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Volume 15, Issue 44  | June 2, 2023Subscribe

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Council agenda includes facility reservation program for South Laguna campus, summer parking management plan, disclosure of records


Laguna Beach City Council will consider a variety of interesting items during their meeting next week.

At tonight's meeting (Tuesday, March 21), during regular business, on the consent calendar, and during extraordinary business, council will hear and/or consider: A facility reservation program and license agreement policy and associated fee schedule for the former St. Catherine campus; 2023 summer parking management plan; waiving the exemption under the Public Records Act and authorize the disclosure of certain records; an amendment to the solid waste franchise agreement and a second reading of the bluff overlay district and major remodel ordinance.

Last up during regular business, council will consider approving the interim use facility reservation program and the license agreement policy and associated fee schedule for the Laguna Beach Community and Recreation Center (former home of the St. Catherine of Siena parish school campus) located at 30516 Coast Highway. Council will also consider approving limiting large events with more than 40 participants and other special events to two days or less (per event) and require a temporary use permit for such events.

On January 24, council voted 4-1 in favor of the interim use plan for the property. Councilmember George Weiss dissented, saying that he liked the idea but thought it was premature.

The interim use plan approved in January takes advantage of the available office spaces and recreational areas without making any structural changes on the property, which provides approximately 39,500 square feet of indoor space.

Use of the property will include most available classrooms, opening and emergency operations center and training room, a police department and marine safety substation and relocating fire department administration from city hall to the property’s administrative area.

Recreational programming includes indoor pickleball, youth recreation classes, adult drop-in basketball, cultural arts programming on the stage and wedding ceremonies performed in the chapel. Long-term uses of the property will be considered as part of a comprehensive city facilities master plan.

The action in January also directed staff to develop an interim rental program and fee structure with an agreement that is mindful of any long-term uses prioritized as part of the facilities master plan.

The facility reservation and rental program will provide residents, nonprofit serving Laguna Beach, and other community organizations the opportunity to use the facility in coordination with the city’s recreation programming and other planned civic uses. These organizations can reserve the space in the gymnasium, indoor classrooms and the grass field for sports practices on an hourly basis, Monday through Friday, at a set fee per hour. Weekend rentals may also be available in the future, depending on staff availability and community interest.

Council agenda includes facility reservation program St Catherine play yard

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

A facility reservation program and license agreement policy and associated fee schedule for the former St. Catherine campus is on the council agenda

Staff is proposing the reservation program be managed on a first come, first serve basis that gives priority to: City-sponsored programs and events; Laguna Beach nonprofit organizations; Laguna Beach Unified School District-sponsored programs; local individual groups and residents, and sports clubs and for-profit businesses.

The proposed hourly rates are consistent with what’s currently charged for indoor space at other Laguna Beach facilities and comparable to fees charged by other Orange County cities. 

The proposed hourly rates are: 

–Local nonprofits (including LBUSD events) will be charged $42 for classrooms, $25 for the field, $55 for half the gym and $85 for the full gym.

–Local individual groups will be charged $62 for classrooms, $40 for the field, $75 for half the gym and $115 for the full gym.

–Businesses will be charged $88 for classrooms, $50 for the field, $115 for half the gym and $150 for the full gym.

According to the staff report, city employees will have complete authority over the facility, equipment, participants and activities, including the authority to request changes to an activity. An additional fee of $25 per hour will be charged if additional city staff is required for the activity.

Vehicles must be parked within the existing capacity of the property and coordinated with other city activities. All equipment is removed at the end of event and all trash is placed in appropriate containers as designated by city staff.

Fee-based classes or programs (other than recreation programs), receptions, fundraising events, in events for sales purposes cannot participate in this program. 

The proposed license agreement program is provided to govern the use of approximately six general purpose classrooms that will be available for weekly or monthly rentals under a license agreement program, Organizations will be able to utilize the space for short-term, non-recreational use, like meetings or training programs.

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The proposed weekly and monthly rates are:

–Local nonprofits will be charged $1,500/week and $6,000/month for classrooms, with the same rate for the science and art rooms.

