opponents claimed many other unpermitted units, including rooms in private homes, were being rented for stays under 30 days, the definition of short term rentals. 

Beginning in May of 2015, the City Council alone held eight public meetings over the next year and a half on proposed changes to regulations governing short-term rentals. The Planning Commission and a council sub-committee headed by Councilmen Steven Dicterow and Robert Whalen also held meetings.

If the council concurs with Pietig’s opinion that it is vital for its members to appear on behalf of the city at the commission hearing, a vote is required. 

The item is included on the Consent Calendar, which is approved without discussion unless “pulled” by a member of the council or the public.


Council to gauge community commitment to undergrounding: two distinct measures are proposed

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council on Tuesday voted to pay consultants almost $250,000 to determine community support for undergrounding overhead utility lines and prepare ballot measures to support funding.

Council members unanimously approved the expenditure to test public acceptance of either of two measures proposed for the 2018 ballot: one to fund undergrounding along evacuation routes by a general obligation bond, and the second to form a special district to pay for undergrounding all neighborhoods still served by overhead utilities.

Both require a vote of the people. 

With pictures on overhead screens to remind them of the devastation of the 1993 fire in Laguna and the more recent Santa Rosa fire, the majority of speakers from the audience at Tuesday’s meeting supported undergrounding.  

“There is lot of talk about the Village entrance…but it won’t matter if there is no village to enter”

“We are at higher risk than Santa Rosa or the fires now burning near Los Angeles,” said Matt Lawson, chair of the city’s Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Committee.  “There is a lot of talk about the Village Entrance, but it won’t matter if there is no village to enter.” 

Councilman Bob Whalen, an early advocate of a bond to rid the city of overhead utility poles along major evacuation routes, reiterated his position. 

“I feel strongly that we have to go to the voters and ask for support for a city-wide measure to fund evacuation routes,” said Whalen. 

He rejected the possibility voiced by former City Council candidate Judie Mancuso and resident Robert E. Elster that the proposed survey of residents would be spun to get the response the council wanted. 

“Spinning gets the exact opposite of what you want, which is to find out what the community wants,” Whalen said.  

Mancuso also disagreed that overhead utilities are solely responsible for fires. 

She cited cigarettes and campfires as causes for fires. Resident Bob E. Elster said earthquakes could result in fallen poles that might not start fires, but could delay evacuation and access by first responders. 

LagunaBeachCHAT founder Michael Morris predicted a torrent of opposition to the bond.  “Everyone needs to get behind undergrounding evacuation routes, but a bond is unconscionable when the council refuses to tighten its belt,” he said. “This project can be funded out of existing funds on a pay-as-you-go basis.”

Clarifying who will pay for what: a key goal of survey

Consultants will survey at least 500 community members, but the number may be increased as recommended by members of the audience, who mostly supported the proposal to hire experts to guide the council through the process from polling to preparing ballot measures. 

Part of the process is to reassure property owners who have already paid to underground their neighborhoods that they won’t be charged to underground other neighborhoods. That is the purpose of seeking public support for a Community Facilities District. 

All property owners would share the costs to underground the evacuation routes, determined by council to be a public benefit. 

“The bond requires a two-thirds vote; that is a high bar,” said Whalen. “I think there will be support for the evacuation routes. As for the neighborhoods, we’ll see.”

Titles and seats switched on the dais

Mayor Toni Iseman relinquished the gavel and the center chair on the dais to Kelly Boyd, who was unanimously elected mayor for what he has said will be his last year on the council.  

Councilman Rob Zur Schmiede moved into the chair to Boyd’s right hand, elected mayor pro tem. Zur Schmiede will be up for re-election in 2018.


The City presents public input on Downtown Specific Plan at Planning Commission meeting on Wed Dec 13

The City of Laguna Beach will continue their efforts on the Downtown Specific Plan Update on Wed, Dec 13, during the Planning Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall, located at 505 Forest Avenue.  

City staff will present the public input received to date regarding Downtown Specific Plan Section III, Topic 11 – Central Bluffs, for further consideration and discussion by the Planning Commission.  

Additional meetings will occur in 2018 to review draft amendments to other sections of the plan. This meeting and future meetings play an essential role in obtaining input from the community and direction from the Planning Commission, and to identify the City’s priorities for the future of the Downtown.

For more information on the Downtown Specific Plan Update contact

Wendy Jung, Senior Planner, at (949) 497-0321.


City Manager’s Update

Modified Trolley Service on Coast Highway - Starting Fri, Dec 8, the weekend Coastal Trolley will have more stops. All coastal trolleys will service transit stops along Coast Highway, although only select trolleys, as noted on the trolley, will proceed to the Ritz Carlton. This should simplify the services for riders. 

Catalina Street Roundabout - The City of Laguna Beach will be hosting a public workshop to gather public input on the landscaping design of a converting the temporary roundabout to permanent at the intersection of Catalina Street, El Camino del Mar, and Los Robles. The workshop will be held in the Community Room of the Community and Susi Q Center on Dec 14 at 6 p.m. Questions can be directed to Tom Sandefur, P.E., at 949-497-0792 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Laguna Beach Firefighters Respond to Ventura County & Prepare at Home - The City has two of our fire engines on the Thomas Fire in Ventura County. Division Chiefs Weinert and Valdez are also assigned to the fire. On the home front, we have up-staffed all of our engines and staffed Squad 2 as a paramedic unit. Today, the region is expected to experience an especially bad Santa Ana wind event. The CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) volunteers have been staffing a fire watch and information station at Alta Laguna Park. The Police Department has posted Beach Patrol Officers at the park at night to continue the fire watch. 

The Fire Safe Council has posted red flags for the Red Flag Warning throughout Laguna Canyon and they are also doing fire patrols.  As with the last Red Flag Warning, parking restrictions have been implemented for the Diamond/Crestview neighborhoods.

Special thanks to Emergency Operations Specialist Jordan Villwock, Civilian Services/Administrator Jim Beres and Police Chief Laura Farinella for their support!

City Council to review proposed revisions to the Historic Preservation Ordinance - The Laguna Beach City Council will receive an introduction to the “Draft” Historic Preservation Ordinance on Sat, Dec 16, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the City Council Chambers located at 505 Forest Ave. Staff will provide a presentation regarding the Ordinance and will be present to answer questions from the Council. Public comment will be held at the end of the meeting. 

Spark of Love Toy Drive - The Laguna Beach Fire Department is proud to again participate in the annual “Spark of Love” toy drive. This event is currently under way and goes through Sun, Dec 24.  All four of the City’s fire stations will be accepting new, unwrapped toys and sports equipment for disadvantaged children in our County.  The City’s fire stations are located at 501 Forest Avenue, 285 Agate Street, 2900 Alta Laguna Blvd., and 31646 2nd Ave.  For questions, please contact Fire Administration at (949) 497-0700.

Riddle Field Maintenance and Closures - Riddle Field is currently closed for annual maintenance and turf renovations until Jan 29. Questions, please call Alexis Braun, Senior Recreation Supervisor at (949) 497-0762.

Winter Quarter 2018 Registration Activities - Registration is now available for all Winter 2018 recreation activities for all ages.  To register and see the list of programs available please visit: https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/catalog/index.


City’s proposed draft plan for replanting of trees to be reviewed at public workshop this Friday

There will be a public workshop to review the City’s proposed draft plan for replanting of trees in the downtown area and on portions of Coast Highway. The workshop will be held this Friday, June 29 from 1:30 to 4 p.m. in the community room of the Laguna Beach Community & Susi Q Center.

Citys proposal downtown trees

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Replanting of trees workshop is this Friday, June 29

Public Works staff have developed a replanting plan which will be presented at the workshop.

Subsequent to the workshop, the planting plan will be presented to the Planning Commission on July 18 and to City Council on August 7.

Susi Q Center is located at 380 Third St.

For more information, go to www.lagunabeachcity.net.


City Council will review the Draft Historic Preservation Ordinance on Sat Dec 16 from 9 a.m. – 12 

The Laguna Beach City Council will receive an introduction to the “Draft” Historic Preservation Ordinance on Sat, Dec 16, from 9 a.m.- 12 p.m. in the City Council Chambers located at 505 Forest Avenue. Staff will provide an introductory presentation regarding the Ordinance and will be present to answer questions from the Council. The City Attorney will also be present. Public comment will be held at the end of the meeting.

Since Sep of 2015, through a series of community workshops, the City of Laguna Beach has been in the process of drafting an update to the City’s current Historic Preservation Ordinance. On Oct 18, the Planning Commission recommended the City Council adopt the “Draft” Ordinance with modifications.

City Council meetings are open to the public. They are also broadcast on the government channel, streamed on the City’s website, and archived on the City’s website for future viewing. To view the staff report for this item and the revised “Draft” Ordinance, refer to the City’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net. These documents will be available by Fri, Dec 8.


Commission approves council’s Village Entrance plan—with caveats

By BARBARA DIAMOND

If the City Council expects the Planning Commission simply to rubber-stamp the Village Entrance project and budget approved by the council on Dec 5, it will be disappointed.

The commission approved on Wednesday, as recommended by city staff, a conditional use permit, design review and coastal development permit, without which the project could not move forward. 

“We had a mandate from the council to move the project along,” said Commissioner Anne Johnson. “We were mindful that if the project didn’t get started next September, it would have to be put off for a year.”

Subcommittee created

However, the Commission expressed concerns about several aspects of the proposal and voted to create a sub-committee to work with staff and the project design team to ensure that commission recommendations do not get lost in the translation. 

“This is a big project and the planning commission should feel good about what we recommend,” said Commissioner Sue Kempf.

Commission Chair Susan McLintock Whitin and Commissioner Roger McErlane were appointed to the sub-committee. 

Whitin is on record as critical of the look and feel of the proposal, which she said connects to neither a Laguna Canyon nor a Civic Arts District identity. 

“It doesn’t feel rustic to me and it doesn’t feel artistic,” said Whitin. 

Commissioner Ken Sadler weighed in on the use of corrugated metal as a design element, a nod to the old metal buildings previously on the site and ready to fall down, he said.

“Rusty and rustic are not the same thing,” said Kempf. 

Both commissioners were referring to rusted corrugated panels proposed as facing for a retaining wall. 

Proposed lighting also found no favor with Sadler. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Close-up of Digester building within the proposed Village Entrance project

Plans call for 60 poles to meet legal requirements. Project Manager Wade Brown informed the commission that the proposed lighting is the minimum required for safety. He said putting in bollards, as had been suggested, would make the park look like an airport runway and would adversely affect the budget. 

Public Works Director Shohreh Dupuis said three times as many bollards would be needed to cast the same light as the poles and be more costly. 

The proposed tree palette of only sycamores and oaks was also a sore subject. All the commission members, landscape architect Ann Christoph and tree activist Ruben Flores encouraged diversifying the proposal.

“One side of the street is evergreen,” said McErlane, referring to the Festival of Arts landscape, “the ‘parking lot’ is deciduous. Add some evergreens.”

Few people supported the use of a chain link fence along the channelized Laguna Canyon Creek.

“There should be some other option to hide it a little better,” said Sattler.

Options for the old sewer digester building also were discussed, ranging from refurbishing only the exterior paint to finally cleaning out the interior and installing restrooms inside.

“The ($8.4m) project budget does not support any renovation beyond patching and painting,” said Wade. 

He suggested that the Planning Commission may recommend that the council consider a future capital improvement project be developed and put into the city’s 10-year plan. 

Former Planning Commissioner Barbara Metzger was appalled that complete restoration of the building would be put off to an uncertain future date as suggested by Wade.

Some consternation was expressed that the item on agenda did not identify the project as the Village Entrance, describing it only public and private parking areas to be enhanced by landscaping, new paths, center median improvements; changes in the ingress and egress to the site, circulation and parking locations; new ancillary structures and a new bridge.


City Manager’s Update

City Council to review proposed revisions to the Historic Preservation Ordinance - The Laguna Beach City Council will receive an introduction to the “Draft” Historic Preservation Ordinance on Sat, Dec 16, 2017, from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. in the City Council Chambers located at 505 Forest Ave. Staff will provide a presentation regarding the Ordinance and will be present to answer questions from the City Council. Public comment will be held at the end of the meeting. 

Laguna Beach Firefighters Still On The Thomas Fire - We still have two engines assigned to the Thomas Fire in Ventura/Santa Barbara Counties. They are currently doing structure defense on the east side of the City of Carpentaria. We anticipate that we will have personnel committed past Christmas unless there is a significant change in weather conditions.

Field Maintenance and Closures - Riddle Field is currently closed until Jan 29 and Alta Laguna Field will close from Dec 18 – Jan 8, for annual maintenance and turf renovations. Questions, please call Alexis Braun, Senior Recreation Supervisor at (949) 497-0762.

Cross Country Championships - Laguna Beach athletes, led by Coach Fred Pichay, competed at the Southern California Municipal Athletic Federation (SCMAF) Cross Country Championships this past Sunday at Legg Lake in Whitter Narrows Park. All the athletes medaled in their age group. Questions, please call Alexis Braun, Senior Recreation Supervisor at (949) 497-0762.

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

(L-R) Megan Keary, Cooper Buckhorn, Maesen Silva, Luke Anderton, Kate Salinas, Christopher Drews, Coach Fred Pichay

Laguna Beach High School and Community Tennis Courts - The tennis courts are currently closed for routine resurfacing and will re-open on Friday, Dec 22, 2017. Questions, please call Alexis Braun, Senior Recreation Supervisor at (949) 497-0762.

SCE Pole Replacement by Helicopter - Southern California Edison (SCE) will be using a helicopter to replace a pole in the open space between Top of the World and Arch Beach Heights; shown as the yellow circle on the attached map.  

The work is scheduled for 9 a.m. on Dec 20.  The pole is located within the County Park and SCE has obtained permission from the County for the work. SCE will be doing preparatory work in the area on Dec 19.

Holiday Trash Collection and Tree Recycling - For the weeks of Dec 25 and Jan 1, residential and commercial trash collection will be delayed by one day. Waste Management will collect and recycle holiday trees on the regular collection days at no charge starting on Tues, Dec 26, through Tuesday, Jan 16.  Please visit the city’s website www.lagunabeachcity.net/recycling for more information. 

Community and Susi Q Center Closed - The Community & Susi Q Center will be closed Sat, Dec 23 through Sun, Jan 7 for annual building maintenance. No classes or programs will be held during this time.  

However, Community Services staff will be available December 26-28 and January 2-4, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.; Dec 29 and Jan 6, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Community Center to assist with class registrations, wedding permits, professional photo permits, etc.

Spark of Love Toy Drive - The Laguna Beach Fire Department is proud to again participate in the annual “Spark of Love” toy drive. This event is currently under way and goes through Sunday, Dec 24.  All four of the City’s fire stations will be accepting new, unwrapped toys and sports equipment for disadvantaged children in our County.  The City’s fire stations are located at 501 Forest Ave, 285 Agate Street, 2900 Alta Laguna Blvd., and 31646 Second Ave.  For questions, please contact Fire Administration at (949) 497-0700.


City Manager’s Update

Laguna Canyon Road Improvements – On June 27, from 5 to 7p.m., Caltrans will be conducting a public hearing at the Laguna Beach High School Library to present environment impact findings and their proposal to adopt a Mitigated Negative Declaration for the Laguna Canyon Road Improvements project. The project proposes to provide Class II bike lanes on the shoulder of the road, implement drainage improvements, underground overhead utilities between El Toro Rd and State Route 73, and implement traffic safety improvements on Laguna Canyon Rd from 1,700 feet south of El Toro Rd to 1,200 feet north of El Toro Rd. The hearing will provide the public an opportunity to comment and to discuss certain design features of the proposed project with Caltrans staff. If you have any questions, contact Van Nguyen, Caltrans Public Information Office at (657) 328-6363 or e-mail at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. Click here to view the Caltrans notice.

SCE Pole Replacement by Helicopter – On June 25, 26, and 28, Southern California Edison (SCE) will perform helicopter operations to replace two poles located in the canyon between Canyon Acres Dr and Alta Laguna Park. SCE will use a helicopter to transport crews to prepare the site on Monday, June 25 and Tuesday, June 26. On Thursday, June 28, the helicopter will be used to place the new poles. The landing zone and staging area for the helicopter will be located at the trailhead north of Alta Laguna Park. The trails in the vicinity of the staging area will be temporarily closed while the helicopter is operating in the staging area for no more than 10 to 30-minute intervals. Hours of operations will vary each day. Signs will be posted and flag persons will alert the public of the temporary closures. For questions or concerns, please contact JC Holt, Construction Coordinator with Pro Energy Services, Inc. at (909) 781-3973.

 July 4 Laguna Beach Transit Hours – On July 4, the trolleys will be operating special service hours. The Coastal routes will run from 9:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. and the Canyon route will run from 8:30 a.m. to 7 p.m. There will be no transit service in the North and South Laguna neighborhoods, along with the Top of the World, Bluebird Canyon and Arch Beach Heights neighborhoods. For more information, please contact the Transit office at (949) 497-0766.

Two New Laguna Beach Police Officers Graduate Academy – On Friday, June 22, Officer Elizabeth Gutierrez and Officer Chelsea Martin will graduate from the Golden West Criminal Justice Training Center, Academy Class #157. Officer Gutierrez comes from a family of law enforcement officers and was previously both a Police Aid and Police Cadet with the Laguna Beach Police Department. Officer Martin is a graduate of Long Beach State University, where she played field hockey and was the team captain. We welcome them to our police and city family!

 Creative Placemaking Assessment – On Monday, June 25, the Arts Commission will review and discuss the final draft report of the Creative Placemaking Assessment submitted by AEA Consulting. The meeting will be held at 5:30 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. This project was funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. The report can be reviewed at: www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art/default.htm

 The Word on the Street – On June 30, new temporary sculptures, titled “Word on the Street,” by Scott Froschauer, will be installed throughout Heisler Park. The public is invited to attend the public art dedication and artist reception on Sunday, July 1 at the corner of Cliff Dr and Jasmine St at 5 p.m. This project is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

 Art-Inspired Writing Contest – Laguna Beach Literary Laureate Suzanne Redfearn invites local poets and authors to respond in verse or prose to Jeff Rovner’s photograph Kalaywa Monastery, Yangon, currently on display at City Hall. Two selected winners will each receive $250. The deadline for entry is Friday, July 27. For more information visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art.


Council agrees that taskforce is necessary to address complex Historic Preservation Ordinance issues

By LYNETTE BRASFIELD

In Barbara Diamond’s absence, given her well-deserved vacation, I attended the Saturday morning City Council workshop during which staff briefed council members on the new Draft Historic Preservation Ordinance. 

The Draft Ordinance was formulated and recommended after approximately 22 public and Planning Commission/Heritage Committee meetings as well as months of research on the question of which structures should be regarded as historical.

For those in the room who fully understood the complex interactions between and among 1997 CEQA rules, the 1981 HRE, the 1989 HPO, and the HRC update, Secretary of the Interior criteria, California Historic Resource Status Codes, the Mills Act, and our Design Review Board, Heritage Committee, Planning Commission, and current Historic Inventory ratings (C, K and E) in determining what structures are of historic importance, I’m sure it was a very enlightening three hours.

And the work that the city staff had put into the presentation was impressive – it’s an incredibly complex issue with many components, legal and otherwise.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Legion Hall’s historicity is not in doubt – but it’s not usually that easy…

Unfortunately, despite the staff’s fine efforts, I’m still confused (I’m no Barbara, of course). However, I gather that I’m not alone in my confusion: many fellow Lagunans are also unclear on the basics of what is being proposed…and remained unclear after the workshop.

Confusion and misinformation abounds

Essentially, most residents want to know the basics: a) whether their house is on the Historic Inventory or not; b) if it is, why, and what that listing might cost them financially, should they wish to remodel (and on the other hand, what benefits this status might bring); c) whether it is it possible to remove their home from the listing (very important); d) what changes are currently being proposed, why, and how the changes might affect them both negatively and positively and e) how Laguna’s character might change were there no such ordinance.

And they don’t want uncertainty about the status of their homes now or, importantly, in the future, as structures as well as Lagunans themselves all grow older and become more…historical.

Council member Bob Whalen summarized the questions that the City Council still needed to have definitively and simply answered as follows: “What policies are now in place? What changes are recommended? And what are we required to do legally?”

By the end of the workshop, the City Council, faced by the complexity of the issues, came to a unanimous decision: to appoint a taskforce to review the matter and make recommendations.

Key issue: Voluntary vs mandatory inclusion on list

A key issue, raised by many residents during the public comment period, was whether being included on the Historic Inventory should be voluntary or mandatory. 

“Today, being a historic resource is not voluntary [if you were placed on the 1981 inventory],” Community Development Director Pfost explained in a follow-up email. 

In other words, your property will still be historical – but with new staff recommendations, the implications of that status may change.

At the workshop, Pfost noted that staff is recommending an appeals process, which has not been in place up to now.

Mayor Kelly Boyd noted that inclusion was determined in 1981 based largely on street views, not a full evaluation of each property, and made by residents who did not necessarily have the professional qualifications needed to make those decisions.

Questions about the list being mandatory or voluntary included: If mandatory, should the city be required to assist owners with the extreme financial burdens often encountered in trying to conform roofs, say, and windows, to their historical forms, one resident asked?

If voluntary, would property owners inevitably make changes that would alter the character of Laguna and potential damage property values? Would the Design Review Board be sufficient to safeguard Laguna’s visual character?

Property rights and values a concern

Residents expressed a variety of concerns, including property rights and property values. ”Why have others the right to decide what to do with my property?” one resident asked. “Who will have authority to make these decisions?”

Becky Jones recommended that a citywide inventory be done to identify which structures are historical and which aren’t. Barbara Metzger noted that residents should be made fully aware of the promises they need to make in order to get the incentives for listing their properties on the Historic Register.

Others warned that changing the Register to be a voluntary listing would endanger the ability of the City to protect Laguna’s neighborhood character.

Bob Chapman, realtor and former Planning Commission member, made his point succinctly, “[Let’s start with] the visual outcome we want to have, set up Historic Preservation Guidelines. We don’t have that now.”

Certainty and transparency is needed: that seemed to be the consensus. 

What seemed clear also is this: staff is recommending an appeals process; the appointment of a historic preservation planner; the development of a Historical Style Guide; and that C properties be reevaluated as 6Ls based on CEQA criteria.

I think. But don’t quote me.

All agree on setting up a taskforce

At the end of the public comment session, Steve Dicterow suggested a taskforce be set up. “I think we are actually at the beginning of this process,” he said. “Maybe we made a mistake, went about this the wrong way around. We need to fully understand the laws, get a clarification of state mandates and what discretion we do and don’t have.

“I will not vote on this ordinance until I have a better understanding. We need give-and-take on this. It’s working well for the View Restoration taskforce right now.”

Mayor Pro Tem Rob Zur Schmiede agreed that a taskforce would be the best way to go. “There’s a lot of misinformation out there,” he noted. “Today the issue has been made a lot clearer, thanks to staff working nonstop.”

Toni Iseman mentioned that many people aren’t aware of the benefits of being listed on the Historic Inventory. “But we have to fix things, take a look at all the details so we can address the issues.”

Iseman agreed that putting together a taskforce would be the best way to proceed, as did Bob Whalen. 

“This was a good discussion, it’s a complex and confusing issue,” Whalen said. “We need simplification, clarity. Let’s set up a taskforce, yes, with an [appropriate] time limit and [give it clearly] articulated guidelines.”

