“…a moratorium, assessment and evaluation is both prudent and mindful before further building is done in Laguna Canyon.”

Laguna Canyon is a wondrous place where diversity and habitats thrive. It is a natural watercourse revealing itself as a subterranean canyon once covered by ocean. For millenniums it continues as a natural watercourse where lake and rain overflow to the ocean and change is natural and inevitable.

Development changed how this canyon impacts lives and economy.

The 1969 fifty-year flood event forced closure of septic tanks along the canyon but brought sewer and municipal water beyond the big bend inevitably increasing use of the land.

With impervious surfaces covering a larger portion of the canyon floor and hillsides, fire and floods continue to decimate structures, compromising the land, habitats and resulting in loss of property and life. Such events severely compound the collective and personal costs as well as emotional strain on those left without.

We all are concerned, lending our help and best wishes to those in times of need.

To rebuild what will undoubtedly suffer the same fate again and again is a necessary though difficult discussion.

To halt permits in areas historically subject to natural forces and to carefully assess Laguna Canyon’s livability would be prudent.

In time of economic stress it could be the most responsible decision we can make as a community and could save lives. Those who were here in the 90’s remember two lives lost during another storm in the canyon. Would any wish to build and rebuild in an area of danger only to have such devastation again and again...and yet we do, and it will.

Would we rebuild to pass it on to heirs or others even for an economic gain knowing the probability?

To avoid repeating such mistakes, a moratorium, assessment and evaluation is both prudent and mindful before further building is done in Laguna Canyon.

If what has just been experienced - the third time in 40 years isn’t enough, we need to consider what should if there should be any further building or rebuilding in those areas of the canyon that are along the watercourse, in the flood plain, next to a culvert, catch basin or below a watershed or channel or where structures and lives are obviously in harm’s way.

The only real relief for victims who endure such catastrophe is future prevention - often through difficult decisions.

Leah Vasquez

Laguna Beach

Laguna Canyon resident 1964-71