–Local individual groups will be charged $2,200/week and $8,800/month for classrooms, and $2,400/week and $9,600/month for the science or art rooms.

–Businesses will be charged $3,100/week and $12,400/month for classrooms, and $3,000/week and $12,000/month for the science or art rooms.

Council agenda includes facility reservation program St Catherine science room

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The science room at the former St. Catherine campus will be available for rent on a weekly and monthly basis

City staff is planning to use the kindergarten classroom and connected secured playground space and restrooms for early education classes through the city’s recreation program. At least one individual has also expressed interest in leasing the space for a preschool program. However, a long-term license agreement would be challenging to approve under the existing financing arrangement the city entered to purchase the property, according to the staff report. They would also prevent the city from using the space for its programming. Staff is reviewing the proposal and the city’s ability to enter a long-term license agreement for more than 30 days and we’ll update the council if it’s feasible.

Special events with 40 or more participants on the outdoor spaces, like the field or playground, would require a separate temporary use permit and an application fee. They would be reviewed by city staff on a case-by-case basis. The city’s TUP program allows staff to evaluate events for parking impacts, temporary structures, amplified sound, serving of alcohol, placing limits on the hours of the event, impacts on the neighborhood and other criteria before approval. Additional hourly fees may be charged by police, fire, public works, recreation or other staff as deemed necessary by the city for special events.

There is no immediate use proposed for the former chapel space. City staff is reviewing opportunities for weddings and small community meetings to be offered at this location. A proposed plan is expected to be presented to council later this year.

The revenue for the new fees is estimated to be $150,000 annually and approximately $15,000 during the fiscal year 2022-23.

Council agenda includes facility reservation program trolley

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

On Tuesday, council will consider the 2023 summer parking management plan and hear an update on last summer’s transit programs

Earlier during regular business, council will consider recommendations for the 2023 summer parking management plan. The item also includes an update on transit services, including a summary of parking and transit programs from last summer.

If approved, the action will authorize the operation of summer trolley service on the coastal, canyon and summer breeze routes, and expanded Laguna Local on-demand service hours, between June 30 and Sept. 4. It will also authorize the city manager to amend an agreement with LAZ Parking California for increased scope of work to operate expanded trolley and on-demand services.

Part of the item also includes negotiation for or extended lease agreements for seasonal public parking lots with Mission Hospital Laguna Beach, Laguna College of Art + Design, the Festival of Arts, the property owner at 232 Ocean Ave., and the property owner at 16355 Laguna Canyon Road.

The agenda item also includes consideration of an agreement with IPS Group, Inc., in an amount not-to-exceed $200,000 for the purchase of 25 new multi-space pay stations.

It also includes authorizing the sale of a summer parking passes for festival artists, staff, and the general public and the continuation of the Passport to the Arts parking permit program, which provides discounted parking in Lot 16 (Act V).

According to the staff report, the strategies proposed in this summer’s parking management plan are intended to “help manage seasonal parking demand while enhancing access to the city’s businesses, beaches and special events for residents and visitors.”

The recommendations for the summer 2023 PMP include:

–Execute seasonal lease agreements for use of peripheral parking lots, and sell seasonal parking passes for use by festival staff and artists. 

–Approve the purchase of new multi-space pay stations to be stalled near the Sawdust Festival. 

–Set summer parking rates in accordance with the city’s approved Coastal Development Permit.

–Operate trolley service on coastal, canyon and summer breeze routes.

–Continue to operate Laguna Beach Local on demand transit service with expanded hours.

–Continue marketing and outreach programs in coordination with festivals and Visit Laguna.

Council agenda includes facility reservation city hall

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Council will consider waiving an exemption under Public Records Act and releasing certain records

Up first during regular business, council will consider whether to waive the exemption under the Public Records Act for investigatory files and authorize the disclosure of certain exempt records. 

The Public Records Act request has been made to obtain a copy of a police officer’s body worn camera video and dispatch call logs relating to a November traffic stop during which City Manager Shohreh Dupuis was issued a citation for the handheld use of a cell phone while driving.