Mayor Kelly Boyd wrapped up the meeting. “Let’s get setting up a taskforce with guidelines onto the agenda for our second meeting in January. I’m a real property rights guy, so I’ll be watching carefully. What a headache, and thanks to the staff and Planning Commission and others for all their hard work on this.” 

Notes: 

CEQA = California Environmental Quality Act

C = contributive; K = key; E = exceptional architectural examples


City Manager’s Update

Congratulations to Laguna Beach Police Emergency Operations Coordinator Jordan Villwock - Jordan has been elected by his Emergency Manager peers to lead the Orange County Emergency Management Organization (OCEMO) as the Chair in 2018.  OCEMO consists of over 120 Orange County agencies including county, cities, school districts, special districts, etc.

The organization mission is “To promote, facilitate, and support the County-wide effort to prepare for, mitigate against, respond to, and recover from disasters.”

Laguna Beach Police Corporal Cornelius Ashton to Receive the Prestigious and Coveted Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) 2018 Helene and Joseph Sherwood Prize for Combating Hate - Corporal Ashton was selectedfor his ongoing commitment, support and contribution in helping to eliminate hate and prejudice. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Corporal Cornelius Ashton

His efforts have been instrumental in promoting acceptance and in welcoming diversity within our community, and his unwavering dedication to fighting hatred and bigotry. He will be honored on March 13 at the ADL awards luncheon.

 Community and Susi Q Center Closed - The Community & Susi Q Center will be closed Sat, Dec 23, through Sun, Jan 7, for annual building maintenance. No classes or programs will be held during this time.  However, Community Services staff will be available Dec 26-28 and January 2-4, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Dec 29 and Jan 6, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Community Center to assist with class registrations, wedding permits, professional photo permits, etc.

Transit Holiday Schedule – Late Service on New Years’ Eve - On New Years’ Eve, no need to drive to your festivities, trolleys will be running late so we can take you! Trolleys will be following a modified schedule below for the Christmas and New Years’ Holiday shown below.   

Sunday, Dec 24 – 11 a.m. - 8 p.m.

Monday, Dec. 25 and January 1 – No Service

Sunday, Dec. 31 – 11 a.m.  – 1 a.m.

For detailed schedule information please visit: www.lagunabeachcity.net/trolley

Holiday Street Sweeping Schedule - There will be no street sweeping performed on Christmas Day, Monday Dec 25, and parking restrictions will not be enforced.  On New Year’s Day, Monday Jan 1, street sweeping and parking enforcement will only occur in commercial areas. For more information, please contact Senior Fleet Maintenance Supervisor, Austin Comp at (949) 464-6637.

Heisler Park Bench Painting -Beginning this week, 37 wooden benches at Heisler Park are being sanded and repainted. The project is expected to be completed by Fri, Jan 5.  The project is being done in phases so that most of the benches will be available for the public at all times.  For more information, please contact Maintenance Supervisor, Wayne Chintala at (949) 464-6644. 

Wilson Street Closure - On Jan 2 and 3, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Laguna Beach Unified School District will close northbound Wilson Street between Saint Ann’s Drive and El Bosque for slope maintenance at Laguna Beach High School. Northbound traffic on Wilson Street will be detoured to Saint Ann’s Drive to Catalina and back to El Bosque. Southbound traffic on Wilson Street will not be impacted.  For questions, please contact Ryan Zajda of the Laguna Beach Unified School District at (949) 497-7700 Ext. 5213. 

City Hall Exhibitions - Selections from the Festival of Arts Permanent Art Collection are currently on display at City Hall. Pat Sparkuhl, Curator of the Festival’s Permanent Collection, selected works illustrating the diversity of the artists and artwork from early 1900’s to present day. The exhibition will be on display through Jan 19.

Spark of Love Toy Drive - The Laguna Beach Fire Department is proud to again participate in the annual “Spark of Love” toy drive.  This event is currently under way and goes through Sunday, Dec 24. All four of the City’s fire stations will be accepting new, unwrapped toys and sports equipment for disadvantaged children in our County. The City’s fire stations are located at 501 Forest Avenue, 285 Agate Street, 2900 Alta Laguna Blvd., and 31646 2nd Avenue.  For questions, please contact Fire Administration at (949) 497-0700.

Holiday Trash Collection and Tree Recycling - For the weeks of Dec 25 and Jan 1, residential and commercial trash collection will be delayed by one day. Waste Management will collect and recycle holiday trees on the regular collection days at no charge starting on Tues, Dec 26, through Tues, Jan 16.  Please visit the city’s website www.lagunabeachcity.net/recycling for more information. 

Field Maintenance and Closures - Riddle Field is currently closed until Jan 29, and Alta Laguna Field is now closed until Jan 8, for annual maintenance and turf renovations. Questions, please call Alexis Braun, Senior Recreation Supervisor at (949) 497-0762. 

Happy holidays!


City Manager’s Holiday Updates

 Community and Susi Q Center Closed - The Community & Susi Q Center will be closed until Sun, Jan 7, for annual building maintenance. No classes or programs will be held during this time.  However, Community Services staff will be available Jan 2-4, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Jan 6, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Community Center to assist with class registrations, wedding permits, professional photo permits, etc.

Transit Holiday Schedule – Late Service on New Years’ Eve - On New Years’ Eve, no need to drive to your festivities, trolleys will be running late so we can take you! Trolleys will be following a modified schedule below for the New Years’ Holiday shown below.   

January 1 – No Service

Sunday, Dec. 31 – 11 a.m.  – 1 a.m.

For detailed schedule information please visit: www.lagunabeachcity.net/trolley

Holiday Street Sweeping Schedule - On New Year’s Day, Mon Jan 1, street sweeping and parking enforcement will only occur in commercial areas. For more information, please contact Senior Fleet Maintenance Supervisor, Austin Comp at (949) 464-6637.

Heisler Park Bench Painting -Beginning this week, 37 wooden benches at Heisler Park are being sanded and repainted. The project is expected to be completed by Fri, Jan 5.  The project is being done in phases so that most of the benches will be available for the public at all times.  For more information, please contact Maintenance Supervisor, Wayne Chintala at (949) 464-6644. 

Wilson Street Closure - On Jan 2 and 3, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m., the Laguna Beach Unified School District will close northbound Wilson Street between Saint Ann’s Drive and El Bosque for slope maintenance at Laguna Beach High School. Northbound traffic on Wilson Street will be detoured to Saint Ann’s Drive to Catalina and back to El Bosque. Southbound traffic on Wilson Street will not be impacted.  For questions, please contact Ryan Zajda of the Laguna Beach Unified School District at (949) 497-7700 Ext. 5213. 

Holiday Trash Collection and Tree Recycling - For the weeks of Dec 25 and Jan 1, residential and commercial trash collection will be delayed by one day. Waste Management will collect and recycle holiday trees on the regular collection days at no charge starting on Tues, Dec 26, through Tues, Jan 16.  Please visit the city’s website www.lagunabeachcity.net/recycling for more information. 

Field Maintenance and Closures - Riddle Field is currently closed until Jan 29, and Alta Laguna Field is now closed until Jan 8, for annual maintenance and turf renovations. Questions, please call Alexis Braun, Senior Recreation Supervisor at (949) 497-0762. 

Happy holidays!


City Manager’s Updates

Caltrans – Overhead Warning Sign Emergency Replacement -Beginning Mon, Jan 15, Caltrans will mobilize to remove and replace a failing overhead sign structure located on North Coast Highway, approximately 2000 feet south of the El Morro Elementary School entrance. Work will be conducted on weekdays between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Intermittent closures of the shoulder and/or outside travel lane can be expected through March 30. One northbound lane will be maintained for travel and southbound lanes will not be affected during this period. For more detailed project information, contact Oussama Issa, Caltrans Assistant Resident Engineer, at (949) 279-8821. 

Transit Holiday Schedule – Late Service on New Years’ Eve - On New Years’ Eve, no need to drive to your festivities, trolleys will be running late so we can take you! Trolleys will be following a modified schedule for the New Years’ Holiday: Sunday, Dec 31 – 11 a.m.  – 1 a.m. Monday, Jan 1 – No Service. For detailed schedule information visit: www.lagunabeachcity.net/trolley

Holiday Trash Collection and Tree Recycling - For the weeks Dec 25 & Jan 1, residential and commercial trash collection will be delayed by one day. Waste Management will collect and recycle holiday trees on the regular collection days at no charge through Tues, Jan 16.  Please visit the city’s website www.lagunabeachcity.net/recycling for more information. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Community and Susi Q Center

Community and Susi Q Center Closed - The Community & Susi Q Center will be closed through Sunday, Jan 7, for annual building maintenance. No classes or programs will be held during this time.  However, Community Services staff will be available Jan 2-4, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Dec 29 and Jan 6, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Community Center to assist with class registrations, wedding permits, professional photo permits, etc.

Holiday Street Sweeping Schedule - On New Year’s Day, Monday Jan 1, street sweeping and parking enforcement will only occur in commercial areas. For more information, contact Deputy Director of Public Works, Dale Schuck at (949) 497-0735.

Field Maintenance and Closures - Riddle Field is currently closed until Jan 29, and Alta Laguna Field is now closed until Jan 8, for annual maintenance and turf renovations. Questions, please call Alexis Braun, Senior Recreation Supervisor at (949) 497-0762.


City is accepting applications for Committee, Commissions, Boards and Task Forces until Jan 22

The City Council is accepting applications for the following Committees, Commissions, Boards and Task Force: Recreation Committee; Design Review Board; Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee; Heritage Committee; Environmental Sustainability Committee; View Restoration Committee; and Affordable Housing Task Force. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

City Hall

Applications are due to the City Clerk by Mon, Jan 22 by 5:30 p.m. Interviews and appointments will be conducted on Tues, Feb 6, at 6 p.m. 

Applications will not be accepted after the Jan 22 deadline. 

Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on one of these committees should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or on-line from the City’s website, www.lagunabeachcity.net. (Click on ‘Government’; ‘City Council’; then ‘Boards, Commissions and Committees’). 

Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at (949) 497-0705.


City is accepting applications for Committee, Commissions, Boards and Task Forces until Jan 22

The City Council is accepting applications for the following Committees, Commissions, Boards and Task Force: Recreation Committee; Design Review Board; Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee; Heritage Committee; Environmental Sustainability Committee; View Restoration Committee; and Affordable Housing Task Force. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

City Hall

Applications are due to the City Clerk by Mon, Jan 22 by 5:30 p.m. Interviews and appointments will be conducted on Tues, Feb 6, at 6 p.m. 

Applications will not be accepted after the Jan 22 deadline. 

Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on one of these committees should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or on-line from the City’s website, www.lagunabeachcity.net. (Click on ‘Government’; ‘City Council’; then ‘Boards, Commissions and Committees’). 

Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at (949) 497-0705.


City Manager’s Updates

Holiday Trash Collection and Tree Recycling - For the weeks Dec 25 & Jan 1, residential and commercial trash collection will be delayed by one day. Waste Management will collect and recycle holiday trees on the regular collection days at no charge through Tues, Jan 16.  Please visit the city’s website www.lagunabeachcity.net/recycling for more information. 

Community and Susi Q Center Closed - The Community & Susi Q Center will be closed through Sunday, Jan 7, for annual building maintenance. No classes or programs will be held during this time.  However, Community Services staff will be available Jan 2-4, from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m. and Dec 29 and Jan 6, 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. at the Community Center to assist with class registrations, wedding permits, professional photo permits, etc.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Community and Susi Q Center

Field Maintenance and Closures - Riddle Field is currently closed until Jan 29, and Alta Laguna Field is now closed until Jan 8, for annual maintenance and turf renovations. Questions, please call Alexis Braun, Senior Recreation Supervisor at (949) 497-0762.

Caltrans – Overhead Warning Sign Emergency Replacement -Beginning Mon, Jan 15, Caltrans will mobilize to remove and replace a failing overhead sign structure located on North Coast Highway, approximately 2000 feet south of the El Morro Elementary School entrance. Work will be conducted on weekdays between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.  Intermittent closures of the shoulder and/or outside travel lane can be expected through March 30. One northbound lane will be maintained for travel and southbound lanes will not be affected during this period. For more detailed project information, contact Oussama Issa, Caltrans Assistant Resident Engineer, at (949) 279-8821.


City Council will be accepting Committee applications until Jan 22

The City Council is accepting applications for the following Committees, Commissions, Boards and Task Force: Recreation Committee; Design Review Board; Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee; Heritage Committee; Environmental Sustainability Committee; View Restoration Committee; and Affordable Housing Task Force. 

Applications are due to the City Clerk by Monday, Jan 22 by 5:30 p.m. Interviews and appointments will be conducted on Tues, Feb 6, at 6 p.m. 

Applications will not be accepted after the Jan 22 deadline. 

Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on one of these committees should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or on-line from the City’s website, www.lagunabeachcity.net. (Click on ‘Government’; ‘City Council’; then ‘Boards, Commissions and Committees’) 

Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at 949-497-0705.


City Manager’s Update

Temporary Sculpture Installation - “Light Beam” sculpture will be temporarily exhibited by Los Angeles artist team Stereobot on the front lawn of City Hall from Jan 12 to March 10. This installation has been funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Creative Placemaking Study Session - AEA Consultants will be undertaking a Study Session with the Arts Commission on Sat, Jan 20 at 10 a.m. in the City Council Chambers. A presentation will be made to the Commission along with an update. This meeting is open to the public and public comments will be open at the end of the meeting. 

Cultural Arts Funding - The City of Laguna Beach is currently accepting grant applications from non-profit organizations for cultural programming based in Laguna Beach. The deadline to submit an application is Feb 5. Applications must be submitted on-line at www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com

City Council Appointed Committees - The City Council is accepting applications for the following Committees, Commissions, Boards and Task Force: Recreation Committee; Design Review Board; Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee; Heritage Committee; Environmental Sustainability Committee; View Restoration Committee; and Affordable Housing Task Force. Applications are due to the City Clerk by Monday, Jan 22, by 5:30 p.m. 

Interviews and appointments will be conducted on Tues, Feb 6, at 6 p.m. Applications will not be accepted after the January 22, 2018 deadline. Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on one of these committees should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or on-line from the City’s website, www.lagunabeachcity.net. (Click on ‘Government’; ‘City Council’; then ‘Boards, Commissions and Committees’). Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at 949-497-0705.

Community Assistance Grants - The City of Laguna Beach is now accepting applications for Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Community Assistance Grants. The Community Assistance Grant program is available to non-profit organizations that provide special services to residents of Laguna Beach. The objective of this program is to assist local organizations in funding new projects and/or expanded services within our community.

Like last year, we are utilizing an online application submittal process. Visit www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com to start the application process.  Additional information can be found on the City’s website at http://lagunabeachcity.net/CAG.  This year, the deadline has been extended by one month. The new deadline for applications submitted electronically will be Thurs, March 29, 5:30 p.m.

SCE Pole Replacements -  On Jan 22 and 24, the following road closures in the Bluebird Canyon area will be required for Southern California Edison (SCE) to replace two utility poles: Smith Way on Jan 22 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Residents on Dyer Place will continue to have access to their homes and will exit through Wykoff Way; Bluebird Canyon Drive, at the intersection of Bluebird Canyon Drive and Regatta Road, on Jan 24 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. All vehicular traffic will be detoured around the work. For questions, contact SCE’s contractor Vince Crocker, Construction Coordinator, at (714) 290-8611.

Community and Susi Q Center Reopens - The Community & Susi Q Center will be reopen Monday, Jan 8, at 7:30 a.m. The year is yours, what will you do with it? We can help! Try one of our many classes offered for all age groups: art, dance, fitness, language, music, writing and so much more.  

Visit www.lagunabeachcity.net click “recreation classes” or stop by the Community Center and pick-up a brochure.


City Manager’s Update

Community Assistance Grants Funds: The City is now accepting applications for the Community Assistance Grant Program for fiscal year 2018-2019.  The Program’s objective is to assist local non-profit organizations in funding new projects and/or expanding services within the community. Consideration is given to local non-profit organizations with functioning programs, projects and services which provide the greatest benefit in meeting the needs of Laguna Beach residents, and new or expanded services not currently being provided to Laguna Beach residents.

This year, grant applications will be submitted electronically.  More information can be obtained on the City’s website http://lagunabeachcity.net/CAG . Grant applications will be accepted until 5:30 p.m. Thurs, March 29.  For further information, call (949) 497-0779.

Temporary Sculpture Installation - “Light Beam” sculpture will be temporarily exhibited by Los Angeles artist team Stereobot on the front lawn of City Hall from Jan 12 to March 10. This installation has been funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Creative Placemaking Study Session - AEA Consultants will be undertaking a Study Session with the Arts Commission on Sat, Jan 20 at 10 a.m. in the City Council Chambers. A presentation will be made to the Commission along with an update. This meeting is open to the public and public comments will be open at the end of the meeting. 

Cultural Arts Funding - The City of Laguna Beach is currently accepting grant applications from non-profit organizations for cultural programming based in Laguna Beach. The deadline to submit an application is Feb 5. Applications must be submitted on-line at www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

City Hall

City Council Appointed Committees - The City Council is accepting applications for the following Committees, Commissions, Boards and Task Force: Recreation Committee; Design Review Board; Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee; Heritage Committee; Environmental Sustainability Committee; View Restoration Committee; and Affordable Housing Task Force. Applications are due to the City Clerk by Monday, Jan 22, by 5:30 p.m. 

Interviews and appointments will be conducted on Tues, Feb 6, at 6 p.m. Applications will not be accepted after the January 22, 2018 deadline. Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on one of these committees should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or on-line from the City’s website, www.lagunabeachcity.net. (Click on ‘Government’; ‘City Council’; then ‘Boards, Commissions and Committees’). Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at 949-497-0705.

Community Assistance Grants - The City of Laguna Beach is now accepting applications for Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Community Assistance Grants. The Community Assistance Grant program is available to non-profit organizations that provide special services to residents of Laguna Beach. The objective of this program is to assist local organizations in funding new projects and/or expanded services within our community.

Like last year, we are utilizing an online application submittal process. Visit www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com to start the application process.  Additional information can be found on the City’s website at http://lagunabeachcity.net/CAG.  This year, the deadline has been extended by one month. The new deadline for applications submitted electronically will be Thurs, March 29, 5:30 p.m.

SCE Pole Replacements - On Jan 22 and 24, the following road closures in the Bluebird Canyon area will be required for Southern California Edison (SCE) to replace two utility poles: Smith Way on Jan 22 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. Residents on Dyer Place will continue to have access to their homes and will exit through Wykoff Way; Bluebird Canyon Drive, at the intersection of Bluebird Canyon Drive and Regatta Road, on Jan 24 between 8 a.m. and 4 p.m. All vehicular traffic will be detoured around the work. For questions, contact SCE’s contractor Vince Crocker, Construction Coordinator, at (714) 290-8611.


City Manager releases key accomplishments of 2017

--From a press release

Public safety

Measure LL: Nearly 80 percent of Laguna Beach residents voted to approve Measure LL in 2016, which increased the Transient Occupancy Tax rate paid by tourists who stay in hotels and other lodging establishments from 10 to 12 percent. As a result, residents saw improved service enhancements to public safety such as: 

Two additional Beach Patrol Officers allowing for an additional 80 hours a week of beach patrol assigned primarily to South Laguna;

One additional Community Outreach Officer for an additional 40 hours a week of working with homeless and mentally ill populations;

Upgrading a fire engine to paramedic status at Station Two to provide paramedic coverage at all four fire stations;

Adding a Civilian Fire Marshal to enhance fire prevention programs and improve turnaround time for plan checks and inspections;

Hiring two additional Marine Safety Officers for an additional 200 days of lifeguard tower coverage; and

Setting aside $1 million annually for utility undergrounding to help prevent fires and power outages.

“America First” Rallies – The Police Department as well as other city departments and regional agencies successfully maintained peace during several rallies on Main Beach that attracted as many as 2,500 protestors and counter protestors. 

Local Hazard Mitigation Plan – A plan has been developed for public review and finalization in 2018.  

Fire Department Assists with fires Statewide – Firefighters provided assistance to wildfires located in both Northern and Southern California while maintain coverage at all four of the City’s fire stations.

Coffee with a Cop program – Five events were held in 2017 that give the community an opportunity to interact with police officers, ask questions, and let officers know about things going on in their neighborhoods.

Citizen’s Police Academy – The Citizen’s Police Academy graduated its 24th and 25th classes this year bringing the total number of graduates to more than 400 people since the program’s inception.

Downtown Emergency Notification system – A Downtown Emergency Notification system has been purchased to alert residents and visitors in the low-lying tsunami inundation zone in the event of a tsunami, which will be installed in early 2018. 

$105,000 Office of Traffic Safety Grant – The City received a grant for a year-long program of special enforcements and public awareness efforts to prevent traffic-related deaths and injuries. 

Facilities and capital improvements

Laguna SOCWA Lift Station – This sewage lift station transmits one million gallons of wastewater per day to the Coastal Treatment Plant, and was rehabilitated to extend its useful life and reliability. 

Downtown Cleanliness – Funding from Measure LL was used to add 80 hours per week of sidewalk steam cleaning; augment daily cleaning of Downtown and Coast Highway (litter removal, trash can cleaning, sidewalk sweeping, etc.); and provide an additional 42 hours per week of cleaning Main Beach and Heisler Park restrooms during peak months. 

Oak Street & Mountain Road Beach Access – The City completed rehabilitation of these two beach access points and was awarded the 2017 Project of the Year award by the American Public Works Association for this outstanding capital improvement project.

Top of the World Trail Project – After more than 20 years, this trail project, which provides pedestrian and bicycle access to the Fire Road and the Aliso and Wood Canyons Wilderness Park, was completed.

Milligan Drive Bridge – Partnering with the Sarah Thurston Park community, this bridge was replaced and a ribbon cutting was held.

Improvement of City Facilities and Local Infrastructure

The City completed several projects to improve City facilities and local infrastructure:

Repaired and resealed more than 30 streets in the Skyline, Mystic Hills, lower Bluebird Canyon, and lower Summit Drive areas

Repaired 12,000 square feet of damaged sidewalk, curbs, and gutters citywide

Installed 35 accessible sidewalk curb ramps citywide

Resurfaced tennis courts at Irvine Bowl Park; renovated turf, resurfaced basketball courts, and repainted benches at Main Beach Park; renovated turf at Heisler Park; and improved lighting on Wesley Drive at Lang Park

Installed new fencing and shade structure at Bluebird Park

Restriping of tennis courts at Lang Park to allow for not only tennis, but also pickleball

Extended sidewalk on Cress Street from Bluebird Park to Temple Terrace

Completed renovations of the former Recreation Building and Police Lobby

Community Development

Customer Service Improvements – The Community Development Department conducted eleven community workshops; continued implementation of an electronic sign-in system at the front counter; and completed a record number of plan check reviews, building inspections, and customers served at the front counter.

Updates to the Downtown Specific Plan – The Planning Commission has started the final review of these documents to present its recommendations to the City Council in 2018.

Laguna Canyon Planning Study – City Council reviewed proposed modifications to various existing planning documents that focused on zoning and development issues in Laguna Canyon. A proposed implementation timeline will return for City Council’s consideration in early 2018. 

Historic Preservation – The Heritage Committee, Design Review Board, and the Planning Commission have provided their recommendations to the City Council to update the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance and the Historic Inventory. The City Council will be considering these recommendations in early 2018.

