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.


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.  

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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 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.

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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.


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.  

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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.


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 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 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 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.

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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. 

Click on photo for a larger image

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.


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.”

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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.

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