During several recent council meetings, several members of the public have mentioned the traffic stop and the PRA request. The documentation should prove whether or not Dupuis was using her position as a city official to get out of the ticket, as some have claimed. 

The Laguna Beach Police Department’s policy is to release such records where it is where it is required by law to do so. In this instance, according to the staff report, there is no such requirement and the city is authorized by the PRA to withhold the subject records because they are exempt from disclosure as investigatory files. 

“In withholding the subject records, the city has applied the same rules to this instance as it would to identical records relating to any routine traffic stop involving any person,” the staff report, prepared by City Attorney Phil Kohn, reads. 

The Public Records Act provides that, unless disclosure is prohibited by law, a public agency is not prevented from voluntarily making otherwise exempt records available to the public. On Tuesday, council will consider waiving the exemption and authorizing disclosure of the records. 

During regular business, council will also consider adopting a resolution approving the third amendment to the solid waste franchise agreement with Waste Management of Orange County. The amendment will extend the expiration date to June 30, 2024 and for an additional amount not-to-exceed $613,000.

The city's solid waste franchise agreement is due to expire on June 30. City staff has been in negotiations with Waste Management to extend the contract for an additional year to allow sufficient time for the request for proposals for solid waste collection services to be completed, and to allow for a 13-month transition period to a contract with the new hauler. Staff anticipates submitting recommendations to award the new contract in May.

The negotiations included three meetings and several counteroffers over the last year. City staff believes the proposed amendment will align with state-mandated diversion requirements at the most reasonable rates available. 

Also during regular business, the Laguna Beach Police Department will provide an update on 2022 crime statistics. The staff report on the item does not include any details or other information. 

On the consent calendar, council will consider the second reading of the bluff overlay district and major remodel ordinance.

Councilmembers voted 4-1 on March 7 in support of an ordinance that amends portions of the Laguna Beach municipal code relating to the regulation of oceanfront development with the establishment of a bluff overlay district. The action also defined methodologies for calculating major remodels. Councilmember George Weiss was the dissenting vote.

If the second reading is approved, the action also directs staff to request certification by the California Coastal Commission. 

The bluff overlay district will enact new oceanfront development standards that are responsive to the constraints of the city’s unique coastal landforms and site-specific conditions.

At the March 7 meeting, councilmembers directed staff to modify the land use element to provide guidance for when an initial study should be prepared for projects within environmentally sensitive areas. 

According to the staff report for tonight's item, the changed proposed policy reads: “Prepare the appropriate technical studies (biological assessments, hydrology reports, etc.) for development projects that are located within environmentally sensitive areas and have the potential to cause a significant environmental impact. When a study finds that the project may have a significant effect on the environment and the project is otherwise subject to discretionary review, prepare an initial study pursuant to the California Environmental Quality Act.”

Staff also notes that simply because the development project is located within an environmentally sensitive area it does not, by itself, mean that the project will automatically result in a significant environmental impact.

Staff poses to modify the language of the policy to clarify that an initial study should be prepared when required preliminary assessments and reports suggest the possibility that the project will cause an adverse impact on the environmentally sensitive resources.

The council agenda is available online here. Closed session starts at 4 p.m., the regular meeting begins at 5 p.m. 

Members of the public may speak in person in council chambers. 

To participate via Zoom, you may click here from your computer or smart phone. You may also call 669.900.9128 and wait for instructions. The Webinar ID is 91641723096#. If you have issues getting into the Zoom meeting or raising your virtual hand to comment, you may text the city clerk at 310.722.5051.

The meeting can be watched live on Cox channel 852 or on the city’s website at

Comments may be submitted on any agenda item or on any item not on the agenda in writing via mail to the City Clerk at: 505 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach, CA, 92651, by email to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or by using this interactive form. Comments were emailed to the City Clerk no later than 3 p.m. on March 20 (the day before the City Council meeting) in order for comments to be submitted to the members of the City Council the day prior the meeting, which provides them sufficient time to review the comments. 

You may continue to provide written comments up to 12 p.m. today (the day of the meeting). While these comments will be provided to the City Council at 2 p.m. today, councilmembers may not have sufficient time to review them prior to the meeting. 

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