Landscape and Scenic Highways Element – The City is developing a new element that will preserve, enhance, and sustain landscape and scenic corridors essential to the City’s unique character. The City Council is expected to finalize this item in 2018.

Accessory Dwelling Unit – The Planning Commission has provided its recommendations to the City Council to update the Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance. The City Council will be considering these recommendations in early 2018.

Transit

Neighborhood Trolley Extended Weekend Service – This service launched July 1, 2017 after a successful pilot in 2016, and offers extended trolley weekend hours in the Top of the World, Arch Beach Heights and Bluebird Canyon neighborhoods.   

Summer Breeze Bus Service – The City, in partnership with the Orange County Transportation Authority, once again offered free bus service and free parking from a peripheral parking lot near SR-133/I-405 interchange in Irvine to Laguna Beach summer destinations. More than 9,721 boardings were recorded over the ten weekends of operation, which is a 79 percent increase over 2016.  

Trolley Tracker - Major improvements to the Trolley Tracker mobile app rolled out in August 2017.  The new Tracker has a system map, displays each route separately, and has real time predictive arrival allowing for easier accessibility.  

Summer Festival Transit Service – The City’s Transit Service accommodated 552,119 boardings during the 10-week summer season.

New Coastal Routes – Based on community feedback, the City launched two new transit routes: Long and Short Coastal routes. Both routes make all stop along Coast Highway with the Long Coastal route continuing past Mission Hospital to the Ritz Carlton.

Miscellaneous

Village Entrance Project – A final project design is anticipated to be reviewed and approved by the City Council in early 2018. 

“Smoke-Free Superstar” – The City was awarded a certificate of recognition by the Orange County Tobacco Education Coalition for adopting a smoke-free public places ordinance this year.

Leadership Laguna – The Laguna Beach Community Foundation and the City hosted its second five-week citizen awareness program called “Leadership Laguna” for residents to learn about city operations and how to participate in civic affairs.

Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting – The City received an award for its easily readable and efficiently organized comprehensive annual finance report (CAFR).

Laguna’s Excellent Ocean Water Quality – The 2016-2017 Health the Bay Beach Report Card stated that of the eight beaches in Orange County identified as “California’s Cleanest Beaches for Water Quality”, seven of the eight are in Laguna Beach. 

90th Birthday – The City celebrated its 90th birthday. 

Hospitality Night – This year’s Hospitality Night was relocated from City Hall to the Peppertree parking lot, which provided for additional event space to celebrate the holidays. 

“Park Plaza” trial concept – The City Council approved of a temporary outdoor plaza from October 21, 2017 through January 2, 2018 for people to gather and foster connectivity while enjoying the outdoors.

Five-Year Financial Assessment Workshop – City staff prepared a five-year forecast of revenues and expenditures as a tool for financial sustainability to the City Council. 

Balanced Budget – The City Council adopted a balanced budget for Fiscal Year 2017-18 while maintaining a 20% General Fund Reserve.

Open Space – The City Council purchased eight vacant parcels totaling 13 acres to be used for permanent open space in Laguna Canyon and Arch Beach Heights.

Cultural Arts Activity – The City and Arts Commission facilitated a number of new initiatives this year including: (a) retained two firms to undertake Artist Work/Live and Creative Placemaking assessments; (b) established a Public Art Review panel and guidelines for temporary public art exhibits; (c) appointed Laguna Beach’s first Poet Laureate; (d) accepted an artist designed bench at the north end of Heisler Park; (e) approved an artist designed bench at the Mountain Road beach access stairway; (f) announced the finding of the Arts and Economic Prosperity report that the Arts generated $95.4 million in direct and indirect spending by non-profit art organizations and their audiences; and (g) presented two marketing workshops for arts organizations.


City Manager’s Updates

Southern California Gas Company Trench Paving – On Thursday, May 24 between 9 p.m. and 12 a.m., the Southern California Gas Company (SCGC) will be paving a trench on Coast Highway near the intersection of 5th Avenue. The southbound lane closest to the median on Coast Highway will be closed between 3rd Avenue and 5th Avenue.  

For questions or concerns, please contact SCGC representative Fred Russell at (949) 910-9906 or Caltrans Permit Field Inspector Shahryar Deravi at (714) 713-5532.

City Council Discussion Regarding Utility Undergrounding Funding Strategies – On Tuesday, May 22, the City Council will receive an update on the funding strategies that the City has been investigating for utility undergrounding and the results of the second opinion survey that measured community support of potential funding strategies.

Sunset Serenades The free concert series continues tonight (Friday, May 18) at the Heisler Park Amphitheater, Cliff Drive, starting at 6:30 p.m. The concert will feature guitar duo The Phil Gough/Alan Deremo Project. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Temporary Stairway Closure at Calliope and Glenneyre Next to the Bluebird SOCWA Lift Station – The City has installed staking and story poles to comply with Design Review Board hearing requirements for the upcoming Permanent Odor Control Installation Project at the Bluebird SOCWA Lift Station. For safety purposes, the City has temporarily closed access to the stairs next to the lift station while the story poles are in place. The story poles will be removed on June 15, 2018. The City apologizes for any inconvenience. Please contact Hannah Johnson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any questions.


City News

City is now accepting applications for the Community Assistance Grant Program for 2018-19

The City of Laguna Beach is now accepting applications for the Community Assistance Grant Program for fiscal year 2018-2019. The Program’s objective is to assist local non-profit organizations in funding new projects and/or expanding services within the community. 

Consideration is given to local non-profit organizations with functioning programs, projects, and services which provide the greatest benefit in meeting the needs of residents, and new or expanded services not currently being provided locally.

This year, grant applications will be submitted electronically. More information can be obtained on the City’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net/CAG.

Grant applications will be accepted until 5:30 p.m. on Thurs, March 29. 

For further information, call (949) 497-0779.

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

…and applications for Committee, Commissions, Boards and Task Forces will be accepted until Jan 22

The City Council is accepting applications for the following Committees, Commissions, Boards and Task Force: Recreation Committee; Design Review Board; Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee; Heritage Committee; Environmental Sustainability Committee; View Restoration Committee; and Affordable Housing Task Force. 

Applications are due to the City Clerk by Mon, Jan 22 by 5:30 p.m. 

Interviews and appointments will be conducted on Tues, Feb 6, at 6 p.m. 

Applications will not be accepted after the Jan 22 deadline. 

Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on one of these committees should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or on-line from the City’s website, www.lagunabeachcity.net. (Click on ‘Government’; ‘City Council’; then ‘Boards, Commissions and Committees’) 

Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at (949) 497-0705.


City Manager’s Update

Lifeguard Staffing Memorial Day Weekend – Staffing of up to 10 of the City’s thirty lifeguard towers will occur over Memorial Day weekend. For up to date information on open tower locations and times, please call the Marine Safety general information number at (949) 494-6571. Remember to swim near a lifeguard!

Fuel Modification Program (aka the running of the goats…) – The goats just completed clearing fuel in the area around the Pageant of the Masters and will be moving across the street to the Sawdust Festival area. The goats will be crossing Laguna Canyon Road on Saturday, May 26 at 6 a.m. Please expect minor delays in the area.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The goats will be crossing LCR at 6 a.m. tomorrow…they’re resting for the run

Memorial Day Transit Service – Laguna Beach Transit will be running a modified schedule on Monday, May 28.  As a result, the Coastal Service will be offered from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. and there will be no neighborhood services.

Moulton Meadows Field Maintenance and Closures – Moulton Meadows Field will be closed for annual maintenance and turf renovations from May 29 - June 25. Please call Alexis Braun, Senior Recreation Supervisor, with any questions at (949) 497-0762.

Laguna Beach Represented at County Track Meet – On Sunday, May 20, twenty-three local youths participated in the Orange County Track and Field Championships at Estancia High School.

The Laguna Beach Track Team is comprised of boys and girls ranging from five to 14 years of age. They competed in various events including the long jump, softball throw, 50, 100, 200, 400, 800, and 1600 meter races. The Laguna Beach team had participants that placed in the top four in their respective events and are moving on to the Southern California Championships at Warren High School in Downey on Sunday, June 3. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Laguna Beach track team

Sunset Serenades: World Music – Sunset Serenades continues with the World Music Series this Friday, May 25 at the Heisler Park Amphitheater, Cliff Drive. The concert starts at 6:30 p.m. and will feature Afro-Cuban music by Maestro Lazaro Galarraga and Friends. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

City Hall Exhibition - The Artist Fund at Festival of Arts presents the exhibition “Red Hot” at City Hall, on display from May 24 through June 28. The public is invited to attend the artist reception on Thursday, June 7 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m., and to vote for their favorite piece. The Artist Fund provides disaster-relief grants for Festival artists in need.

Literary Laureate – Local residents Suzanne Redfearn and Lauren Simon have been selected as Literary Laureates for the City of Laguna Beach. The new Laureates will serve jointly as cultural ambassadors for a period of two years, promoting appreciation and awareness of literacy and the literary arts through classes, workshops and events in Laguna Beach. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.

It’s Time to Renew Your Shopper Parking Permits – Residents who have participated in the shopper permit program should receive their 2018-2020 Shopper Parking Permit application in the mail the week of May 28. 

If you do not receive an application or are interested in the program, please visit the City’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net. Just click the “Shopper Permits” icon located on the City’s home page. From the website, residents can purchase parking permits online or by mail by downloading a PDF version of the information packet and application. The cost is $80 each for the first two shopper permits and $150 each for the third and fourth permit. Please make checks payable to the City of Laguna Beach.


City Manager’s Updates

Downtown Specific Plan Update – Continue to Review Portions of Section V: Land Use Districts – The City of Laguna Beach will continue their efforts on the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) Update on Wednesday, June 6 during the Planning Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall. 

The Planning Commission will review and discuss public correspondence and issue areas related to Section V: Land Use Districts of the existing DSP document. Topics covered include: the intent and purpose of land use districts, permitted land uses/required entitlements, permit processes, findings and special findings for certain uses, allowable changes in permitted use category per City Council resolution, and definitions. 

For more information on the Downtown Specific Plan Update project please contact Wendy Jung, Senior Planner, at (949) 497-0321 or email her at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Queda Way Retaining Wall Replacement – Construction is underway to replace a deteriorated retaining wall at the south end of Queda Way. The project also includes roadway drainage improvements to help prevent flooding of private properties. Construction is expected to be completed by the end of July. For more information, please contact the project manager, Tri Nguyen, at (949) 497-0741.

Downtown Street Restriping – The Public Works Department will be repainting the downtown street legends and striping in preparation for the summer season. This work will start Thursday, June 7 and continue through Saturday, June 9.  All work will be done in the early morning hours to minimize traffic impacts. 

Moulton Meadows Field Maintenance and Closures – Moulton Meadows Field will be closed for annual maintenance and turf renovations through Monday, June 25. If Please call Alexis Braun, Senior Recreation Supervisor at (949) 497-0762 with any questions.

It’s Time to Renew Your Shopper Parking Permits – Residents who have participated in the shopper permit program should receive their 2018-2020 Shopper Parking Permit application in the mail the week of May 28. If you do not receive an application or are interested in the program, visit the City’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net and click on the “Shopper Permits” icon located on the City’s homepage.

 From the website, residents can purchase parking permits online or by mail by downloading a PDF version of the information packet and application. The cost is $80 each for the first two shopper permits and $150 each for the third and fourth permit. Please make checks payable to the City of Laguna Beach.


City Manager’s Updates

Leadership Laguna 2018: A Citizens’ Academy - Back by popular demand, the City of Laguna Beach will be hosting a free, five-week citizen awareness program for residents to learn about city operations and how to participate in civic affairs. Sessions take place every Thursday in March from 7 - 9 p.m. (beginning on March 1 and ending on March 29). 

Each session will cover various aspects of local government and featuring presentations from local government leaders. Online applications will be available starting Monday, Jan 15. See attached flyer for more information or visit: www.lagunabeachcity.net/leadershiplaguna.

City Hall Closed on Monday, Jan 15 - City Hall will be closed on Monday, Jan 15 in observance for Martin Luther King’s birthday. Essential services such as police, fire, lifeguards, bus service and other functions are still provided. 

Enhanced Transit Service on Martin Luther King Day - On Monday Jan 15, Neighborhood and Coastal trolley services will be provided similar to the Sunday schedule, from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. For detailed schedule information, please see www.lagunabeachcity.net/trolley.

Holiday Street Sweeping Schedule - On Martin Luther King Day, Monday Jan 15, street sweeping and parking enforcement will only occur in commercial areas. For more information, please contact Senior Fleet Maintenance Supervisor, Austin Comp at (949) 464-6637.

Downtown Specific Plan Update – Continue to Review Section III, Topic 10 – Civic Art District - The City of Laguna Beach will continue their efforts on the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) Update on Wed, Jan 17, during the Planning Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall. 

City staff will present the public input received thus far regarding DSP Section III: Issue Statements and Policies, Topic 10 – Civic Art District, for further consideration and discussion by the Planning Commission. Copies of the public input received are available to view on the City’s website: www.lagunabeachcity.net.  

For more information on the Downtown Specific Plan Update project please contact: Wendy Jung, Senior Planner, at (949) 497-0321; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

2018 Public Art Projects – Call for Artists - The City of Laguna Beach is currently accepting applications from qualified artists with demonstrated experience in public art. Applicants may apply for one or all projects by March 19,. The sites are at the Agate Street and Thalia Street Beach access and the Third Street Stairway. For information about the call for artists and honorarium please visit www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com

These projects are being funded by Laguna Beach residents Linda and Toni Bonnici, Greg, Bobbi and Dick Nathanson, Tammie Arnold and Mark Porterfield.

Creative Placemaking Study Session - AEA Consultants will be undertaking a Study Session with the Arts Commission on Sat, Jan 20 at 10 a.m. in the City Council Chambers. A presentation will be made to the Commission along with an update. This meeting is open to the public and, if time allows public comments will be open at the end of the meeting.

Cultural Arts Funding - The City of Laguna Beach is currently accepting grant applications from non-profit organizations for cultural programming based in Laguna Beach. The deadline to submit an application is Feb 5. Applications must be submitted on-line at www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com

Date Night – An Evening with the Important Young Person in Your Life - One of the biggest hurdles raising a teenager is maintaining open and honest communication about drugs and alcohol. Join Marci Mednick, of St Joseph Health, along with expert Ray Lozano as they convey substance use information in a way that young people really get. This three part-dinner series is for teens ages 11-15 and their parents. The series will be held on three consecutive Tuesdays beginning Jan 23 thru Feb 6, from 6:15 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Community & Susi Q Center. Cost: $45 per family. Register online at https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/ or by calling (949) 464-6645.

Mindful Parenting -  Join Lucas LeardMann, from the UCSD Center for Mindfulness, for this three-part series for adults. Mindful parenting focuses on managing strong emotions, improving mindful communication and cultivating compassion and self-care.  The series will be held on three consecutive Saturdays beginning Jan 27 thru Feb 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Community & Susi Q Center. Cost: $15.  Register online at https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/ or by calling (949) 464-6645.

Community Assistance Grants - The City of Laguna Beach is now accepting applications for Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Community Assistance Grants. The Community Assistance Grant program is available to non-profit organizations that provide special services to residents of Laguna Beach. 

The objective of this program is to assist local organizations in funding new projects and/or expanded services within our community. Like last year, we are utilizing an online application submittal process. Visit www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com to start the application process.  Additional information can be found on the City’s website at http://lagunabeachcity.net/CAG.  This year, the deadline has been extended by one month. The new deadline for applications submitted electronically will be Thursday, March 29, 5:30 p.m.


City Manager’s Updates

Leadership Laguna 2018: A Citizens’ Academy - Back by popular demand, the City of Laguna Beach will be hosting a free, five-week citizen awareness program for residents to learn about city operations and how to participate in civic affairs. Sessions take place every Thursday in March from 7 - 9 p.m. (beginning on March 1 and ending on March 29). 

Each session will cover various aspects of local government and featuring presentations from local government leaders. Online applications will be available starting Monday, Jan 15. See attached flyer for more information or visit: www.lagunabeachcity.net/leadershiplaguna.

Cultural Arts Funding - The City of Laguna Beach is currently accepting grant applications from non-profit organizations for cultural programming based in Laguna Beach. The deadline to submit an application is Feb 5. Applications must be submitted on-line at www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com

Date Night – An Evening with the Important Young Person in Your Life - One of the biggest hurdles raising a teenager is maintaining open and honest communication about drugs and alcohol. Join Marci Mednick, of St Joseph Health, along with expert Ray Lozano as they convey substance use information in a way that young people really get. This three part-dinner series is for teens ages 11-15 and their parents. The series will be held on three consecutive Tuesdays beginning Jan 23 thru Feb 6, from 6:15 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Community & Susi Q Center. Cost: $45 per family. Register online at https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/ or by calling (949) 464-6645.

Mindful Parenting - Join Lucas LeardMann, from the UCSD Center for Mindfulness, for this three-part series for adults. Mindful parenting focuses on managing strong emotions, improving mindful communication and cultivating compassion and self-care.  The series will be held on three consecutive Saturdays beginning Jan 27 thru Feb 10 from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. at the Community & Susi Q Center. Cost: $15.  Register online at https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/ or by calling (949) 464-6645.

Community Assistance Grants - The City of Laguna Beach is now accepting applications for Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Community Assistance Grants. The Community Assistance Grant program is available to non-profit organizations that provide special services to residents of Laguna Beach.

The objective of this program is to assist local organizations in funding new projects and/or expanded services within our community. Like last year, we are utilizing an online application submittal process. Visit www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com to start the application process.  Additional information can be found on the City’s website at http://lagunabeachcity.net/CAG.  This year, the deadline has been extended by one month. The new deadline for applications submitted electronically will be Thursday, March 29, 5:30 p.m.


City calls for applications from artists for 2018 Public Art Projects

The City of Laguna Beach is currently accepting applications from qualified artists with demonstrated experience in public art. Applicants may apply for one or all projects by March 19. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

One of three proposed sites, the Third Street stairs

The sites are at the Agate Street and Thalia Street Beach access and the Third Street stairway. For information about the call for artists and honorarium please visit www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com.


City Manager’s Updates

Fourth Annual Road Safety Expo – The Laguna Beach Police Department invites you to the 4th Annual Road Safety Expo this Sunday, June 10 from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. This free event will encompass safety information for all roadway users including skateboarders, cyclists, pedestrians, and motorists. 

The Road Safety Expo will include a BMX freestyle team performance, skateboard clinic, auto-extrication demo from the Laguna Beach Fire Department, bicycle obstacle course, raffles, and much more.

City Managers Road

Click on photo for a larger image

Courtesy LBPD

Road Safety Expo will be fun!

Police Department Scholarships – On Friday, June 8 the 2018 Laguna Beach High School Honors Convocation will take place at the high school. Following a competitive process, the Officer Jon Coutchie Charitable Fund will be awarding a $1,500 college scholarship to a student seeking a degree in Criminal Justice. 

Additionally, eighteen Laguna Beach High School students submitted essays to the Laguna Beach Police Department Juvenile Crimes Detective to receive the Arthur B. Harward Memorial Scholarship, which focuses on abstinence from drugs and alcohol. Two LBHS students stood out and both will receive $1,200 scholarships to assist them with their college education.

Laguna Beach Summer Trolley Service Starts June 18 – Start your summer fun early by riding the Laguna Beach Trolley! Trolley service will start daily on Monday, June 18 with Canyon service running from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and Coastal service running from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.  For more information, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/trolley or call (949) 497-0766.

City manager trolley

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Catch the trolley this summer!

Laguna Beach Village Entrance Project – The construction plans and specifications for the Village Entrance project are being finalized for public bidding on June 15. The award of the construction contract is anticipated to be presented at the August 27 City Council meeting. The plans and specifications will be available for public viewing on June 14 at the following link: www.lagunabeachcity.net/villageentrance.

SCE Pole Replacement by Helicopter – On Wednesday, June 13 between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Southern California Edison (SCE) will be replacing a pole located in the backyard of the property at 495 Panorama Drive. A helicopter will be used between the hours of 9 a.m. and 12 p.m. to remove and replace the pole. The landing zone and staging area for the helicopter will occur within the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park, which will require the closure of portions of Spur Ridge Trail. 

Also, portions of Eleanor Lane, Fayette Place, and Panorama Drive will be closed to non-residents during the hours of the helicopter operations. Affected residents have been noticed in advance by SCE. For questions or concerns, please contact SCE representative, Alex Arteaga, at (909) 974-4620.

Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force (HPOTF) – The HPOTF held their first meeting on Thursday, May 31. The second meeting of the Task Force is scheduled to be held on Monday June 11 from 5 to 7 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. For information about these meetings and any future meetings, please visit the City’s webpage at http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/cd/preserve/hpotf.htm      

City Hall Paintings – On Friday, June 15, two Joseph Kleitsch paintings in the City’s permanent collection will go on exhibit at the Laguna Art Museum. The Museum will be replacing the two loaned pieces with works by Roger Kuntz, located in Conference Room A. The painting exchange will be through November.

Sunset Serenades: World Music – The final Sunset Serenades: World Music Performance will be this Friday and will feature L ’Esprit D’ Afrique. The concert is held at the Heisler Park Amphitheater starting at 6:30 p.m. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. For more information, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net

Parents’ Night Out (PNO) – Parents, call it a break from the kids; kids call it a break from your parents. The City of Laguna Beach is hosting its quarterly Parents’ Night Out on Friday, June 15 from 5:30 to 9:30 p.m. at the Community & Susi Q Center, 380 Third Street. For this evening, the Community Services Department is offering a new special with the Laguna Playhouse for a 2-for-1 deal on tickets to see Clybourne Park on June 1, only. 

Tickets at this price can only be purchased through the City of Laguna Beach as a PNO package for $60 which includes the two tickets and one PNO child registration. The children will have a blast enjoying games, movies, arts & crafts and dinner. Pre-registration is required 72 hours in advance. To register, call (949) 464-6645 or visit, www.lagunabeachcity.net – click “recreation classes.”


City Council on the hot seat tonight – Coast Inn issue; Historic Preservation task force; and the fate of a tree

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council meeting tonight has more than one hot button agenda item. In addition to the Coast Inn appeal, staff is recommending the removal of a tree on High Street.

Councilwoman Toni Iseman put the tree removal on the agenda as requested by landscape architect Ann Christoph. 

The condition of the red ironbark tree in front of 485 High Street was brought to the council’s attention in 2015. The High Street property owner wanted it removed then, but the council denied the request and ordered staff to maintain the tree.

However, after consulting with an arborist late in 2017, staff is recommending removal of the 600 pound tree. The arborist reported that the structural integrity of the tree is suspect and it represents an unusual degree of risk. 

Amy Jackson opposes the removal, according to the staff report. She has indicated she believes the city-retained arborists would agree to the removal of any tree they are asked to inspect. She stated the tree was more important to her than the risk of injury or property damage. 

Jackson wants the tree inspected by independent arborists.

Property owners Vicky and Ken Boden are prepared to contribute up to $2,000 for a replacement tree if they agree with the selection proposed by staff.

In other action

The council will consider establishing a Preservation Ordinance Task Force to try to resolve the deadlocked dialogue that has brought to a standstill a revision to the existing ordinance. 

As presented by staff, the task force would be composed of two council members, and one representative each from the Design Review Board, the Planning Commission and the Heritage Committee and four from the public. 

Community Development Department Director Greg Pfost and Senior Planner Martina Caron would serve as staff liaison to the task force.

Let Laguna Live announced in an email its intention to oppose the proposed composition of the task force.


City Hall exhibition “Red Hot” will be on display now until June 28

The Artist Fund at Festival of Arts presents the exhibition “Red Hot” at City Hall, which will be on display through June 28.

City hall guardians

Guardians of Red Canyon, Lynn Welker

The public is invited to attend the artist reception on Thursday, June 7 from 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. and vote for their favorite piece.

The Artist Fund provides both disaster-relief grants for Festival artists in need.


City is accepting applications for Committee, Commissions, Boards and Task Forces until Jan 22

The City Council is accepting applications for the following Committees, Commissions, Boards and Task Force: Recreation Committee; Design Review Board; Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee; Heritage Committee; Environmental Sustainability Committee; View Restoration Committee; and Affordable Housing Task Force. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

City Hall

Applications are due to the City Clerk by Mon, Jan 22 by 5:30 p.m. Interviews and appointments will be conducted on Tues, Feb 6, at 6 p.m. 

Applications will not be accepted after the Jan 22 deadline. 

Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on one of these committees should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or on-line from the City’s website, www.lagunabeachcity.net. (Click on ‘Government’; ‘City Council’; then ‘Boards, Commissions and Committees’). 

Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at (949) 497-0705.


Council to review plans for Coast Inn renovation

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council will conduct a hearing tonight on a proposal to restore the Coast Inn and two other buildings on the corner of Mountain Road and South Coast Highway. 

Sixty-five letters of support for the restoration were collected Friday night from 147 guests at an open house hosted by property owners. However, the Planning Commission has recommended denial of the conditional use and coastal development permits, the design and a variance requested for the project. 

“We are trying to get as many people as possible to attend the meeting to support the project,” said Marshall Ininns, the Laguna Beach architect for the project.

The project has been hotly contested since it was first proposed about four years ago to the Laguna Beach Heritage Committee, which eventually endorsed the project.  

“It took about a year, but in the end, the committee recommended the council approve the project and consider a 75 percent reduction in the parking requirement,” Ininns said in a previous interview.

The committee conferred an E-rating on the hotel at 1401 South Coast Highway and the former liquor store designed by the late Chris Abel with the Smith family, the original builders and owners of the Coast Inn, in the mid-century modern style, and a K-rating on the cottage, the latter two across Mountain Road. The E-rating justifies the 75 percent parking deduction. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy Carolyn Smith Burris

The Coast Inn as it looked from approximately 1933 - 1954

“I have since learned that the stakes were not up and the committee may have misinterpreted what it would look like,” said Barbara Metzger, former planning commissioner. 

Personally, she is concerned about the request for a height variance to exceed the 36-foot-maximum.

Coast Inn neighbor Terry Meurer said the proposal adds the rooftop deck for 175 people, a restaurant and bar for 86 people and a pool and if approved, will exacerbate neighborhood problems with traffic, noise, trash and public safety.

Click on photo for a larger image

Rendering courtesy Marshall Innins

Rendering of proposed remodel of The Coast Inn

“Village Laguna opposes the project [as is],” said President Johanna Felder, by phone from New York. 

She also emailed a letter dated Jan 9 that states Village Laguna supports restoration of the Coast Inn, just not the project submitted. The letter urges the council to reject this and all other rooftop decks or the expansion of existing ones. 

In Felder’s absence, Village Laguna will be represented at the council hearing by Bonnie Hano, a former member of the Heritage Committee.

If the hotel restoration is denied, the existing conditional use permit remains in effect: approval of dancing and music in the legendary Boom Boom Room, for up to 597 people, according to property owner Chris Dornin. 

Chris and Marcella Dornin bought the hotel, the former liquor store and cottage in 2013. 

The council has options: denial of the project, approval as proposed, approval with modification or returning it the planning commission with directions.


City Council is accepting applications for the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force

The Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force was created by the City Council at its January 23 City Council meeting. The Task Force will consist of (9) nine members of the Public selected by two City Council members who will act as liaisons and non-voting members of the Task Force.  

The purpose of the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force will be to attempt to reach consensus on the Historic Preservation Ordinance and to provide a recommendation back to the City Council.

Applicants may be contacted by a City Council member prior to the appointments so please be prepared to make a brief statement about your desire to serve on this Task Force.

Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or on-line from the City’s website, www.lagunabeachcity.net and file by Wed, Feb 28, at 5:30 p.m.

Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at 497-0705. Applications will not be accepted after the Feb 28 deadline.


City Manager’s Update

Leadership Laguna 2018: A Citizens’ Academy - Back by popular demand, the City of Laguna Beach will be hosting a free, five-week citizen awareness program for residents to learn about city operations and how to participate in civic affairs. Sessions take place on every Thursday in March from 7-9 p.m. (beginning on March 1 and ending on March 29). Each session will cover various aspects of local government and featuring presentations from local government leaders. Online applications are due by Friday, Feb 16. See attached flyer for more information or to apply visit: www.lagunabeachcity.net/leadershiplaguna.

Coffee with a Cop - Join us on Sat, Jan 27, from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. in the driveway of 1260 Cliff Dr. for coffee and doughnuts. Personnel from the Laguna Beach Police Department will be passing out Crime Prevention information as well as hearing your neighborhood thoughts and concerns. Hope to see you there! The mission of Coffee with a Cop is to break down the barriers between police officers and the citizens they serve by removing agendas and allowing opportunities to ask questions, voice concerns, and get to know officers in your neighborhood. 

Glenneyre Parking Structure Walkway Repair - Starting on Mon Jan 29, a City Contractor will be rehabilitating the walkway adjacent to the Glenneyre Parking Structure. During this work, pedestrians will be detoured around the work zone and Southbound Glenneyre Street will be reduced to one lane. The construction is anticipated to take three weeks. For any questions, please contact Associate Civil Engineer, Tom Sandefur at (949) 497-0792 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Cultural Arts Funding - The City of Laguna Beach is currently accepting grant applications from non-profit organizations for cultural programming based in Laguna Beach. The deadline to submit an application is February 5, 2018. Applications must be submitted on-line at www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com.

2018 Public Art Projects – Call for Artists - The City of Laguna Beach is currently accepting applications from qualified artists with demonstrated experience in public art. Applicants may apply for one or all projects. The sites are at the Agate Street and Thalia Street Beach access and the Third Street Stairway Project. For information about the call for artists and honorarium please visit www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com. These projects are being funded by Laguna Beach residents Linda and Toni Bonnici, Greg, Bobbi and Dick Nathanson, Tammie Arnold and Mark Porterfield.

Friday Flicks Back at the Forum - The Arts Commission will be screening the film “Loving Vincent” on Friday, Feb 2, at 7 p.m. at the Forum Theatre on the Festival of Arts grounds, 650 Laguna Canyon Road. Door will open at 6:45 p.m. The film is a story depicted in oil painted animation, of a young man who goes to the last hometown of painter Vincent van Gogh to deliver the troubled artist’s final letter and ends up investigating his final days.  The film is 97 minutes and is rated PG-13.  This event is free and is funded through the generosity of Laguna Beach residents Steve Chadima and Mark Porterfield.


City Manager’s Update

Art-Inspired Writing Contest – Laguna Beach Literary Laureate Suzanne Redfearn invites local poets and authors to respond in verse or prose to Jeff Rovner’s photograph Kalaywa Monastery, Yangon, currently on display at City Hall. Two selected winners will each receive $250. The deadline for entry is Friday, July 27. For more information, visit http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art.

Laguna Beach Summer Trolley Service Starts June 18 – Start your summer fun early by riding the Laguna Beach Trolley. Trolley service will start daily on Monday, June 18 with Canyon service running from 8:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and Coastal service running from 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.  For more information, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/trolley or call (949) 497-0766.

Laguna Beach Village Entrance Project – The construction plans and specifications for the Village Entrance project are being finalized for public bidding today, Friday, June 15. The award of the construction contract is anticipated to be presented at the August 7 City Council meeting. The plans and specifications are available for public viewing at www.lagunabeachcity.net/villageentrance.


Council asked to consider Laguna becoming a “Tree City”: generous offer made to create urban tree fund

By BARBARA DIAMOND

March 7 is Arbor Day in California – but not in Laguna Beach unless the City Council takes action.

Councilman Bob Whalen has requested a hearing on a city observance of Arbor Day, which is a requirement to be recognized as a Tree City USA. Mayor Pro Tem Rob Zur Schmiede and Public Works Director Shohreh DuPuis supported Whalen’s request.  

“Laguna Beach satisfies all of the Tree City USA criteria except one – the official observance of Arbor Day,” said Barbara McGillivray. 

Criteria for the Tree City designation include having a city tree department or board, a tree care ordinance, a comprehensive urban forest program and official recognition of Arbor Day.  

MacGillivray and her husband, filmmaker Greg MacGillivray, have offered to create an urban tree fund with a $50,000 donation, hoping that other donors will contribute.

She described the purpose of the fund to be enhancement, not a supplement, to the city’s program of re-planting and maintenance. 

“I met with Barbara regarding the very generous offer of a private fund,” said Whalen. “It is neat to enhance what the city does with private donations.”  

Greg MacGillivray said that 25 years ago residents created a Downtown Specific Plan that called for abundant flowers and trees. Trees, he said, are vital to the charm of downtown Laguna. 

More than 30 sidewalk ‘tombs’ in Laguna

Removal of trees, even for valid reasons, throughout the years has diminished the once abundant greenery that gave Forest Avenue its name, not to mention losses on other city streets, according to Barbara MacGillivray.  

“There are over 30 sidewalk tombs,” she said, referring to spots where trees used to be.

Laguna streets should be lined with trees that have been carefully maintained, urged landscape designer and nursery owner Ruben Flores.

“I am very supportive of Arbor Day in Laguna Beach,” Flores said. “We could bring in a festival, speakers and positive togetherness.”

National Arbor Day was founded in 1972. It is celebrated nationally on the last Friday in April, However, many states observe it on a different date, based on the best tree-planting time in the area.

California’s date is March 7.

“That is why we have an urgency to have a city endorsement for moving forward as quickly as possible,” MacGillivray said. 

Whalen’s request for a hearing targeted Feb. 27 or March 6.


City Hall schedule reviewed - Employees support alternate Fridays off

By BARBARA DIAMOND

City Hall will continue to be closed every other Friday.

The City Council reviewed and approved the schedule at the Jan 23 meeting after a resident pulled the review from the Consent Calendar. An item on the calendar is approved without discussion unless a member of the council or the audience request it be opened for a separate vote. 

“The city should be open five days a week,” said Jennifer Siefert, who requested the schedule be pulled. “I know of complaints about service.”

The eight hours off on alternate Fridays are made up with longer work days. Employees still work 80 hours every two weeks. The Laguna Beach Municipal Employees Assn supports the schedule,

“It is beneficial to the employees and the residents,” said Joseph Carvin, on behalf of the Association.

City officials believe the 9/80 schedule is an employee recruiting and keeping tool, especially those with a long commute, which ultimately benefits the residents. 

A 2017 survey of employees showed the schedule played a significant role in employees’ decision to accept a job with the city. 

Schedule helps Laguna compete with other cities, Mayor Boyd says

“Before, we were competing with cities that offered it,” said Mayor Kelly Boyd. 

And the city was losing employees; 50 percent of them left to take jobs with other municipalities. The percentage decreased to 30 percent subsequent to the move to the 9/80 schedule, which went into effect on a trial basis beginning March 28, 2016, as a result of negotiations with the employees association. 

The council reviewed the schedule at a meeting on Jan 10, 2017 and voted to continue it for another year, with an update set for this month.

City Hall is now open for extended hours from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the Friday it is open. 

Staff reported that the change has not resulted in complaints about service.

Laguna Beach Chat founder Michael Morris said his unofficial survey indicates that the 9/80 schedule does not inconvenience residents.

Emergency Services, including the Police, Fire and Marine Safety Departments, as well as Water Quality and Public Works Departments’ maintenance and emergency response crews are staffed every day.


City Manager’s Updates

Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force -- The City Council is accepting applications for the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force. The Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force was created by the City Council at its Jan 23 City Council meeting.  

The Task Force will consist of (9) nine members of the Public selected by two City Council members who will act as liaisons and non-voting members of the Task Force. The purpose of the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force will be to attempt to reach consensus on the Historic Preservation Ordinance and to provide recommendation(s) back to the City Council. 

Applicants may be contacted by a City Council member prior to the appointments so please be prepared to make a brief statement about your desire to serve on this Task Force. Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or on-line from the City’s website, www.lagunabeachcity.net and file by Wed, Feb 28, at 5:30 p.m. 

Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at 497-0705. Applications will not be accepted after the Feb28 deadline.

South Coast Highway Lane Closures - The Laguna Beach County Water District will be closing the right southbound lane of South Coast Highway between Calliope Street and Bluebird Canyon Drive. The lane closure has been coordinated with Caltrans and will be in effect during working hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The work is expected to be completed by Feb 9. For questions, please contact Lisa Dunbar at (949) 464-3119. 

SCE Pole Replacement by Helicopter - Southern California Edison (SCE) will be using a helicopter to replace a pole in the open space easterly of Moulton Meadows Park on Feb 15. SCE has obtained permission from the County for the work. The helicopter will use the Fire Road between Top of the World and Arch Beach Heights as a landing/loading zone. The Fire road will be temporarily closed while the helicopter is over the landing zone, however, City emergency vehicles will take precedent and be allowed to pass. 

City of Laguna Beach Environmental Lecture Series on Sustainable Gardens - The City of Laguna Beach announces the second in a series of four, free public environmental lectures, entitled From Pots to Plots: Gardening in Laguna Beach.  The event will include information on growing herbs for the kitchen, attracting bees, birds or butterflies to your garden, and identifying new plants that are drought-tolerant, sustainable, or edible. 

The guided conversation will be led by Kelly Osborne, a volunteer with the Laguna Beach School Gardens Projects; Ruben Flores, local landscape designer; and Sally Coffey, Board Member of South Laguna Community Garden Park. The lecture will be held at 7 p.m. on Thurs, Feb 8, in the Community Room at the Laguna Beach Community Center located at 380 Third Street. 

For more information, please contact Environmental Specialist Michael Phillips at (949) 497-0390.

Junior Lifeguards - Registration for the 2018 Junior Lifeguard program is now open to Laguna Beach residents. Participants must pass the required swim test or have participated in the 2017 program to be eligible to register. The first swim test will be held Friday, Feb 2, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. All swim tests take place at the Laguna Beach High School and Community Pool, located at 670 Park Avenue. Additional information about the program, including a list of swim test dates, is available at: https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/catalog/index?filter=Y2F0ZWdvcnklNUI1MDE0JTVEPTEmc2VhcmNoPQ, or call (949) 497-0716 for more information.

Forest Avenue Banner Program - The Community Services Department is requesting email addresses from Laguna Beach based non-profit organizations interested in participating in the 2019 Forest Ave Banner Program. Please submit your email address before Thurs, Feb 22, to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive information and dates to participate in the program.


Council will announce appointments tonight for seats on city advisory groups

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council on Tuesday will interview 39 applicants for seats on five city committees, one board and one Task Force. Twenty three seats are open. Several applicants asked for appointment to more than one body, identified by an asterisk. 

Two-year terms begin April 1. Seven residents have applied for a seat on the Design Review Board. Two seats are available. Incumbents Meg Monahan and Caren Liuzzi have re-upped. Applications were also submitted by Jeffrey Feldman*, Emerich Hlava*, Benjamin Jensen, Audra Miller and Louis Weil*.

The View Restoration Committee is the only one to have the same number of applicants as openings. Staff recommended appointing the two applicants: Dave DiCesaris and Jeffrey Feldman*.  

Seven residents submitted applications for the five seats on the Affordable Housing Task Force. The council will choose between Gary Boisen, Jane Fulton, Mo Honarkar, Karen Martin, Allison Matthews*, Chris Quilter and Louis Weil*. 

Musical chairs ahead

The eight applicants for the three open seats on the Parking, Traffic & Circulation Committee include John Cushing, Jennifer Dawson, Jeffrey Feldman*, Hasty Honarkar*, India Hynes*, Benjamin Jensen*, John Marcos and Louis Weil*.

Appointments to the Environmental Sustainability Committee will be trickier. Five seats are open with two appointments to serve one-year terms and three to serve two-year terms. The seven applicants are incumbents Robert Ader and Irene Bowie, Shelly Christine Bennecke, Emerich Hlava*, Hasty Honarkar* and India Hynes*, and Allison Matthews*.

Two incumbent have re-upped for the Recreation Committee: Byron Nelson and Monica Silva. Michele Hall is the third applicant for the committee, which has two openings.

Four seats are open on the Heritage Committee, which is currently in the throes of the city’s contentious revamp of the Historical Preservation Ordinance. Incumbents Rick Gold and Regina Hartley are among the five applicants, which also include Tamara Dowell, Kip J. Scott, and Scott Sumner.

The committee voted in January to reduce membership from seven to five. 

Appointments to the seven city bodies will come immediately after a proclamation in honor of the Laguna Beach Garden Club is presented.


City Manager’s Update

Coast Inn Subcommittee Meeting - On Jan 23, the City Council reviewed the Coast Inn/Coast Liquor Store Project (CUP 16-2479, PCDR 16-2475, CDP 16-2480 and VA 16-2482) proposed at 1391 and 1401 South Coast Highway.  

At that time, the City Council appointed Mayor Pro Tem Zur Schmiede and Councilmember Whalen as a Subcommittee to meet with the applicant in a public meeting.  

The subcommittee is scheduled to meet on Monday, Feb 12, from 4:30 to 6:15 p.m. at the Community & Susi Q Center (380 Third Avenue). After the Subcommittee completes its work, the item will be re-noticed prior to bringing the matter back to the City Council for public hearing. 

Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force -- The City Council is accepting applications for the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force. The Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force was created by the City Council at its Jan 23, City Council meeting.  The Task Force will consist of (9) nine members of the Public selected by two City Council members who will act as liaisons and non-voting members of the Task Force.  

The purpose of the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force will be to attempt to reach consensus on the Historic Preservation Ordinance and to provide recommendation(s) back to the City Council. 

Applicants may be contacted by a City Council member prior to the appointments so please be prepared to make a brief statement about your desire to serve on this Task Force. Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or on-line from the City’s website, www.lagunabeachcity.net and file by Wed, Feb 28, at 5:30 p.m. Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at 497-0705. Applications will not be accepted after the Feb 28 deadline.

(1) Two-Year Term on the View Restoration Committee - The City Council is accepting applications for (1) two-year term on the View Restoration Committee with terms beginning April 1 through March 31, 2020. Members of the View Restoration Committee adjudicate view claims submitted by property owners to restore pre-existing views that are alleged to be significantly impaired by vegetation.  

The five-member committee of local residents appointed by the City Council conduct public hearings to review claims, hear testimony and determine significant view impairment.  The Committee may approve a view restoration order and establish a maintenance schedule for the subject vegetation on the property. The View Restoration Committee generally meets on the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. 

Interviews and appointments will be conducted on Tues, March 27, at 6 p.m., by the City Council in the City Council Chambers, 505 Forest Ave. Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on this committees should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or on-line from the City’s website, www.lagunabeachcity.net and file by Thurs, March15, at 5:30 p.m. Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at 497-0705. Applications will not be accepted after the March 15 deadline.

Partial Closure of Glenneyre Parking Structure on Feb 13 and 15 -  On February 13, the lower floor of the Glenneyre parking structure will be closed for cleaning and maintenance from 7 a.m. until noon.  

On February 15, the upper floor of the parking structure will be closed for cleaning and maintenance from 7 a.m. until noon. The closure will be posted 24 hours in advance and one floor of parking will be available at all times during the work. The entire structure will be available for parking on Valentine’s Day.

Mindfulness & Meditation for Breast Cancer Survivors - A breast cancer diagnosis and life during and after treatment often leaves individuals suffering from anxiety and fear. Growing research has shown that the use of mindfulness and meditation is a healthy and effective tool in mitigating these symptoms and providing quality of life.  Join presenter Anusha Wijeyakumar, Wellness Consultant for Hoag Hospital on Tuesday, Feb 27, from 5:30  – 7 p.m. at the Community & Susi Q Center.

Space is limited, call (949) 464-6645 to register or visit www.lagunabeachcity.net click “recreation classes.”

Community Assistance Grants - The City of Laguna Beach is now accepting applications for Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Community Assistance Grants. The Community Assistance Grant program is available to non-profit organizations that provide special services to residents of Laguna Beach. The objective of this program is to assist local organizations in funding new projects and/or expanded services within our community.

Like last year, we are utilizing an online application submittal process. Visit www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com to start the application process.  Additional information can be found on the City’s website at http://lagunabeachcity.net/CAG.  This year, the deadline has been extended by one month. The new deadline for applications submitted electronically will be Thurs, March 29, 5:30 p.m.

Hiring Beach Patrol Officers (part-time) - The Laguna Beach Police Department seeks enthusiastic, career-minded individuals to assist in the patrol and enforcement of Municipal and State codes within the City. Under the supervision of the Civilian Services Administrator or the Watch Commander, the Beach Patrol Officer, working with a partner, interacts with City residents and visitors at beaches and parks in a summer-style City uniform to enforce various City and State codes, rules, and regulations in a professional and courteous manner. To apply you must be at least 18 years of age. All prospective applicants must successfully pass through a thorough police background check. For more information on this position or to apply click here.

Hiring Police Aides (part-time) - The City of Laguna Beach seeks enthusiastic, dedicated individuals to serve in the capacity of Part-time Police Aide. Under the supervision of Laguna Beach Police Department personnel, the Police Aide directs traffic as needed and provides orderly control of pedestrian traffic and vehicular parking in an assigned area. The Police Aide also assists with other departmental tasks and support work, performs some parking enforcement duties, and performs other various assigned duties within the Police Department. Police Aides will be expected to direct traffic, requiring to stand for periods up to eight hours a day. To apply you must be at least 18 years of age. All prospective applicants must successfully pass through a thorough police background check. For more information on this position or to apply click here.


Commission approves a three-month trial of live music at Dizz’s

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Dizz’s As Is has three months to prove that live music won’t bother neighbors. 

The Planning Commission approved a test of the impact of live music from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday evenings. Opposition was expressed by neighbors.  

“I’m here to create a little something for the locals,” said applicant Dominic Pitz.

Locals are among the restaurant’s most devoted patrons. Former City Manager Ken Frank chose Dizz’s As Is for his retirement party in 2010.

Frank and Michelle and Mayor Kelly Boyd were among the diners for Wednesday night’s musical debut.

“There were six of us and we asked to sit outside because we couldn’t hear ourselves talk inside,” said Boyd. “I don’t think Dizz’s is the place to have live music where people are eating. Outside was great.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Dizz’s As Is will feature music on Wednesday evenings

The application submitted by Pitz requested permission for performances on acoustic guitar, keyboard or other stringed instruments playing blues, jazz and classic soft rock. 

A noise study commissioned by Pitz was included in the application. 

The study measured noise impacts on multiple days between 5:30 and 9 p.m. from two locations inside the restaurant and from three spots outside. 

Sound levels increased up to 10 decibels when monitored from 10 to 15 feet away from the musicians. Outside levels reportedly did not exceed ambient traffic noise, regardless of location. 

The Pitz family has operated a restaurant at South Coast Highway and Nyes Place since 1977, bought from a couple said to be part of the hippie community in Laguna. 

It was just barely in Laguna at that time. Laguna Beach ended south of Nyes Place until the city annexed South Laguna in 1987.

According to the staff report, the 1920s cottage had first served as a lunch counter and grocery beginning in 1946.

The cottage and grounds now include the restaurant, a covered patio, three off-site parking spaces, a one-car garage and a residence above the garage.


City Manager’s Updates

City Hall Closed - City Hall will be closed this Friday, Feb 16 through Presidents Day, Monday Feb 19. Essential public safety services will still be operating every day. City Hall will reopen on Tues, Feb 20 at 7:30 a.m.

Holiday Street Sweeping Schedule - On President’s Day, Monday Feb 19, street sweeping and parking enforcement will only occur in commercial areas. For more information, contact Senior Fleet Maintenance Supervisor, Austin Comp at (949) 464-6637.

Third Street Hill Resurfacing- On Feb 20 and 21, a high friction surface treatment will be applied to the uphill side of the steep portion of Third Street to reduce vehicles slipping in the area. To accommodate the work, northbound Third Street will be closed between Mermaid Street and Park Avenue from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. on both days. 

Southbound Third Street will remain closed from 9 a.m. on February 20 until 6 p.m. on February 21. A non-toxic odor may be noticeable in this area for several days after the application. For questions, call Mark Trestik at (949) 497-0300.

Coffee with a Cop - Join us on Sat, Feb 17, from 8 to 11 a.m. in the driveway of 470 Graceland Drive for coffee and doughnuts. Personnel from the Laguna Beach Police Department will be passing out information as well as meeting with residents.  

The mission of Coffee with a Cop is to reduce communication barriers and allow for the free flow of information between police officers and the citizens they serve.  It provides residents with the opportunity to meet some of their local officers while also being able to ask questions and voice concerns.  We hope to see you there!

Public Art Dedication - On Sunday, Feb 18, at 3:30 p.m. the public is invited to the dedication of “Boom Boom Peal Step from Ocean Hill” by artist Michael Stutz at the beach access at Mountain Road. This installation has been funded by Laguna Beach residents Mark Porterfield and Steve Chadima.

2018 Public Art Projects – Call for Artists - The City of Laguna Beach is currently accepting applications from qualified artists with demonstrated experience in public art. Applicants may apply for one or all projects. The sites are at the Agate Street and Thalia Street Beach access and the Third Street Stairway Project. 

For information about the call for artists and honorarium visit www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com

These projects are being funded by Laguna Beach residents Linda and Toni Bonnici, Greg, Bobbi and Dick Nathanson, Tammie Arnold and Mark Porterfield.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Third Street steps, future site of public art

Art That’s Small at City Hall - Save time on drop-off day by pre-registering for Art That’s Small by March 5. Email the completed guidelines to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.

Literary Laureate - We are looking for a Literary Laureate to serve as an ambassador and raise awareness of the power of literature, poetry and the spoken word. Guidelines at www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach. 

Banner Competition - We are currently accepting designs for the 2018 banner competition. Deadline for submissions is March 12. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach

Downtown Specific Plan Update – Review Section IV: Urban Design - The City of Laguna Beach will continue their efforts on the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) Update on Wed, Feb 21, during the Planning Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall. 

The Planning Commission will review and discuss MIG’s recommended draft amendments to Section IV: Urban Design of the existing DSP document. A copy of the draft amendments are available to view on the City’s website: www.lagunabeachcity.net.  

For more information on the Downtown Specific Plan Update project contact: Wendy Jung, Senior Planner, at (949) 497-0321; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force -- The City Council is accepting applications for the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force. The Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force was created by the City Council at its Jan 23 City Council meeting.  

The Task Force will consist of (9) nine members of the Public selected by two City Council members who will act as liaisons and non-voting members of the Task Force.  

The purpose of the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force will be to attempt to reach consensus on the Historic Preservation Ordinance and to provide recommendation(s) back to the City Council. 

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An iconic Laguna Beach historical building, pre-1926, now Urth Caffe

Applicants may be contacted by a City Council member prior to the appointments so please be prepared to make a brief statement about your desire to serve on this Task Force. Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or on-line from the City’s website, www.lagunabeachcity.net and file by Wed, Feb 28, at 5:30 p.m. Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at 497-0705. Applications will not be accepted after the Feb 28 deadline.

Two-Year Term on the View Restoration Committee - The City Council is accepting applications for (1) two-year term on the View Restoration Committee with terms beginning April 1 through March 31, 2020. Members of the View Restoration Committee adjudicate view claims submitted by property owners to restore pre-existing views that are alleged to be significantly impaired by vegetation. The five-member committee of local residents appointed by the City Council conduct public hearings to review claims, hear testimony and determine significant view impairment.  The Committee may approve a view restoration order and establish a maintenance schedule for the subject vegetation on the property.  

The View Restoration Committee generally meets on the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. Interviews and appointments will be conducted on Tues, March 27, at 6 p.m., by the City Council in the City Council Chambers, 505 Forest Avenue. Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on this committees should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or on-line from the City’s website, www.lagunabeachcity.net and file by Thurs, March 15, at 5:30 p.m. Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at 497-0705. Applications will not be accepted after the March 15 deadline.


City Manager Updates

Patriot’s Day Parade - This year’s Patriots Day Parade is scheduled to take place on Sat, March 3, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Road closures near and along the parade route will begin in the downtown area at 10 a.m. The Farmers’ Market will be closed that day and will return on Sat, March 10.

Take the Trolley to the Patriots Day Parade! -Catch the trolley or the City bus and you will be downtown in plenty of time for the Patriots Day Parade. Neighborhood Transit Service will be operating on a regular Saturday schedule starting at 9:30 a.m. and the Coastal Routes will start early at 9 a.m. to get you to the parade!  For schedule and route information, visit: www.lagunabeachcity.net/trolley.

Literary Laureate Deadline - The deadline to apply for the 2018-19 position of Laguna Beach Literary Laureate is March 1. The position is open to Laguna Beach residents with an established background in literary arts. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. Apply online at www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com

Art That’s Small Pre-registration - Pre-register for Art That’s Small at City Hall by March 5. The annual small art exhibition is open to Orange County residents ages 18 and older. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. View the guidelines under the Calls for Artists tab at www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art/.

Community Development Department Closed at 3 p.m. Friday, Feb 23 - With a goal of continual improvement, the Community Development Department staff is currently evaluating its permit processing system to improve customer service and efficiencies. To allow staff in the department to work on this effort together, on Friday, Feb 23, the Department’s building and zoning permitting, in addition to other counter services, will be closed from 3 p.m. to the end of the workday (4:30 p.m.). 

SCE Pole Replacement - Southern California Edison (SCE) will be replacing an Edison Pole in front of 325 Diamond Street from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. on March 6. Diamond Street will be closed from Glenneyre Street to Catalina Street for the duration of the work. For questions or concerns, please contact SCE’s contractor, Mark Rollins at 714-451-5896.

Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force -- The City Council is accepting applications for the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force. The Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force was created by the City Council at its Jan 23, City Council meeting.  

The Task Force will consist of (9) nine members of the Public selected by two City Council members who will act as liaisons and non-voting members of the Task Force.  The purpose of the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force will be to attempt to reach consensus on the Historic Preservation Ordinance and to provide recommendation(s) back to the City Council. 

Applicants may be contacted by a City Council member prior to the appointments so please be prepared to make a brief statement about your desire to serve on this Task Force. Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or online from the City’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net and file by Wed, February 28, at 5:30 p.m. Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at 497-0705. Applications will not be accepted after the February 28, 2018 deadline.

Two-Year Term on the View Restoration Committee - The City Council is accepting applications for (1) two-year term on the View Restoration Committee with terms beginning April 1, 2018, through March 31, 2020. Members of the View Restoration Committee adjudicate view claims submitted by property owners to restore pre-existing views that are alleged to be significantly impaired by vegetation.  The five-member committee of local residents appointed by the City Council conduct public hearings to review claims, hear testimony and determine significant view impairment.  

The Committee may approve a view restoration order and establish a maintenance schedule for the subject vegetation on the property.  

The View Restoration Committee generally meets on the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. Interviews and appointments will be conducted on Tues, March 27, at 6 p.m., by the City Council in the City Council Chambers, 505 Forest Ave. Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on this committees should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or online from the City’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net  and file by Thurs, March 15, at 5:30 p.m. Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at 497-0705. Applications will not be accepted after the March 15 deadline.


City is in the black – CalPers, not so much

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Laguna Beach ended fiscal year 2016-17 firmly in the black, $4.8 million above the mandated 20 percent reserve.

There is no lack of projects or programs on which to spend it. 

The City Council has the happy task of perusing on Tuesday the recommendations for one-time expenditures of roughly $4.3 million and the less enjoyable jolt of at least one ongoing expenditure. The recommendations came from City Manager John Pietig in coordination with Director of Administrative Services Gavin Curran and Finance Officer Nancy Pauley.

Major One-time Expenditures

$1 million to fund an IT Master Plan, equipment and software replacement;

$1 million transfer to the City’s Insurance Fund;

$500,000 for Laguna Art Museum and Laguna Playhouse grants;

$500,000 legal costs;

$500,000 reserve for capital improvement projects; and

$300,000 transfer to the city’s Open Space Fund.

The only fly in the ointment is the ongoing funding of $450,000 for California Public Employees Retirement System. 

CalPers has lowered its expected return on investments from 7.5 percent to seven percent and it amortization period from 30 years to 20 years. 

Just the change in the estimated return is expected to increases future city costs by $2.8 million. 

The 22 recommendations for one-time and ongoing expenditures in the agenda would be funded by a 6.7 percent higher increase in property taxes compared to expectations. Hotel taxes were up 7.8 percent over estimates and sales tax was up 1.5 percent.

Parking fund revenue exceeded expectations by $900,000 and the Capital Improvement Fund added $1.3 million to the available balance. 

Pietig also credited judicious spending by departments for paring the budget.

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Parking revenue exceeded expectations in 2016-17

The recommendations, if approved, would leave $491,000 in the General Plans starting balance of $4,830,000.

A second and shorter list of one-time and ongoing expenditures includes requests by council members and department heads.   

The Fire Department requested $200,000 one-time funding and $160,000 in ongoing funding to develop a strategic plan. Public Works asked for $100,000 to create an Urban Forest Management Plan. The Finance Division would like to add an administrative analyst to the staff at an ongoing cost of $117,800. An additional administrative assistant in Public Works was estimated to cost $92,800.

Staff recommendations to council

Staff recommended that the council update the 2017-18 and 2018-19 adopted budget by accepting the June 30, 2017 ending balance, and also:

Approve additions and adjustments;

Approve capital equipment and vehicle purchases;

Ratify compensation for part-time employees;

Direct Pietig to return to council with options for fund the on-going costs related to the Urban Forest Management Plan;

Authorize Pietig to enter into a contract for public outreach services up to $50,000.


City Manager’s Updates

Laguna Beach Little League Opening Day - Festivities are scheduled at Riddle Field on Friday, March 2, from 5 – 8 p.m., for Laguna Beach Little League Opening Day, weather permitting. Questions, please call Alexis Braun, Senior Recreation Supervisor at (949) 497-0762.

Patriots Day Parade will go on, rain or shine - This year’s Patriots Day Parade is scheduled to take place on Sat, March 3, from 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Road closures near and along the parade route will begin downtown at 10 a.m. To help with traffic the City’s Weekend Trolley Service will begin at 9 a.m. The Farmers’ Market will be closed that day, and will return on Sat, March 10. We plan to hold the 2018 Patriots Day Parade even if it is lightly raining or the ground is wet. We will cancel it only if we have a safety concern.  If we do cancel it, the notice of cancelation will be posted on the City’s website at www.lagunbeachcity.net

Friday Flicks - Friday Flicks continues this Friday, March 2, at the Forum Theatre, 650 Laguna Canyon Road featuring The Whole Gritty City, Unrated, 89 mins. Doors open at 6:30 p.m. Screening starts at 7 p.m. This event is funded by Laguna Beach residents Mark Porterfield and Steve Chadima.

479 Ocean Avenue Termite Treatment - Starting at 4 p.m. on Sat, March 3, 479 Ocean Avenue, currently under renovation, is scheduled for tenting and termite treatment. The two adjoining buildings, Peter Blake Art Gallery and the Laguna Beach Animal Hospital, must be tented and treated as well due to shared common walls. The tents will be removed by 9 a.m. on March 5 so the businesses can resume operation.

City Council Review of Draft Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Ordinance - The Laguna Beach City Council will review Planning Commission and staff recommendations for a draft ordinance amendment to Chapter 25.17 of the Laguna Beach Municipal Code and an amendment to the City’s Local Coastal Program relating to Accessory Dwelling Units, also referred to as the Second Residential Unit Ordinance.

The City Council meeting will be held on Tues, March 6, at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers located at 505 Forest Avenue. To view a copy of the staff report for this item, please refer to the agenda posted on the City’s website: www.lagunabeachcity.net.

Arbor Day Celebration on Wed, March 7 - The City’s First Arbor Day Celebration and Tree Planting Ceremony will be held at Jahraus Park on Wed, March 7 from 3 to 6 p.m. To kick off the event, the City Council at its February 27 meeting proclaimed March 7 to 14 of each year as Arbor Week in Laguna Beach to coincide with the annual State and California recognition of California Arbor Week.  

This fun event for families will feature activities and crafts for kids, live music, tree experts, community groups and garden clubs, and giveaways.  This will be a fun educational event for the whole family!

Downtown Concrete Repairs - Beginning on March 5, a City contractor will be performing sidewalk repairs by slant cutting at 63 locations in the downtown area. Slant cutting leaves a more aesthetically pleasing finished surface when compared to abrasive grinding. The work is expected to be completed in four to five business days.  

For more information, please contact Maintenance Supervisor, Wayne Chintala at 949-464-6637.

South Coast Highway Lane Closure - Between 10 p.m. on March 7 and 5 a.m. on March 8, the Laguna Beach County Water District will have one northbound lane of South Coast Highway closed, between Bluebird Canyon Drive and Oak Street, for transmission valve maintenance. For more information, contact Lisa Dunbar at 949-464-3119.

Poet Laureate’s Showcase - The public is invited to attend a Poet Laureate Showcase featuring literary artists Francesca Bell, Victoria Patterson and Kate Buckley on Thurs, March 8, at the LCAD Gallery, 374 Ocean Avenue at 7 p.m. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Art That’s Small at City Hall - Delivery date for Art That’s Small at City Hall is Sat, March 10, at City Hall, 505 Forest Avenue between 9 a.m. – 11 a.m.  Please contact Mike McGregor, Arts Program Coordinator at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. View the guidelines at www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art/.

Free Compost Giveaway on Sat, March 10 - The annual compost giveaway event will be held on Sat, March 10, from 8 a.m. to noon, at the City Maintenance Facilities parking lot, located at 1900 Laguna Canyon Road. Free compost will be available in appreciation of the recycling efforts by Laguna Beach residents. This is a self-service event. Please visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/recycling for more information.


City News

Council dips into flush city exchequer to fund recommended spending

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council on Tuesday divvied up the majority of the $4.8 million windfall from better-than-expected revenues in fiscal year 2016-17.

Six recommendations were given a green light, with only a couple of changes. The council voted to allocate $15,000 for an assessment of the costs to improve the unusable interior of the Digester Building and to boost the South Laguna Community Garden’s $251,000 reserve fund to $500,000, subject to garden supporters matching it.  

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Digester Building

Twenty-two expenditures, one-time and on-going, were recommended by City Manager John Pietig in coordination with Director of Administrative Services Gavin Curran and Finance Officer Nancy Pauley.

Approved major one-time expenditures

$1 million to fund an IT Master Plan, equipment and software replacement

$1 million transfer to the City’s Insurance Fund

$500,000 for Laguna Art Museum and Laguna Playhouse grants

$500,000 legal costs

$500,000 reserve for capital improvement projects

$300,000 transfer to the City’s Open Space Fund

The approved expenditures will be funded by higher than expected tax revenue: property tax was up 6.7 percent, hotel taxes were up 7.8 percent and sales tax was up 1.5 percent.

Parking fund revenue exceeded expectations by $900,000 and the Capital Improvement Fund added $1.3 million to the available balance. 

A second and shorter “wish list” was tabled by Pietig at the hearing. He asked the council to hold off funding the mostly on-going expenditures while he deals with some recent developments. 

The lone exception was a one-time expenditure of $200,000 earmarked for a Fire Department strategic plan and $160,000 to hire a Fire Captain, which would not go into effect until July, when the fiscal year begins. 

Six recommended actions approved by the council

Update the 2017-18 and 2018-19 adopted budget by accepting the June 30, 2017 ending balance;

Approve additions and adjustments to 2017-18 and 2018-19 adopted budget, as modified;

Approve capital equipment and vehicle purchases, for which funding has already been set aside;

Ratify compensation for part-time employees;

Direct Pietig to return to council with options for funding the on-going costs related to the Urban Forest Management Plan and management of the forest;

Authorize Pietig to enter into a contract for public outreach services up to $50,000.  

CalPERS funding continues to plague the City

Funding for the California Public Employees Retirement System continues to plague the City.

CalPers has lowered its expected return on investments from 7.5 percent to 7 percent and its amortization period from 30 years to 20 years. 

Just the change in the estimated return is expected to increase future City costs by $2.8 million.

Curran advised the council to take no permanent action on funding until the changes shake out.


Council proclaims March 14-17 as Arbor Week: Arbor Day celebration will take place at Jahraus Park

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council on Tuesday took the last step needed to apply for Tree City USA status with the Arbor Day Foundation.

Laguna joins more than 3,400 American communities that have qualified for the status by meeting four core standards of sound urban forestry management according to the city staff. 

City staff opined that becoming a Tree City would demonstrate the City’s commitment to maintaining a healthy urban forest and promote the benefits that trees provide residents, businesses and visitors.

The status requires maintaining a tree board or department responsible for tree care, enacting and spending at least $2 per capita on urban forestry and celebrating Arbor Day.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Trees, park at Top of the World

Laguna needed only to officially celebrate Arbor Day to qualify – and the council took care of that with a proclamation – and went a step further by proclaiming March 7 to 14 Arbor Week.

“I applaud you and the vigilant people in town,” said Barbara McGillivray.

She and her husband, filmmaker Greg McGillivray, have pledged $50,000 to set up a private foundation to fund trees that enhance Laguna.

Trees can reduce erosion of top soil due to wind and water cut heating and cooling costs, moderate temperature, clean the air, produce life-giving oxygen, reduce greenhouse emissions, provide for wildlife and when properly planted are a source of joy and spiritual renewal, according to the proclamation. 

Further: Besides beautifying the city, trees increase property values.  

Arbor Day began in 1872 when J. Sterling Morton proposed to the Nebraska Board of Agriculture that a special day be set aside to plant trees.

Councilwoman Toni Iseman, a Nebraska native, takes special pride in Morton’s accomplishment.


Chamber submits spending plan for council approval

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council on Tuesday approved without comment the detailed explanation of how the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce plans to spend the $50,000 allocated for economic development services.

Three major goals were submitted by the Chamber for funding at the 2017 Budget Workshop: Business retention, expansion and attraction; Changing consumer habits; and Support for the Cultural Arts Program.

“The Chamber is very happy with the City’s action in approving an action plan based on the decision made last June for the two-year budget,” said Norm Grossman, Chamber board member.

“Much of the funds will be used as seed money for our primary goal of improving the retail environment for residents and visitors.”  

Tasks are tied to action items contained in the council-approved Fiscal Years 16-18 Economic Development Action Plan.  

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The Chamber works hard to promote the city to businesses

Examples of tasks include updating the list of commercial vacancies on the Chamber’s website to encourage businesses to open in Laguna Beach; planning business-related events such as retail forums; developing and producing information packages to attract new businesses; develop and maintain a social media campaign to encourage residents to shop locally; and to collaborate with businesses and the city to increase Chamber participation in initiatives to increase economic activity in the city. 

The Chamber was late in submitting the proposed scope of work due to a staff turnover last fall.

Tasks and costs were included in the submittal:  total of $47,000 to complete strategies outlined in the Business Retention Goal.

Proposed strategies include identifying gaps in local retail and make the listing public to encourage leases and sales, facilitating networking, developing “Open for Business” and “Welcome to Laguna Beach” packages for new and existing businesses, developing the “Think Laguna First” social media program geared toward residents and visitors and collaboration with   merchants and the city to modify ordinances to be more business friendly. 

The Chamber will submit quarterly progress reports to the city throughout the term of the agreement.


Council wants more review before approving law on accessory units

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Proposed revisions to the City’s second-unit ordinance need more careful consideration of the impact on neighborhood character, density, privacy, public safety, parking, enforcement and benefits before the council is willing to approve an alteration.  

The council on Tuesday watched a lengthy Power Point presentation, listened to opinions from the public and debated proposed revisions in a 90-minute hearing before deciding it needed more time to digest the inch-thick agenda bill before rendering an informed opinion on so-called ADUs and JADUs. Council comments will be included in the minutes of the meeting.  

“I think this is the most complex issue I have seen as a member of the council,” said Steven Dicterow, an attorney.

For those who did not attend public workshops or the numerous meetings held by the Planning Commission, ADUs are Accessory Dwelling Units, a new name for second units in a separate structure. Add a J and you get Junior Accessory Units, mostly carved out of the interior of an existing building. Both are endorsed by the Laguna Beach Seniors as a way the city’s elderly can afford to age in place.

Speaking on behalf of the seniors, Cody Engle outlined the group’s recommendations.

One unit of an ADU be owner occupied

Limit deed restriction to 10 or 15 years on rent- and age-restricted units for seniors or low-income renters

Require registration of an ADU every two years, including certification of owner occupancy

Three years of existence before space can be converted to an ADU

Clarify if design review is required when an ADU is added to existing space.  

Emergency access issues a major concern

Not mentioned by Engle, but a major concern for the Emergency/Disaster Preparedness Committee is the danger of more development in neighborhoods designated by the city as having limited emergency access – tight corners, narrow streets or street parking that hinder fire-fighting equipment.  

“We urge the city to foster housing solutions where seniors and others who need help can live safely, without creating added risk for themselves, their neighbors or first responders,” said Matt Lawson, committee chair.  

Since January 2017, the state has required every California community to provide ADUs – a sort of one-size-all fix-it for the dearth of affordable housing (somewhat of an oxymoron in South Orange County), without regard for possible adverse impacts on the community. 

“There is a benefit to the community to the extent the intent is to provide housing options for family members, students, the elderly, in-home health care providers and the disabled,” said South Laguna resident John Thomas.

“But the state mandate does not require that these be the only beneficiaries – and it does not require that these options be affordable, but merely no higher than at market prices – so all the state is doing is facilitating increased intensity of land use with no mitigation on the impacts on the infrastructure of the increased intensity.”

“Easier to roll out than to reel in”

“A program like this is easier to roll out than to reel in.”

Laguna Beach resident Court Shannon recommended that the city save time and energy and just abide by the state law in a letter read by Peter Stechman.

“I recommend Laguna follow the prevailing State Laws first and see if there are issues that even require a new ordinance that is restrictive in any way,” Stechman read.

Shannon maintains that the way the city’s ordinance is drafted now will further deter creation of ADUs and make them cost-prohibitive, based on limited size.

He has been thwarted in his attempt to build a second unit on his Temple Hills Drive property. 

The letter also contained opposition to the proposal that ADUs must be within a half-mile of an OCTA stop. The state version states only that public transportation be within a half-mile.

Councilman Bob Whalen also took exception to the notion that the city has no other public transportation that qualifies. 

“Those little Blue Buses have been around for years and should be included,” Whalen said. 

However on the wall behind the dais was a map of the city’s bus and trolley routes and the warning “Use It or Lose It,” as City staff tries to determine whether to revamp or even eliminate the service. 

Staff was directed to incorporate council comments into a future review, consult with City Attorney Philip Kohn and bring more people to the table for further discussion.

No date was set for a hearing.


City Manager’s Updates

Coffee with a Cop & Emergency Personnel – Please join us on Saturday, March 10 from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. at Mission Hospital located at 31872 Coast Hwy. Personnel from Mission Hospital, Laguna Beach Police Department, Laguna Beach Fire Department, Laguna Beach Lifeguards, OC Parks, OC Lifeguards and Doctors Ambulance will be present. There will be a vehicle display and photo opportunities. Hope to see you there!

Interim Outdoor Display and Portable Sign Permits – In an effort to strike a balance amongst business owners advertising their business and complying with the City Manager’s Municipal Code, the City Council approved an interim six-month period between March 1 and August 31, 2018, allowing for the placement of outdoor signage and displays subject to specific guidelines. Portable signs and outdoor displays are subject to administrative approval by the Community Development Director. One A-frame sign per business not to exceed six square feet would be allowed as long as it is consistent with the architectural attributes of the building in which the business is located. Outdoor displays are permitted, provided that they are limited to an area of 18 square feet and inclusive of no more than five items also related to the type of business. All signage and displays are limited to private property only. A Temporary Outdoor Display/Sign Permit application may be submitted to the Community Development Department along with a drawing or photograph of the proposed signage or outdoor display for review. No fee will be required during this six-month interim period.

Free Active Shooter Incident Preparedness Seminar – Please join us on Tuesday, March 13 from 6 p.m. – 8 p.m. at Susi Q Community Center located at 380 3rd Street for a review of past and recent active shooter incidents. There will be instruction on what to do during an active shooter incident and information on how to individually and organizationally prepare for an active shooter incident. Registration is required so please visit the City website at www.lagunabeachcity.net, and click the “Sign up for a Class” icon and then the “Special Events” tab. You may also sign up at the Community & Susi Q Center or call for more information at (949) 464-66445.

Beach Street Lane Closure – On March 8 and 9, between 7 a.m. and 11 a.m., the City will have one direction of Beach Street between Forest Avenue and Ocean Avenue closed for annual tree trimming. For more information, please contact Robert Sedita, Public Works Sr. Administrative Analyst at (949) 497-0740.

Hiring Summer Bus Driver, Trolley Stewards and Parking Lot Attendants (part-time) – The Laguna Beach Public Works Department is seeking enthusiastic, safety conscious individuals to assist with summer positions in the Transit and Parking Division. The Summer Bus Driver drives a bus or trolley on a set route for the duration of the summer festival season and the Trolley Stewards assist passengers and visitors and narrates information aboard the City’s trolleys and buses throughout the summer festival season. Parking Lot Attendants work in the City’s parking lots assisting patrons, collecting fees and keeping lots clean. All prospective applicants must successfully pass through a thorough police background check. For more information or to apply visit: www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/citygov/administrative_services/personnel/opportunities.htm

Arts Marketing Workshop – Save the Date – The City of Laguna Beach is offering a free marketing workshop on Saturday, April 7. Presenters Rosenn Weiss and Con Cristeson will present, “Artists are the Heart of the Community.” For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

2018 Public Art Projects – Call for Artists – The City of Laguna Beach is currently accepting applications from qualified artists with demonstrated experience in public art. Applicants may apply for one or all projects. The sites are at the Agate Street and Thalia Street Beach access and the Third Street Stairway Project. For information about the call for artists and honorarium please visit http://lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com. These projects are being funded by Laguna Beach residents Linda and Toni Bonnici, Greg, Bobbi and Dick Nathanson, Tammie Arnold and Mark Porterfield.

Spring Quarter & Summer Camp 2018 Registration Activities – Registration for spring 2018 recreation activities for all ages and young summer camps are currently open. To register and see the list of programs available please visit:https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/catalog/index

Smart Gardening Series, “Terrific Tomatoes” – Ahhh, the taste of homegrown tomatoes! You’ll enjoy learning about the many varieties, their culture, diseases and pests, and growing in the ground vs. growing in containers. Join Master Gardener Kris Bonner and Saturday, March 17 from 9 a.m. – 10 a.m. at the Community & Susi Q Center, 380 Third Street. Registration is required, call (949) 464-6645 or visit www.lagunabeachcity.net and click on “Sign up for a Class.”

Glenneyre Parking Structure Painting – On Tuesday, March 13, the City will be painting handrails and other metal items at the Glenneyre parking garage. No interruption in parking or services is expected. For more information, please contact Maintenance Supervisor Wayne Chintala at (949) 464-6637.

Heisler Park Gazebo Painting – On Wednesday, March 14, the City will be painting the gazebo in Heisler Park. The gazebo area will be closed during the work and is expected to be opened the following day. For more information, please contact Maintenance Supervisor Wayne Chintala at (949) 464-6637.

Free Compost Giveaway on Saturday, March 10 – The annual compost giveaway event will be held on Saturday, March 10 from 8 a.m. to noon at the City Maintenance Facilities parking lot, located at 1900 Laguna Canyon Road. Free compost will be available in appreciation of the recycling efforts by Laguna Beach residents. This is a self-service event. Please visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/recylcing for more information.


City Manager’s Updates

Utility Undergrounding Information Web Page - Information regarding the City’s efforts to date and various funding options under consideration by the City Council for utility undergrounding along the City’s key evacuation routes is now available on the City’s web site at www.lagunabeachcity.net/utilityundergrounding.

Annual Composting Classes - The City’s solid waste hauler, Waste Management, will offer the first of four free composting classes planned for 2018 on Sat, March 17, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Bluebird Park, located at 798 Bluebird Canyon Drive. Compost and worm bins will be available for purchase during the class at a discounted price.  

For more information visit the city’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net/recycling, or contact the Waste Management class instructor, Lisa Ryder, at (310) 874-2499.

Laguna Beach Police Department Welcomes New Officers - On Friday, March 16, two new officers graduate from the Golden West Criminal Justice Training Center Academy. Please join us in welcoming Officer Ryan Radel and Officer Wade Kraus to the Laguna Beach Police Department!

Art That’s Small at City Hall – Artist Reception and Award Ceremony - The public is invited to a reception on Thurs, April 5, at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 505 Forest Ave. Winners of the 2018 Art That’s Small at City Hall competition will be announced. The exhibition can be viewed through April 20. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

2018 Banner Competition Winners - On March 12, Arts Commission reviewed 21 submissions and selected designs by Bill Atkins, Al Esquerra, Kelly Hartigan Goldstein and Cydette Vikander for the 2018 Banner Competition. The completed banners will be displayed at Main Beach starting in May. 

To see the winning designs visit: http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art/default. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Arts Marketing Workshop - Artists and arts organizations are invited to this free workshop to be held on Saturday, April 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Presenters Roseann Weiss and Con Christeson will explore entrepreneurial development, collaboration and opportunity. Information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or register at https://clb_artsmarketingworkshop.eventbrite.com. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Poet Laureate Webpage - Keep up-to-date on the writing of Laguna Beach’s first Poet Laureate, Kate Buckley. You may follow Kate’s monthly posts on the City’s website at: http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art/poet_laureate/poems.htm. This project is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

2018 Public Art Projects – Call for Artists - The City of Laguna Beach is currently accepting applications from qualified artists with demonstrated experience in public art. Applicants may apply for one or all projects. The sites are at the Agate Street and Thalia Street Beach access and the Third Street Stairway Project. For information about the call for artists and honorarium please visit www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com

These projects are being funded by Laguna Beach residents Linda and Toni Bonnici, Greg, Bobbi and Dick Nathanson, Tammie Arnold and Mark Porterfield.


City Manager’s Updates

Caltrans – Overhead Warning Sign Emergency Replacement - Beginning Monday, March 26, Caltrans will mobilize to remove and replace a failing overhead sign structure located on N Coast Highway, approximately 2000 feet south of the El Morro Elementary School entrance.  

Work will be conducted on weekdays between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Intermittent closures of the shoulder and/or outside travel lane can be expected through May 31. One northbound lane will be maintained for travel and southbound lanes will not be affected during this period.  

For more detailed project information, contact Oussama Issa, Caltrans Assistant Resident Engineer, at (949) 279-8821.

Utility Undergrounding Information Web Page - Information regarding the City’s efforts to date and various funding options under consideration by the City Council for utility undergrounding along the City’s key evacuation routes is now available on the City’s website by selecting the arrow icon on the home page or at www.lagunabeachcity.net/utilityundergrounding.

Police Chief on KX 93.5 - The Police Chief will participate in, “The Importance of Being Show,” that broadcasts live from the KX 93.5 FM this Sunday morning from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Junior Lifeguards - Registration for the 2018 Junior Lifeguard Program is now open to Laguna Beach residents. Participants must either pass the required swim test or have participated in the 2017 program successfully to be eligible to register. 

Swim tests will be held this Friday, March 23, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 24, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. All swim tests take place at the Laguna Beach High School and Community Pool, located at 670 Park Avenue. 

Not sure if your child is ready for the swim test? Drop-in at the Junior Guard Clinic on Saturday morning from 10 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. or 11 a.m. – 11:50 a.m. Additional information about the Junior Lifeguard Program, including a list of swim test dates, is available at: http://bit.ly/2BT1dE2.

Arts Marketing Workshop - Artists and arts organizations are invited a free workshop on Saturday, April 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Presenters Roseann Weiss and Con Christeson will explore entrepreneurial development, collaboration and opportunity. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or register at https://clb_artsmarketingworkshop.eventbrite.com. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Art That’s Small at City Hall – Artist Award Reception - The public is invited to an artist award reception on Thursday, April 5, at 5:30 p.m. at Laguna Beach City Hall, 505 Forest Ave. The exhibition can be viewed through April 20. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Friday Flicks at the Forum - The concluding Friday Flick “Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang” will be screened on Friday, April 6, at 7 p.m. at the Forum Theatre on the Festival of Arts grounds, 650 Laguna Canyon Road. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. Run time: 76 min. Unrated. Funded through the generosity of Laguna Beach residents Steve Chadima and Mark Porterfield.

Laguna Beach Literary Festival - The public is invited to a free day of readings panels, workshops and craft talks with some of California’s finest writers, hosted by Laguna Beach Poet Laureate Kate Buckley. This special event will be held on Saturday, April 14, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Orange County Public Library, Laguna Beach Branch, 363 Glenneyre Street. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. For more information, visit http://LagunaBeachLitFest.com.


City Manager’s Update

Third Street Closed on Tuesday, April 3 - From 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3, Third Street will be closed between Park Ave and Mermaid Street for tree trimming and asphalt repairs. Please use alternate routes. For more information, contact Deputy Director of Public Works, Dale Schuck at (949) 497-0735.

Park Avenue Striping Improvements - On Monday, April 2, minor traffic delays can be anticipated along Park Ave near Tahiti Ave between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. due to roadway striping improvement work. The striping on Park Avenue is being modified in order to address speeding issues of downhill traffic by narrowing the lane width into and around the sharp curve. For questions, please contact Mark Trestik at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 497-0300.

Southern California Edison Pole Repairs - On Saturday, March 31, Southern California Edison will be working at the intersection of Acacia Drive and Cedar Way to repair overhead lines. Electricity to homes and businesses should not be interrupted but a portion of Cedar Way may be closed during the repairs. Notification signs and “No Parking” signs will be posted in the vicinity. 

Coast Highway Lane Closure - On April 9 and April 10, the Southern California Gas Company will be working at the intersection of Coast Highway and 5th Ave to repair a leaking valve. The left turn pocket, and southbound number 1 lane of Coast Highway between 4th Ave and 5th Ave, will be closed during the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day.

Arts Marketing Workshop - Artists are invited to a free workshop on Saturday, April 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Presenters Roseann Weiss and Con Christeson will explore entrepreneurial development, collaboration and opportunity. For more information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or register at https://clb_artsmarketingworkshop.eventbrite.com. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Art That’s Small at City Hall – Artist Award Reception - The public is invited to an artist award reception on Thursday, April 5 at 5:30 p.m. at Laguna Beach City Hall, 505 Forest Ave. The exhibition can be viewed through April 20. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Friday Flicks at the Forum - The concluding Friday Flick “Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang” will be screened on Friday, April 6 at 7 p.m. at the Forum Theatre on the Festival of Arts grounds, 650 Laguna Canyon Road. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. Run time: 76 min. Unrated. The series has been funded through the generosity of Laguna Beach residents Steve Chadima and Mark Porterfield.

Laguna Beach Literary Festival - The public is invited to a free day of readings panels, workshops and craft talks with some of California’s finest writers, hosted by Laguna Beach Poet Laureate Kate Buckley. This special event will be held on Saturday, April 14 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Orange County Public Library, Laguna Beach Branch, 363 Glenneyre Street.  This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. For more information, visit http://LagunaBeachLitFest.com.

Call to Artists - Council Chambers Banners - The Arts Commission is holding a competition to replace the banners in the Council Chambers. The competition is open to Laguna Beach residents ages 18 and older. Entries must be submitted to the reception desk at Susi Q Community Center, 380 Third Street, by May 14 at 5 p.m. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. For full guidelines and entry form visit http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art.


Council approves Park Plaza in theory

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council on Tuesday supported the concept of closing lower Park Avenue to create a pedestrian plaza – but not for a while, and in opposition to the negative opinions of many residents. 

City Manager John Pietig was directed to move ahead on the design of semi-permanent and/or permanent Park Plaza, incorporate a Park Plaza element in the Downtown Specific Plan currently being revised and move forward simultaneously with associated traffic improvements. 

The proposed improvements on highway intersections from Broadway to Legion Street were contained in an agenda item that preceded the “evaluation of the temporary plaza concept” and approved by council. 

“We need to look at the other improvements before we make this [plaza] permanent,” said Councilman Bob Whalen.

According to a report presented by Assistant City Manager Christa Johnson, a majority of residents surveyed about the plaza or who sent emails to the city opposed the closure of the block.

“A majority of emails – the vast majority – didn’t want the street closed down,” said Mayor Kelly Boyd. “That little street does get used as a shortcut off Coast Highway.”

Speakers at the meeting were split.

“I have been making that left-hand turn for 19 years,” said Craig Coffin. “It is a special corridor up to Mystic Hills. We have a beautiful park across the street and I am opposed [to the plaza] until we have a transportation study.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Park Plaza during the temporary trial

Loss of vehicular access is potentially significant, impactful and must be addressed by a traffic circulation study performed by a professional analyst, said Robin K. Hall.

“Traffic circulation will be altered significantly,” she said.

Councilman Steve Dicterow, who lives in North Laguna and has an office on the corner of Glenneyre and Forest Avenue, suggested folks in town should become more familiar with city streets.

He suggested getting off the highway and taking less traveled streets, starting with Aster, if they don’t want to cope with traffic on the highway from Cliff Drive to Forest Avenue.

From Aster, drivers could turn right on Rosa Bonheur, take a left onto Lower Cliff Drive, another left onto Beach and then take either a left turn on Broadway to Forest Avenue and up the Third Street hill or turn right on Broadway, left on Beach Street, right onto Forest and left onto Park.

Supporters of a permanent plaza waved a printed leaflet when a member of the audience or council spoke favorably of the plaza. 

“I went there every three or four days and I saw residents and visitors really enjoying it,” said George Weiss, whose comments caused a flutter of leaflets. ”I want to make it permanent.”

Speakers Billy Fried, Ruben Flores and Chris Prelitz were leaders in the coalition put together by Transition Laguna Beach, the Chamber of Commerce and the Laguna Beach Beautification Council, that came up last year with the idea of Park Plaza. 

The goal was to bring residents downtown in the non-summer months and entice visitors to stay longer, a benefit to local merchants, and to foster connectivity.

“The country is divided, the city is divided – the plaza helps build community,” said Prelitz on Tuesday.


Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce Spring Mixer, April 26 at Ti Amo by il Barone

Mix it up with friends and colleagues. Get to know our small business owners. Maybe get a legal tip or two. That will all be happening on April 26 as the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce mixes it up at Ti Amo by il Barone.

That’s a two-fer!

Enjoy great company with a real local crowd while indulging in Ti Amo’s antipasti and small bites, along with wines and il Barone’s signature Facci Ri Veccia (Focaccia, crescenza, mozzarella, Parma prosciutto, truffle oil. As reviewed here in Stu News, “We are talking about an amazing dish here, folks…”).

Donatella and Chef Franco Barone, owners of Ti Amo by il Barone

Ti Amo by il Barone is headed by Chef Franco Barone, who is a pretty big deal in this town and beyond. His many honors include twice being recognized as Southern California’s Chef of the Year by the Southern California Restaurant Writers Association as well as the Orange County Business Journal. The award winning chef and his wife Donatella are excited to welcome their guests to their Italian bungalow, located at 31727 Coast Hwy in Laguna Beach. They are serving up savory authentic Italian cuisine, perfectly paired wines, and sweet treats.

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce delivers another classy and fun opportunity for attendees to mix and mingle with friends, and connect with new business colleagues and community leaders. 

The Chamber Mixer is from 6 – 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 26. Attendees will receive a complimentary welcome beverage and two drink tickets. Antipasti, small bites and the Facci Ri Veccia will be served. There will be opportunity drawings to win special prizes and surprises.

To register online, visit www.LagunaBeachChamberSpringMixer.


Beautification Council holds Annual Membership meeting at Montage

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Allan Schoenherr was the guest speaker at the 2018 annual Beautification Council Membership Meeting, held at Montage Laguna Beach.

Schoenherr is a photographer and author of “A Natural History of California” and “Wild and Beautiful: A Natural History of Open Space in Orange County.”

“I spoke about places to go and hike and what you might see when you got there,” said Schoenherr. 

Submitted photo

Allan Schoenherr

His talk was accompanied by slides. 

Council President George Weiss presided over the meeting.

The council was started in 1952 by the late Harry Lawrence. The group’s first project was a cleanup of Coast Highway and Laguna Canyon Road, removing scrub and weeds with the assistance of the Rotary Club of Laguna Bach and the US Marines.

The most notable project was Main Beach that Lawrence liked to call the Window to the Sea.

Inspiring beauty is the goal of the council. Its mission is to maintain and enhance the natural beauty and cleanliness in Laguna Beach and to promote beautification projects on streets, residential and commercial properties, parks and the shoreline through education and community involvement.  

“New members are always welcome,” said Emeritus board member Eleanor Henry, who joined the group when she retired in 1995. “They can fill out an application form on our website or just show up at a meeting.”

Membership dues are $35, good for January through December. There is no reduction in fees for later memberships, Henry said.

For more information about the council or membership visit website www.lagunabeachbeautificationcouncil.com.


City holds Council Chamber Banner Competition

The City of Laguna Beach Banner Competition is a project of the Arts Commission. Artists are provided with banner material on which to paint original artwork. The completed banners are displayed in the City of Laguna Beach Council Chambers. The competition is open to residents of Laguna Beach ages 18 and older. Proof of residency is required. 

Contestants are asked to submit a color design that must be drawn to scale (4 1/2 in. x 15 in.) of their banners. Bright colors are suggested, and a community celebration theme encouraged. Religious symbols are discouraged. The design will be painted on one side of the banner. Banners are not always the exact size. Allow in your design a variance of 10 percent. If you wish to have your design returned, please enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope. 

Click on photo for a larger image

2017 Banner competition winners

For judging purposes please do not sign the front of your submitted design. You may submit a maximum of two designs. 

If your design is selected you be provided with a vertical 3 ft. x 10 ft. banner. The banner must be painted with acrylics. One side must be painted. The artist’s signature and date should be placed on the lower right corner. 

Prospective designs must be delivered to: Susi Q Community Center, 380 Third Street before 5 p.m. on May 14.

The Arts Commission will review and select the designs. Selected Artists will be notified to pick up blank banners. Completed banners are to be delivered to City Hall. Winners will be recognized at the City Council meeting. 

The seven members of the City of Laguna Beach, Arts Commission (and on various occasions invited guests) judge designs anonymously for creativity and visual impact. 

Completed banners will be awarded a $900 honorarium. The completed banner and design becomes the property of the City of Laguna Beach and will be displayed when and where the City desires. 

This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. For full guidelines and entry form visit http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art.


Council greenlights four art projects

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council recently approved two temporary art projects and two permanent ones, one of which will be principally funded by a private donation.

“Word on the Street” a five-part sculpture to be installed in Heisler Park, fulfills the goal of the city’s Cultural Arts Plan to expand the focus on temporary art projects.

Los Angeles sculptor Scott Frobisher’s messaging installations will be composed of similar materials to street signs, the largest one 48 inches wide, 12 feet tall and four inches deep. The project must be approved for a temporary use permit by the Planning Commission prior to installation. It will be exhibited for 12 months from the final approval date.

“This is the kind of public art we need,” said Hillary Cole at the council hearing on the project.

The installation was unanimously recommended by the Arts Commission, which will fund the $10,000 cost from Special Programs Budget of the Business Improvement District, which is financially supported by the hostelries in Laguna Beach.

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Photo courtesy Elizabeth Turk Studios

Umbrellas equipped with LED lights will form part of the Shoreline Project

A performance art piece on Main Beach by artist Elizabeth Turk was approved by the council at the request of Laguna Art Museum Executive Director Malcolm Warner. 

The “Shoreline Project,” will be presented between 6 and 10 p.m. on November 3 as part of the LAM’s fifth “Art & Nature event.” This project also requires a Temporary Use Permit.

Somewhere between 500 and 1,000 volunteers reportedly will participate. Each will carry a custom-made umbrella equipped with LED lights and walk along a choreographed path created by Turk. 

Six signs describing the performance will be located along the pathway from the museum to Main Beach.

Adverse weather or tidal conditions could cause the cancellation of the project. 

All funding, including the costs of additional Marine Safety Department staff, will be paid by the museum. 

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Photo by Tom Berndt

Part of Scott and Naomi Schoenherr’s existing art in Heisler Park: The Divers

A $25,000 donation by Laguna Beach resident John Wolf will be used to expand Scott and Naomi Schoenherr’s Art in Public Places installation in Heisler Park. 

The existing installation includes seating, sculpture and inlaid sidewalk medallions inspired by “Giggle Crack,” commissioned by the city.   

Similar installations at the amphitheater stage and seating were unanimously recommended by the Arts Commission, which also recommended an additional $15,000 be allocated from the Art-In-Lieu Fund. 

The fund consists of required fees paid by developers of commercial projects if they do not commission art on the premises. 

Michael Gagnet, who represents the owner of the re-named Hotel Joaquin (formerly called the Motor Inn), said the developer preferred to install art rather than pay the fee. The $30,000 cost exceeds the fee that would have been levied.

Sage Vaughn’s sculpture, called “Cove Wildflower,” will be located on the exterior of the hotel near the lobby entrance.

The 25-foot tall, 8-foot wide, 3-inch deep, powder-coated aluminum sculpture will fade from yellow to orange inspired by the torch lily, commonly called the red hot poker plant.


Council to review proposed Landscaping Element

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council on Tuesday will be presented with three options to consider for the new Landscape and Scenic Highways element and the Landscape and Scenic Highways Resource Document. 

One option is the overhaul of the element as recommended by a Planning Commission sub-committee and approved by commission. However, it would require a substantial amount of work to incorporate all the changes into the element and the resource document, as well as cost $100,000, according to the staff report.

The second option is to approve the element and the resource document with the Planning Commission and Design Review Board edits that can easily be incorporated without significant time and cost. 

Thirdly, the Council could choose to approve recommended changes from the board and the Commission, excluding the Commission recommendation to reorganize the element and convert some of the larger tasks into action items. This option would cost $35,000.

Keep the documents separate, urge McErlane and Whitin

Planning Commissioner Roger McErlane and commission Chair Susan Whitin were appointed to review both the element and resource document.

McErlane and Whitin advised the Commission to keep the element and the resource document separate.

“The Commission wants to re-organize the element to make it shorter and more reader-friendly,” said former Planning Commissioner Barbara Metzger at the hearing. “It’s already acceptable for the general plan and staff has said it would take 100 hours to do the reorganizing.” 

McErlane is a master planner and urban designer who served as vice president of the Irvine Co from 1996 to 2009. Whitin prepared the landscape plan for the bluff-top park and hotel grounds at Montage Laguna Beach.

“All we wanted to do was some re-editing and re-organIzation of the element, which is a tool for the city,” said McErlane in a report to the commission. “We also wanted to define the action items in the element to begin a downtown streetscape evaluation and study.”

The resource document, also under consideration by the Council on Tuesday, was created by landscape architects Ann Christoph and Bob Borthwick. 

Christoph was a member of Selva Partners, hired by the city in 2013 to convert the resource document into an element, she said. As mayor in 1995, Christoph was liaison to the committee that created the document.


City Manager’s Updates

Community Open House on Utility Undergrounding - The community is invited to an informational open house on Utility Undergrounding on Wednesday, April 11 between 6 and 7 p.m. at the Community and Susi Q Center located at 380 Third Street to learn more about the City’s efforts to address the risks associated with the overhead utility poles and electrical wires and potential funding strategies being explored for undergrounding of utilities along Laguna Canyon Road and other key evacuation routes. To learn more, please visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/utilityundergrounding

Southern California Edison Pole Replacement - From 10 p.m. on April 15 to 7 a.m. on April 16, Southern California Edison will be replacing an Edison pole at the northeast corner of the intersection at Cleo Street and Sleepy Hollow Lane. Cleo Street, west of S. Coast Highway to Sleepy Hollow Lane will be closed during the work.  Emergency vehicle access shall be maintained via Sleepy Hollow Lane as approved by the Fire Marshal. The traffic signal at the S. Coast Highway and Cleo Street intersection will be affected by the outage with a four-way red flash initiated during the work.

Free Paint/E-Waste Drop-off and Shredding Event on Saturday, April 14 -Residents and businesses are invited to participate in the annual free drop-off event to dispose of unwanted paint, batteries, CFL bulbs, and E-Waste on Saturday, April 14 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the City Maintenance Facilities, 1900 Laguna Canyon Road. Free shredding service will also be available on site. This service is sponsored by the City and Waste Management. For more information, including a detailed list of acceptable E-Waste items, please visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/recycling or contact Liz Avila at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

City-Wide Track & Field Meet - The City of Laguna Beach will host the annual Boys & Girls Track Meet on Friday, April 20 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Laguna Beach High School. All children born in or after the year 2003 and reside in Laguna Beach or attend school within the Laguna Beach Unified School District boundaries are invited to attend. Please register online by Thursday, April 19 at: https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/catalog/index?search=track+meet.  

Friday Flicks at the Forum - The concluding Friday Flick “Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang” will be screened on Friday, April 6 at 7 p.m. at the Forum Theatre on the Festival of Arts grounds, 650 Laguna Canyon Road. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. Run time: 76 min. Unrated. Funded through the generosity of Laguna Beach residents Steve Chadima and Mark Porterfield.

Laguna Beach Literary Festival - The public is invited to a free day of readings panels, workshops and craft talks with some of California’s finest writers, hosted by Laguna Beach Poet Laureate Kate Buckley. This special event will be held on Saturday, April 14 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Orange County Public Library, Laguna Beach Branch, 363 Glenneyre Street. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach. For more information, please visit http://LagunaBeachLitFest.com.

Call to Artists – City Council Chambers Banners - The Arts Commission is inviting artists to submit designs to replace banners in the City Council Chambers. The competition is open to Laguna Beach residents ages 18 and older. Entries must be submitted to the reception desk at the Community and Susi Q Center, 380 Third Street, by May 14 at 5 p.m. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and theCity of Laguna Beach. For full guidelines and entry form, please visit http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art.

Sunset Serenades and World Music –Friday evenings from May 4 through June 8, at 6:30 p.m., the Arts Commission will present free concerts at the Heisler Park Amphitheatre with a variety of music genres.

5/4: Jackie Menter Trio – Classical

5/11: Jack Benny – Eclectic/Acoustic Pop trio

5/18: The Phil Gough/Alan Deremo Project

5/25: Maestro Lazaro Galarraga and Friends – Afro Cuban

6/1: Gamelan X with Mayang Sunda – Indonesian

6/8: L’Esprit D’ Afrique – African

This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.


City will host a free 2016 Energy Code Residential Standards Training on Tuesday, April 24

The City of Laguna Beach will be hosting a free 2016 Residential Energy code training on Tues, April 24 from 8:30 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. at the City Council Chambers, 505 Forest Ave. 

Bruce Cheney will present an interactive, “hands-on” course designed to provide plans examiners and building inspectors with the knowledge and skills needed to more quickly and effectively enforce the energy code for residential projects. 

Cheney has more than 20 years of professional experience in the field of Building Science. His combined experience in construction, project management, real estate, and energy-efficiency lead Bruce to form Anchors Aweigh Energy in 2009.  

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Photo from Anchors Aweigh Facebook page

Cheney is a certified Home Energy Rating System (HERS) rater through CalCERTS and CHEERS as well as a subject matter expert for the California Investor Owned Utilities. He is a recognized proctor and trainer in the construction industry, offering instruction on implementing new Title 24 Residential and Nonresidential Energy-Efficiency Standards for professionals ranging from contractors and energy managers to plans examiners and building inspectors. 

Anchors Aweigh Energy is a Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business in San Diego. They teach Title 24 Part 6 classes throughout Southern California as well as performing Title 24 calculations, conducting HERS inspections, and consulting on building performance

“We want to inform the Laguna Beach community of the 2016 Energy Code updates,” said Dennis Bogle, Building Official. “We want to effectively communicate energy efficiency compliance options and requirements to builders and clients, as well as help them understand the purpose of each of the residential compliance forms and related documents.”

Architects, designers, contractors, real estate professionals, residents, property and business owners are invited to attend. Continental breakfast and lunch will be provided. Available CEUs: ICC 0.7

Register at www.sce.com/energycenters. For more information, please contact Stacy Kirk, Senior Permit Technician at (949) 497-0379 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Downtown Specific Plan update will be discussed on Wednesday, April 18 at 6 p.m. at City Hall

The City of Laguna Beach will continue its efforts on the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) Update on Wednesday, April 18 during the Planning Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall (505 Forest Ave). 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

City Hall

City staff will present draft amendments to the Downtown Specific Plan for discussion with the Planning Commission.  

The focus of the presentation and discussion will be on MIG’s recommended draft amendments to portions of Section V Land Use Districts of the existing Downtown Specific Plan document. 

Specifically, the focus of Section V review will cover topics such as: the intent and purpose of land use districts, permitted land uses/required entitlements, permit processes, findings and special findings for certain uses, allowable changes in permitted use category per City Council resolution, and definitions.  

Other topics pertaining to property development standards, special planning and/or design criteria will be reviewed and discussed at a subsequent Planning Commission meeting.  

A copy of the Section V draft amendments is available to review on the project webpage (link included below).

Additional meetings will occur in 2018 to review draft amendments to other sections of the plan.  

This meeting and future meetings play an essential role to obtain input from the community and direction from the Planning Commission, and to identify the City’s priorities for the future of the Downtown.

 For more information on the Downtown Specific Plan Update please contact Wendy Jung, Senior Planner, at (949) 497-0321; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.; or visit: www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/cd/planning/mjrplanginitv/downtown_specific_plan_amendment/
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City vows to defend Most Water Wise City title: All you have to do is pledge – but why should you pledge?

Laguna Beach has been declared “most water wise city” in the nation in its category four times already. And now it’s time to defend our title once again. 

Mayor Kelly Boyd is hoping for a flood of responses from residents.

How do we get to earn this title?

Pledge! That’s all you need to do – a click or two and you’re done

It’s actually quite simple. The program is designed to raise awareness among neighbors and friends and the community in general.

So residents simply have to pledge online to do more to conserve water. It’s that simple.

Just go to www.mywaterpledge.com and make a series of online pledges to conserve water.

That’s all. 

Residents who take the challenge are entered in drawings for hundreds of eco-friendly prizes, including home improvement gift cards, home irrigation equipment, and the Grand Prize $5,000 home utility bill payment.

Why pledge?

And here are some reasons why you should go online right now and pledge:

P: Pride in our town for being water-smart winners – and not just at water polo

L: Less water now means more water later

E: Easy to do, and it’s easy savings, too

D: Do something dead simple that makes a difference 

G: Give your kids a good example of what it takes to be a responsible citizen

E: Eat, drink and be merry; celebrate with neighbors when we win again!

“Last year, Laguna Beach residents made 6,286 pledges to cut water use by 32.6 million gallons of water over the next year,” stated Boyd. 

Let’s make it 8,000 pledges this year. We can do it! Click on it now, www.mywaterpledge.com and tell everyone how easy it is to do.

The Challenge also gives residents a chance to nominate a deserving charity that would benefit from receiving a 2018 Toyota RAV4 Hybrid.

Laguna Beach County Water District provides water service to 22,000 residents within an 8.5 square mile area of LB. The District’s mission is to furnish a high quality, reliable water supply in a financially responsible manner, while promoting water-use efficiency.


City holds Community Open House on utility undergrounding this Wednesday at the Susi Q

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The City is hosting a Community Open House on utility undergrounding on Wednesday, April 11 from 6 p.m. to 7 p.m. at the Susi Q Center. 

Stop by to learn more about the City’s efforts to address the risks associated with overhead utility poles and electrical wires and potential funding strategies being explored for undergrounding of utilities along Laguna Canyon Road and other key evacuation routes. 

Speak one-on-one with City staff, ask questions and share your comments. To learn more, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/utilityundergrounding.


City Council is now accepting applications for Committees, Commissions and Boards

The City Council is accepting applications for the following Committees, Commissions and Boards: Arts Commission; Emergency Disaster Preparedness Committee; Housing and Human Services Committee; and the Planning Commission.

Interviews and appointments will be conducted on Tuesday, May 1 at 6 p.m. by the City Council in the City Council Chambers. All applicants will be interviewed.  

Applicants may be contacted by City Council members prior to the interviews and appointments so please be prepared to make a brief statement about your desire to serve on a committee.

Deadline for applications is April 20 at 5 p.m.

Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on one of these committees should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or online from the City’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net and file in the City Clerk’s office no later than Friday, April 20 at 5 p.m. Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at (949) 497-0705. Applications will not be accepted after the deadline.

Number of positions that will be open and details for the following Committees, Commissions and Boards follow: (The City Council may reduce or enlarge the number of committee members at their discretion.)

Arts Commission

Three (3) two-year terms on the Arts Commission with terms beginning July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2020.  

The Arts Commission consists of eight members, one of which is an alternate position, appointed by the City Council. Four of the seven members must be actively participating in the arts. The Commissioners are compensated in the amount of $125 per month. The Arts Commission has the power and duty to act in an advisory capacity to the City Council in all matters pertaining to the artistic aspects of the City.

Additionally, commissioners recommend to the City Council the adoption of such ordinances, rules and regulations as they may deem necessary for the administration and preservation of the fine/performing arts of the community. One of the major projects of the Commission is the implementation of the Cultural Arts Plan. 

Commission meetings are generally held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 5:30 p.m.  Meeting and preparation time may exceed several hours per week.  

Emergency/Disaster Preparedness Committee

Four (4) two-year terms on the Emergency/Disaster Preparedness Committee with terms beginning July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2020. The Emergency/Disaster Preparedness Committee is a nine-member body appointed by the City Council whose charge would be to advise the City Council on all matters pertaining to disaster prevention, planning and preparedness. The Committee will make recommendations to the City Council and will have staggered terms.  Meetings are generally held on the first Monday of the month at 6 p.m. 

Housing and Human Services Committee

Three (3) two-year terms on the Housing and Human Services Committee with terms beginning July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2020.  The Housing and Human Services Committee is currently a nine-member body appointed by the City Council whose charge would be to assess and identify housing opportunities and human needs for all segments of the community; provides input on the City’s Housing Element of the General Plan; informs and makes recommendations to the City Council and other community leaders; and increases community awareness of programs to fill these needs. 

Meetings are generally held on the first Wednesday of the month at 5 p.m.

Planning Commission

Three (3) positions on the Planning Commission with terms beginning July 1, 2018, through June 30, 2020. 

The Planning Commission is a five-member body appointed by the City Council for the purpose of reviewing and advising the Council on items related to the development and modification of land uses within the City limits. As such, the Commission reviews and recommends action on the development and amendment of the general plan, zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations and special projects related to land use planning. 

Planning Commissioners serve a two-year term and are compensated in the amount of $357 per month. The regular meetings of the Commission are held on the first and third Wednesdays of each month at 6 p.m. Study sessions may be held as part of the regular meeting or at other specified times. 

Substantial time commitment required

A substantial time commitment averaging four to six hours a week is necessary to be a Planning Commissioner. Meetings may be four or more hours long and require a great deal of preparation time. In addition to these regular meetings, Commissioners are expected to visit sites and review project proposals prior to the meeting, as well as attend special project workshops. 

It is desirable to have or be able to acquire certain skills or aptitudes, such as the ability to understand zoning regulations and their effect on allowed land uses.

Experience in land use planning, architecture, engineering and/or real estate would be an asset.


City Manager’s Update

Grand Re-opening of Thalia Street Beach Access - The City of Laguna Beach invites the community to a ribbon cutting ceremony on Tuesday, April 17 at 4 p.m. for the re-opening of the newly renovated beach access at Thalia Street.

Disposal of Sandbags - Residents can dispose of filled sand bags at the Act V Lot, 1900 Laguna Canyon Road.  Residents can also dispose of up to 10 filled sand bags by scheduling a bulky item pickup which are provided free three times per calendar year. 

To schedule a pick-up, contact Waste Management at (949) 642-1191. Filled sand bags should not be placed in the trash or recycling carts. Storage and re-use of the sandbags is recommended at least through the end of April.

Southbound Coast Highway Lane Closure on Friday, April 13 - From 9 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Friday, April 13, the Montage Resort landscape contractor will be closing the number two lane of southbound Coast Highway to trim trees. The closure will begin at the northern limits of the resort property and extend to the southern limits of Treasure Island Park.  

For more information, please contact Deputy Director of Public Works, Dale Schuck at (949) 497-0735.

Southern California Edison Pole Replacement - From 10 p.m. on April 15 to 7 a.m. on April 16, Southern California Edison will be replacing an Edison pole at the northeast corner of the intersection at Cleo Street and Sleepy Hollow Lane. Cleo Street, west of South Coast Highway to Sleepy Hollow Lane, will be closed during the work. Emergency vehicle access shall be maintained via Sleepy Hollow Lane as approved by the Fire Marshal. The traffic signal at the South Coast Highway and Cleo Street intersection will be affected by the outage with a four-way red flash initiated during the work.

Free Paint/E-Waste Drop-off & Shredding Event on Saturday, April 14 - Residents and businesses are invited to participate in the annual free drop-off event to dispose of unwanted paint, batteries, CFL bulbs, and E-Waste on Saturday, April 14 from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the City Maintenance Facilities, 1900 Laguna Canyon Road. 

Free shredding service will also be available on site. This service is sponsored by the City and Waste Management. For more information, including a detailed list of acceptable E-Waste items, please visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/recycling or contact Liz Avila at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Downtown Specific Plan Update - Review Portions of Section V: Land Use Districts - The City of Laguna Beach will continue their efforts on the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) Update on Wednesday, April 18 during the Planning Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall. 

The Planning Commission will review and discuss MIG’s recommended draft amendments to Section V: Land Use Districts of the existing DSP document. Topics covered include: the intent and purpose of land use districts, permitted land uses/required entitlements, permit processes, findings and special findings for certain uses, allowable changes in permitted use category per City Council resolution, and definitions.  

A copy of the draft amendments are available to view on the City’s website: www.lagunabeachcity.net. For more information onthe Downtown Specific Plan Update project, please contact Wendy Jung, Senior Planner, at (949) 497-0321 orThis email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

City-Wide Track & Field Meet - The City of Laguna Beach will host the annual Boys & Girls Track Meet on Friday, April 20 from 5 p.m. to 8 p.m. at Laguna Beach High School. All children born in or after the year 2003 and residing in Laguna Beach or attending school within the Laguna Beach Unified School District boundaries are invited to attend. 

Please register online by Thursday, April 19 at https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/catalog/index?search=track+meet.  

Bluebird SOCWA Lift Station Odor Control Improvement Project – Community Meeting - Water Quality staff will be holding a community meeting to present and discuss the subject project on April 19, at 6 p.m. The project will address the odors surrounding the City’s sewage lift station located at the corner of Calliope Street and Glenneyre Street.  

The presentation will cover the proposed project with details on the layout and aesthetics of the new facility. Please join as staff will be seeking input from the community. For questions, please contact Hannah Johnson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Laguna Beach Literary Festival - The public is invited to a free day of readings panels, workshops and craft talks with some of California’s finest writers, hosted by Laguna Beach Poet Laureate Kate Buckley. This special event will be held on Saturday, April 14 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Library, 363 Glenneyre Street.  

This program is funded by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach. For more information, please visit http://LagunaBeachLitFest.com.

Call to Artists – City Council Chambers Banners - The Arts Commission is inviting artists to submit designs to replace banners in the City Council Chambers. The competition is open to Laguna Beach residents ages 18 and older. Entries must be submitted to the reception desk at the Community and Susi Q Center, 380 Third Street, by May 14 at 5 p.m.    

This program is funded by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach. For full guidelines and an entry form, please visit http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art.

Sunset Serenades and World Music - Friday evenings from May 4 - June 8 at 6:30 p.m., the Arts Commission will present free concerts at the Heisler Park Amphitheatre with a variety of music genres.

This year’s schedule includes:

5/4: Jackie Menter Trio - Classical

5/11: Jack Benny - Eclectic/Acoustic Pop trio

5/18: The Phil Gough/Alan Deremo Project

5/25: Maestro Lazaro Galarraga and Friends - Afro Cuban

6/1: Gamelan X with Mayang Sunda - Indonesian

6/8: L’Esprit D’ Afrique – African

This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.


Council approves hybrid Landscape and Scenic Highway element: Let the tree planting begin

By BARBARA DIAMOND

It took six years for mandated revisions to the Landscape and Scenic Highways element in the General Plan and an updated companion resource document to wend their way through multiply hearings to finally reach the council.

The Council on Tuesday voted 4-0 (Councilwoman Toni Iseman was absent due to illness) for the third of three options, as recommended by staff. The option includes approval of amendments to the existing element suggested by the Design Review Board and the Planning Commission, except for commission’s recommendation to reorganize the element. 

The option also included the conversion of some of the larger tasks into action items at a cost of up to $35,000, to be brought back to the council for further evaluation. 

“We have been waiting for this document to begin replanting downtown trees,” said City Manager John Pietig.

Let the tree planting begin?

Staff was directed to begin preparing a landscape/streetscape implementation plan to replace trees in the downtown and make other improvements in the streetscape, according to Community Development Director Greg Pfost. 

Other directions to staff included providing the council with a proposed Request for Proposal for consultant assistance to come up with a plan for approval/public input process for the plan. 

“We will revise both documents (the element and the resource document) to be consistent with directions we received from Council,” Pfost said. 

Support for Option One was expressed by former Planning Commissioner Barbara Metzger on her own behalf and of the named signatories to a letter she read.

That option requires less staff time and less expense than Option Three. It did not incorporate Planning Commission recommendations intended to improve the document and make it more user-friendly.

“Our intent was not to disrupt the process,” said Commissioner Roger McErlane, who served on the commission sub-committee that recommended reorganization of the element and the resource document. “In retrospect, I think that appointing a subcommittee after six years is a mistake – it is disruptive.” 

Former Mayor Ann Christoph said the Landscape and Resource Document has been revised several times and the authors, one of whom is Christoph, are willing to do more revisions.

Eucalypti under fire again

Tuesday’s hearing could have been titled “A Debate on Safety on Scenic Highways,” which took up a considerable amount of the roughly two-hour hearing.

Safety issues were raised by the fire department and the Public Works Department questioned the advisability of continuing to plant eucalypti as street trees.

“Between (consultant) Mike Rohde and myself, we have 78 years of experience in the fire industry,” said Acting Fire Chief Tom Christopher.

His department’s concerns:

--The premise expressed by consultants that healthy green trees, including eucalypti, work as ember catchers that protect structures from burning

--The consultants’ interpretation of National Fire Behavior standards and science in the element and the resource document

--Portrayal of the goats that graze brush as less than the fire prevention tool 

 “We need to follow the advice of sworn fire safety professionals and respect consensus fire science just as we respect consensus climate science,” said Disaster and Emergency Preparedness Committee Chair Matt Lawson.

The Public Works contends that most eucalypti tend to be shallow rooted and present a hazard when they fail and fall in a high wind. Limb drop is also a public safety issue. 

Furthermore, many eucalypti grow too large to be used on Laguna streets, need larger planting areas than are available, and are prone to pests and diseases, according to the Public Works report. 

The department supported the Planning Commission recommendation to determine street trees for specific locations in the downtown.

“You cannot take a broad based approach and apply it to the whole city,” said Christopher.


Council to consider Arts Commission recommendations for Village Entrance

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The Arts Commission has been working since January to come up with recommendations for public art, other than artist-designed benches, to enhance the Village Entrance.

An Arts Commission recommendation to be considered by the City Council tonight is a proposal to develop a bandstand style or pavilion that would become an “outdoor plaza venue” (noted in bold face type in the report), where people would gather.

“We have heard a request from the public for a gathering space,” said Cultural Arts Manager Sian Poeschl. 

Commissioners also recommended that the space should be designed in relation, and complementary to existing facilities, as opposed to a “Culture Palace” that seeks to fill all space needs.

The commission’s preferred option would provide a multi-use and flexible facility for performances and exhibitions, classrooms, studio space and the capacity for digital programming, according to Poeschl’s report.   

Also in bold face in the commission’s recommendations: “One potential is that the facility ‘points to’ and coordinates art activities in other venues and places occurring throughout the City.”   

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted graphic

Location of possible public art, potentially south and north of the vehicular bridge in the Village Entrance plan

The commission is asking the council to invite artists Art Fornes, Arnie Quinze and Janet Echelman to submit proposals for an installation at the trail-crossing area south of the vehicular bridge in the Village Entrance plan. The bridge is located roughly in the middle of the frontage that stretches along Forest Avenue, Broadway and Canyon Road.  

Proposals for the north side of the bridge would be considered as long as the artist understands that the artwork could not obstruct the functions of the water quality treatment basin.

Regardless of location, the commission is recommending that proposals should include electrical outlets and infrastructure for future performances and events.

Public art is a requirement in the development of commercial property, including City projects. 

Developers have the choice of purchasing art or contributing to the City’s Art in Lieu Fund. 

If purchasing art, one percent of a project’s total value must be used for original work that is site-specific and approved by the council. The alternative is a 1.25 percent contribution to the City’s Art-in-lieu Fund, to be used to acquire art works designated by the City.  

The Art in Public Places allocation for the Village Entrance is $80,000. The commission is recommending an additional $100,000 be appropriated from the in-lieu fund, which has a current balance of $190,400.


City Manager’s Updates

Coffee with a Cop - Join your neighbors and personnel from the Laguna Beach Police Department for coffee, doughnuts, and conversation on Sunday, April 22 from 8 - 10:30 a.m. at Laguna Beach Cyclery (240 Thalia St.).. No agenda or speeches, just a chance to ask questions, voice concerns, and get to know the officers in your neighborhood. We hope to see you there!

Police Department Citizen’s Academy Graduates - On Thursday, April 19, Class #25, made up of 19 community members, graduated from the Laguna Beach Police Department Citizen’s Academy. We are so happy to be able to partner with our community and share the ever-changing facets of police work, and we now have life-long community partners.

Art That’s Small Exhibition Winners - The winners of this year’s competition are: First Place - Alice Gamez; second Place - Carolina Manchester; third place - Shakiba Hashemi; City Hall Choice - Jill Cooper; Honorable Mentions - Bryce Darrow, Ludo Leideritz and Gabriella Kohr. The Arts Commission would like to thank all participating artists. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. 

Laguna Beach Literary Festival - The first Laguna Beach Literary Festival took place on Saturday, April 14, and was a big hit! The Arts Commission would like to recognize and thank Kate Buckley for her tenure as the City of Laguna Beach’s inaugural Poet Laureate. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.


City Treasurer’s added duties – hotel audits – preserve retirement benefits

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The addition of hotel audits to the regular duties of City Treasurer Laura Parisi qualifies the service for retirement benefits. 

A salary of $11,600 will be added henceforth in Parisi’s $86,640 a year salary and her 25-hour a week schedule will be upped by about three hours a month, approved on a 4-1 vote Tuesday, with Councilman Rob Zur Schmiede opposed. 

Parisi has performed the audit separately from her regular duties since 2000 and was paid separately. Prior to 2000, the City had hired an independent certified public accounting firm to make the audit, paying a higher price for the service than requested by Parisi.

The switch included the caveat that the audits were not part of Parisi’s duties, a position reiterated by the council in 2005.

Parisi’s “special compensation” for the audits was reported to the California Public Employees Retirement System, which manages health and pension benefits for city employees. 

In 2015, CalPERS reviewed Parisi’s “special compensation” and notified the city that the audit did not qualify.

Had the council not taken the action to add the audits to Parisi’s regular duties, the City would have been required to eliminate the special compensation status of the payment for the audits. The City would also have been obliged to refund the $3,500 Parisi had contributed to her CalPERS retirement benefits related to the compensation for the audits. 

According to the report by Director of Administrative Services Gavin Curran, the CalPERS directive would have lowered the calculation of Parisi’s retirement by about $11,600.

Former Mayor Paul Freeman, who was on the council when the audits were assigned to Parisi, testified that he never thought the work was not “pensionable.”  

Councilman Steve Dicterow said putting the audits into Parisi’s hands was always intended to qualify for contributions to her retirement contribution to CalPERS.

However, the audits are not automatically part of the job for other treasurers who may not have the same qualifications or experience as Parisi.


2018 City Council Election Update

Three City Council seats up for grabs this year

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The terms of Mayor Kelly Boyd, Mayor Pro Tem Rob Zur Schmiede and Councilwoman Toni Iseman will end this year.

Voters will have a wide choice if all the folks who have expressed interest in running for one of the three seats actually become candidates. Boyd will not be among them, although he said he will campaign for selected candidates. Iseman has indicated she won’t make a decision until later this year on whether to try for a record-shattering, sixth consecutive term in office. 

Zur Schmiede says he definitely will run, although he has yet to submit his 501 form, which confirms a candidate’s intent to run.

As of Monday, only three hopefuls have submitted the form. 

Mancuso, Kempf and Kinsman are definitely running

Judie Mancuso submitted her 501 in June of 2017. 

Mancuso is a long-time animal welfare advocate, founder of the 501(c)(4) Social Compassion in Legislation, and a candidate for the City Council in 2016.

“I have over 10 years of experience in getting big things done at the State level,” said Mancuso on Saturday. 

Sue Kempf submitted her 501 in March. Her resume includes running her own company and others. In Laguna, she was a founder and graduate of the first Community Emergency Response Team class, served on the View Equity Task Force, and co-chaired the Emergency/Disaster Preparedness Committee. She currently sits on the Planning Commission, with her term ending June 30.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Laguna Beach City Hall

“I am running because this is a great town to live in and I want to make sure it stays that way,” said Kempf.

Cheryl Kinsman filed her 501 on Monday. 

A former City Council member, Kinsman sits on the Laguna Beach County Water District Commission. 

Kinsman was honored as the 2014 Woman of the Year by the Laguna Beach Woman’s Club for her service to the community. 

She is credited with working successfully with then-Councilwoman Jane Egly to keep a hospital with an Emergency Department in Laguna. 

Previous to her eight years on the council, Kinsman served on the Planning Commission and the city’s Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee. Her experience as an MBA and CPA were put to use as volunteer auditor of the Laguna Beach High School PTA and treasurer of Neighborhood Watch and the North Laguna Community Assn.

Hall, Blake, Philippsen, Zeiter and Auger have yet to decide/file

The list of potential candidates who have yet to make their intent to run in writing includes Michelle Hall, who ran for the council in 2014. 

“I believe it is time for a change,” said Hall, a past president of Laguna Beach Republicans. “We need someone like me. I have lived here all my life and I understand the community.”

Not committed to running yet, and that is a big YET: Gallery owner Peter Blake, a longtime Laguna Beach resident and businessman, unashamedly passionate about Laguna and concerned for its future.

“I am waiting and hoping to see a candidate who thinks the way I do,” Blake said last week. “The city is not broken, but it has been eroding for the past 25 years, for which I blame Village Laguna – it did wonderful things in the past, but it is out-of-step with the times.”

The list of uncommitted possible candidates includes Karyn Philippsen, a founding member and former president of the Laguna Beach Visitors Bureau (now called Visit Laguna) and a founder of the Sister Cities Assn of Laguna Beach. Philippsen said this week that she is “considering her options.”

Attorney Jennifer Zeiter also said she is considering running for the council. Zeiter is founder of Stop Taxing Our Property, a group opposed to funding undergrounding with a bond or sales tax increase, and a past president of Laguna Beach Taxpayers Assn.

Lorene Auger, who styles herself as Lorene Laguna, has said she will file her 501 when she fills out her election committee.

Goldstein will support like-minded candidate

Sam Goldstein, owner of the Heisler Building, a former Design Review Board member and integral to the establishment of the Business Improvement District that funds art projects, art groups and artists, will not be running for office, but he will be seriously involved in the election. 

He has established Liberate Laguna to financially support favored candidates and has contacted some of the hopefuls to determine how their positions align with his. 

The election campaign officially begins July 16, the first day that candidates can pick up nominating papers and collect signatures.


City Manager’s Updates

Testing of the Long Range Warning System - The City of Laguna Beach will be testing the newly installed Downtown Outdoor Warning System on Friday, May 4 at 12 p.m. Those who are in the coverage area will hear a recorded message clearly indicating that it is a test only. In the event of a real emergency, this system can be activated to provide life-saving instructions to residents and visitors in the downtown area. The system may be utilized for all hazards or disasters where immediate action from the public is necessary. Laguna Beach’s Downtown Outdoor Warning System differs from others within Orange County as it provides verbal instructions along with a siren as opposed to just a siren. Specific emergency announcements can be broadcast over any one (or more) of the three speakers, which are located at City Hall, Main Beach, and Heisler Park. The Cities of Huntington Beach and Newport Beach will also be testing their independent Outdoor Warning Systems at the same time.

New Fire Chief - Michael Garcia will start as the new Fire Chief on Monday, April 30. Chief Garcia has over 32 years of experience in the fire service, including 28 years with the City of Long Beach. An event for employees and the public to meet Chief Garcia will be held on May 3 at Fire Station One from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.

Access to Free Offers on the Trolley Tracker -You can nowride Laguna Beach Transit and use the Trolley Tracker app to gain access to exclusive offers from restaurants, retailers and attractions all over town! To unlock these offers, simply ride the trolley, and click on Special Offers on the Trolley Tracker app. To redeem, show the offer on your phone to the participating business. The Trolley Tracker is available on the Visit Laguna Beach app and in the Apple and Google Play Stores.

Caltrans – Coast Hwy Traffic Signals Replacement -Beginning Monday, April 30, Caltrans will mobilize to replace the traffic and pedestrian signal heads located at seven intersections between Cress Street and Ocean Avenue on Coast Highway. Work will be conducted on weekdays between 9 p.m. and 5 a.m. Intermittent lane closures and flashing red signal lights can be expected through May 24. One northbound and southbound lane will be maintained for travel during this period. For more detailed project information, please contact Moussa Essayli, Caltrans Resident Engineer, at (949) 279-8816.

Heritage Month - Celebrate Heritage Month this May and enjoy the many scheduled activities and events. Activities and tours are scheduled throughout the entire month of May. A calendar of all the events can be found on the city website at http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/cd/preserve/heritage_commitee.htm.

Review Proposal for a Wayfinding Signage Pilot Project - The City of Laguna Beach will bring forward a proposal for a Wayfinding Signage Pilot Project on Wednesday, May 2 during the Planning Commission’s regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall (505 Forest Avenue). The purpose of the wayfinding signage is to inform and direct visitors and residents to their desired destinations, amenities and features, and enhance the visitor and resident experience. Prior to the meeting, a prototype of the pedestrian directional sign will be installed within the existing planter at the southeast corner of Forest Avenue and South Coast Highway. After review and upon recommendation by the Planning Commission, the project will be reviewed by the City Council at its meeting on May 22. The City’s goal is to conduct the pilot project for pedestrian wayfinding signs in summer 2018. 

Summer Camp and Summer Recreation Activities Registration - Registration for summer 2018 recreation activities for all ages, adult softball and youth summer camps opens on Monday, April 30. To register and see the list of programs available please visit: https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/catalog/index.

Call to Artists: Council Chambers Banners - The Arts Commission is inviting artists to submit designs to replace the banners in the Council Chambers. The competition is open to Laguna Beach residents ages 18 and older. Entries must be submitted to the reception desk at Susi Q Community Center, 380 Third Street, by May 14 at 5 p.m. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. For more information, email Arts Program Coordinator Michael McGregor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

City Hall Exhibition -The Artist Fund at Festival of Arts is currently exhibiting their annual Board of Directors Show at City Hall, 505 Forest Avenue. See work by local artists Geraldine Crosper, Anne England, Roger Folk, Rick Graves, Elizabeth McGhee and Wendy Wirth. The exhibition can be viewed through May 22.

Sunset Serenades - Held on Friday evenings in May and June at 6:30 p.m. at the Heisler Park Amphitheater, Cliff Drive, enjoy the free concert series featuring:

5/4: Jackie Menter Trio – Classical

5/11: Jack Benny – Eclectic/Acoustic Pop trio

5/18: The Phil Gough/Alan Deremo Project

5/25: Maestro Lazaro Galarraga and Friends – Afro Cuban

6/1: Gamelan X with Mayang Sunda – Indonesian

6/8: L’Esprit D’ Afrique – African

This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.


Council to make appointments to two commissions, two committees

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council will interview applicants for two commissions and two committees, starting at 5 p.m. on Tuesday.

All appointments are for two years, starting July 1.

Three applicants have applied for the three open seats on the Housing and Human Affairs Committee.

Incumbent Marc Bruderer has been a member of the committee since 2012. He lists his occupation as a consultant and graduate student. 

Gail Duncan, also an incumbent, is seeking a fifth appointment to the committee. She wants to expand collaboration with other agencies.

Marisa Peasley has been a resident in Laguna for 23 years. She plans to start a foundation for the homeless.

Planning Commission

Five applications were filed for the three seats on the Planning Commission.

Applicants Anne Johnson, Ken Sadler and Sue Kempf are incumbents. 

The incumbents will be challenged by Ernest Hackmon, and J. Walker Reed.

A business development consultant, Hackmon is a graduate of the city’s Community Emergency Response Team class of 2017, of Leadership Laguna in 2016 and the Citizens Academy in 2014. He chaired the Parking, Traffic and Circulation committee from 2009 to 2017.

Johnson has served on the Planning Commission since 2000. During that time she also served on the boards of the Laguna Beach Woman’s Club and the Laguna Beach Community Clinic, as a member of Senior Housing Task Force and city representative for Leadership Laguna. 

Prior to her appointment to the commission, Johnson was a member of the City’s Recreation Committee and the Vision Laguna 2030 Steering Committee.

Kempf was first appointed to the Planning Commission in 2014, coming off 17 months and eight hearings of the View Equity Committee, which crafted the revisions to the newly-named View Preservation and Restoration Ordinance. 

She is also a candidate for City Council and if elected would be required to resign from the commission.

Sadler was appointed to the commission in 2012, to replace Bob Whalen, who had been elected to the City Council. Prior to the appointment, Sadler, an engineer, had served six years on the Design Review Board. 

Reed is a real estate broker and financial advisor. He has been a resident of Laguna Beach for 42 years, is a graduate of Laguna Beach High School and founder of the Alumni Assn. He has previously served on the Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee and spearheaded the city’s first utility undergrounding project in the El Mirador neighborhood.

Arts Commission

Six applicants are vying for the four open seats on the Arts Commission. Four commission members must be active participants in the arts. Five of the applicants qualify.

Incumbents Donna Ballard, Suzi Chavel, Karen Wood and Michael Stice are seeking reappointment to the Arts Commission. 

Ballard is an architect, just completing her third term. She served as vice-chair of the commission for one year and chair for two years. She is member of the LOCA board of directors.

Chavel is an artist, designer, documentary filmmaker and fine arts photographer. After a hiatus, she was re-appointed to the commission in 2007. She has been a judge of the Festival of Arts Recycled Fashion Show and the Patriots Day Parade.

Karen Wood came to Laguna 10 years ago. She is General Manager of the Irvine Barclay Theater. She has been twice nominated for an Art Star Award for Leadership while Managing Director of the Laguna Playhouse.

Stice has been the alternate commissioner since 2016, stepping in when one of the commissioners is absent.

He teaches at Laguna College of Art and Design and was named communications manager in 2012. He previously worked at Laguna Art Museum for 20 years.

Karen Philippsen was a founding director of the Laguna Beach Hospitality Assn, now called Visit Laguna Beach. She also was a founder of the Sister Cities Assn of Laguna Beach and founding chair of the group’s Fete de la Musique. More recently, she served as chair of the 90th Anniversary celebration of Laguna Playhouse.

Kathe Madrigal is a painter with four public art projects to her credit. Her work is exhibited at the Festival of Arts.   

Emergency/Disaster Preparedness Committee

Robert Elster, Ernest Hackmon, Christine Lins and incumbents Matt Lawson and Tim Templeton have applied for the four available seats. 

Elster served from 1972 to 1998 a in the U.S Navy Bureau of Medicine and Surgery. He retired with the rank of Commander. He was subsequently employed as a medical facility planner.

Hackmon has also applied for appointment to the Planning Commission and if appointed could not serve on EDPC. See his qualifications above.

Lawson has served as chair of the committee since 2015. He was also appointed to the Measure LL Audit-Oversight Committee and chaired the Design Review Task Force. Lawson completed the Citizen Academy classes and CERT training.

Lins recently received her certification of completion of the Leadership Laguna program. She retired in January after 34 years of nursing and 10 years of teaching.

Templeton is a marketing advisor and former member of the city’s TechComm Committee. He is interested in pursuing how technology can benefit the city in emergency situations. 

The hearing will begin at 5 p.m. in the City Hall chambers.

More in-depth information about the applicants is available on the city’s website www.lagunabeachcity.net.


City welcomes new Fire Chief Michael Garcia

The City of Laguna Beach is pleased to welcome Michael Garcia as the City’s new Fire Chief. Garcia brings over 32 years of fire experience to the position, and began his service to the City as of yesterday, April 30.

Garcia’s experience includes 28 years with the Long Beach Fire Department.  He has 20 years of supervisory and management experience, with over eight years as a member of the Long Beach Fire Department Command Staff, holding positions of Assistant Fire Chief, Deputy Fire Chief, and for a period as the Acting Fire Chief.  

“Chief Garcia brings an impressive amount of fire experience to the City of Laguna Beach,” said City Manager John Pietig. “I look forward to his leadership as we assess the department and develop plans for the future.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

New Fire Chief Michael Garcia

Garcia’s background includes expertise in the areas of fire operations, administration, fire prevention, emergency preparedness, staff training, and community relations. He holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Vocational Education from California State University, Long Beach. Mike lives with his wife and their three children, and says he has always enjoyed Laguna Beach.

“There is just something special about this town, the people here and the intense sense of community,” Garcia said. “I am honored and humbled to serve and protect that community as Fire Chief for the City of Laguna Beach.” 

Garcia took over duties as Chief from Acting Fire Chief Tom Christopher yesterday, April 30. Garcia is the City’s 19th Fire Chief, and will have a salary of $192,000 per year.

The public is invited to meet Chief Garcia on Thursday, May 3 at Fire Station One (located at 501 Forest Avenue, next to City Hall) from 4:30 to 5:30 p.m.


Council, Planning Commission to meet jointly tonight

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The Planning Commission has a list of suggested items to discuss with the City Council at the joint meeting scheduled for 6:30 p.m. tonight, Tuesday, May 1.

Parking studies and traffic demand on potential large projects tops the list.

Three hotel projects along Coast Highway and a mixed-use project on Laguna Canyon Road are in the planning stages and traffic and parking are public issues, according to the commission. The commissioners want to know what, if any, thoughts the council has on how the demand may be accommodated when the projects come before the commission.

“The joint meeting is a good chance for us to get together with the council, which the Brown Act prohibits except under these conditions,” said Anne Johnson, a commissioner since 2000, whose application for another term will be reviewed at the council’s 5 p.m. interview and appointment hearing. 

Round-up of topics proposed by the Commission

--Citizen participation in and sub-committees for major projects.

The commission opined that public and commission workshops would be helpful held sooner rather than later in the approval process – the rigorous public debate on the California Environmental Quality Act vis a vis revisions to the Historic Preservation Ordinance comes to mind. 

--The increased parking on some Laguna Canyon properties. 

The commission is concerned that excessive, unpermitted parking is cluttering up the visual experience of driving along Laguna Canyon Road and wants to know if the city can control it.

--Should a limit be set on the time new projects on the agenda can be heard?

--Better communication between council and commission.

--Council priority projects.

A public comment period is scheduled for the end of the meeting.

The agenda for the meeting is available on the city’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net.


City Manager’s Updates

City Council Review of Draft Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) Ordinance - The City Council will review Planning Commission and staff recommendations for a draft ordinance amendment to Chapter 25.17 of the Laguna Beach Municipal Code and an amendment to the City’s Local Coastal Program relating to Accessory Dwelling Units, also referred to as the Second Residential Unit Ordinance. 

The City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 8 at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers located at 505 Forest Ave. To view a copy of the staff report for this item, please refer to the agenda posted on the City’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net.

City Council Review of Draft Tree Removal Permit Ordinance - The City Council will review staff recommendations for a draft ordinance to amend the Laguna Beach Municipal Code and establish a Tree Removal Permit process for Heritage trees, design review approved trees and privately maintained trees in the public right-of-way. Fines and penalties for removal of these trees without first obtaining a permit are included in the draft ordinance, Chapter 12.06. The City Council meeting will be held on Tuesday, May 8, at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers located at 505 Forest Ave. To view a copy of the staff report for this item, please refer to the agenda posted on the City’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net.

Cress Street Beach Access Stairs Repair - Beginning Monday, May 7, the Public Works Department will perform repairs to the lower half of the Cress Street beach access. Repairs include patching chipped, cracked and broken concrete. The repairs will be followed by coating the lower staircase with a polymer sealer and coating system leaving a surface with the appearance of newly placed concrete. The work will be done in phases and the City does not anticipate any closure of the stairs during the project. The City expects to complete the work by Friday, May 18. For more information, please contact Deputy Director of Public Works Dale Schuck at (949) 497-0735.

Coast Highway Lane Closure - On Tuesday, May 8 between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., the Laguna Beach County Water District will be closing the northbound number 2 lane of Coast Highway, between Oak Street and Cress Street, to replace a meter cover. For questions, please contact the Water District at (949) 464-1041.

Southern California Edison Pole Replacement - On Monday, May 7 between 7:30 a.m. and 6 p.m., Southern California Edison (SCE) will be replacing an Edison Pole at the Monterey Drive/Poplar Street intersection. Portions of Poplar Street and Monterey Drive near the intersection will be closed during the work. For questions or concerns, please contact SCE representative Erik Hall at (949) 308-8763.

Annual Composting Classes - The City’s solid waste hauler, Waste Management, will offer the second of four free composting classes planned for 2018 on Saturday, May 5 from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m. at Lang Park, located at 21540 Wesley Drive. Compost and worm bins will be available for purchase during the class at a discounted price.  

For more information, please visit the city’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net/recycling, or contact the Waste Management class instructor, Lisa Ryder, at (310) 874-2499.

City Photo Contest - The City’s 2018 Photo Contest is now open. The City is looking for your perspective on our City’s vibrancy, vitality, and livability fitting the theme “Daily Life in Laguna Beach.” Photographs may be entered in three categories: Sunsets, Daily Life, and Environmental. The First Prize photo will receive $500, and additional winners will receive $100 each. Entries must be submitted online by June 6. For rules and information about how to enter, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/photocontest.

Summer Camp and Summer Recreation Activities Registration - Registration for summer 2018 recreation activities for all ages, adult softball and youth summer camps opened on Monday, April 30. To register and see the list of programs available please visit https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/catalog/index.


Council reappoints incumbents to two commissions, two committees

By BARBARA DIAMOND

All incumbent applicants for two city commissions and two committees were reappointed by the City Council at a special meeting on Tuesday.

Appointments are for two years, starting July 1.

Mayor Pro Tem Rob Zur Schmiede chaired the hearing in the absence of Mayor Kelly Boyd. 

He told the applicants that when a committee or commission is doing a good job, it is difficult for the council to replace incumbents and he urged all un-appointed applicants to apply again at the next opportunity. 

The three open seats on the Housing and Human Affairs Committee were filled by incumbents Marc Bruderer and Gail Duncan and 23-year resident Marisa Peasley, who also plans to start a foundation for the homeless.

Five applications were filed for the three seats on the Planning Commission.

Incumbents Anne Johnson, Ken Saddler and Sue Kempf were reappointed. Kempf is also a candidate for City Council and if elected would be required to resign from the commission.

Six applicants were interviewed for the four open seats on the Arts Commission, which were filled by incumbents Donna Ballard, Suzi Chavel, Karen Wood and Michael Stice, who will serve as an alternate. All four are active participants in the arts, fulfilling a commission requirement.

Applicants were asked by Councilman Steve Dicterow if Laguna still qualified as an art colony. All four appointees gave an unqualified yes. 

Emergency/Disaster Preparedness Committee incumbents Robert Elster, Matt Lawson and Tim Templeton were reappointed for another term. They will be joined by Ernest Hackmon, who had not been selected for the Planning Commission. 

More in-depth information about the applicants is available on the city’s website www.lagunabeachcity.net.

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