Share this story

Letters to the Editor

Village Laguna concerned with proposed removal of mature trees near Sawdust Festival

For some time, Village Laguna has been following the County Flood Control District plans for replacing the channel that encloses Laguna Canyon Creek near the Sawdust Festival. While it is clear that repairs are needed to the concrete channel walls, we are concerned that the County proposes to remove nearly all of the existing mature trees from Woodland Drive all the way to the Frontage Road entrance. Five large pine trees and three large sycamores will be removed. 

The decision about the trees is driven by the Flood Control District and Caltrans which both have easements over the 20 ft. wide strip of land between the channel and the Laguna Canyon Road curb. But this area adjacent to the flood control channel is more than just a place for easements for maintaining the creek channel or providing a buffer area for Laguna Canyon Road for Caltrans. It frames the most important entrance to our city. It should continue the character of the Canyon that we are so dedicated to preserving, and it should be beautiful, creating the setting for the art venues that follow. 

The Flood Control District doesn’t seem to be willing to consider working around the existing trees and preserving them. If we can’t save the existing trees, can we replace them? Not with trees that will grow to the same size of those we will lose. Both Caltrans and the Flood Control District have criteria that severely limit the size of proposed trees to be planted in their easements. In other words, they will only be happy with “trees” that look more like shrubs – not the Laguna Beach recommended sycamores and oaks that characterize the Canyon. 

Both the Council and the Planning Commission have been concerned about the project’s aesthetics, given its prominent location at the entrance to our village, and in April 2021 the Council voted to pay for more attractive fencing and walkway paving. In August 2021 and May of this year the Planning Commission reviewed the plans and expressed concerns about the loss of the site’s mature trees. They suggested several mitigations which have not been accepted by the Flood Control District. 

The Council will consider the proposed plan on August 2. Don’t wait to be shocked and upset when you see the devastation along the channel in front of the Sawdust. Don’t wait to be disappointed when no substantial trees are replanted. Now is the time to support another link in “saving the Canyon.” Support preserving more trees and replacing the rest with substantial Canyon-appropriate trees like the oaks and sycamores that have been planted at the Village Entrance. 

Laguna Beach is a town designed by artists and appreciated by nature-lovers. That’s why it has the character we all appreciate. Agencies proposing work within our town need to respect that tradition. 

Send your concerns to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. and join Village Laguna to protect our village atmosphere at

Anne Caenn, President

Village Laguna

Having issues with our organic waste bin, what to do?

We have been diligently using our organic waste bin since the beginning of the year. I’m sure you’re aware that the green-top containers get disgusting no matter what one tries to do to reduce the gunk that collects in and around the containers. 

Many of the methods such as keeping food in the freezer or refrigerator until trash day, layering yard waste with food waste, adding baking soda, etc., do not work for many of us who live in smaller homes. We have a small freezer/refrig, our yard is small, and mostly paved (the Fire Chief will be happy) and we don’t generate much yard waste. Baking soda would need to be added in 10-pound increments.

I’ve also looked at the trash container cleaning services that come once a month for $60+ dollars (suggesting) rinsing our own trash container. However, with a small, mostly paved yard, this is a health hazard, adding flies, rats and stench in our small yard.

I have neighbors who refuse to recycle their organic waste because of these issues. And, I’ve seen other neighbors who rinse out their organic waste bins in the street!

Waste Management has instructed us NOT to use compostable bags to collect our organic waste. I don’t understand why. Cities that use CR&R waste collection can use compostable bags, so this can’t be a conflict with the state’s efforts to keep organic waste out of the landfills. Here’s what’s on San Clemente’s website:

Organics Cart Tips

–Put yard trimmings and/or newspaper at the bottom of your organics cart.

–Alternate layers of food scraps and yard trimmings to keep your cart cleaner.

Compostable bags are optional. Other plastic bags, including grocery bags, are not accepted.

–Store your cart in the shade during warm weather.

–Keep your food scraps in the freezer until collection day.

–Sprinkle baking soda in your organics cart.

Would you please push Waste Management on the issue of allowing us to use compostable bags with our organic recycling? There has to be a reasonable solution to this growing health hazard so we can safely recycle our organic food waste.

Meg Monahan

Laguna Beach

Presbyterian parking structure is a good idea

 I believe the parking structure proposed for the Presbyterian property on Third St. is a good idea. It will provide parking for the Laguna Beach Community Center and Susi Q Center events when their underground 72 spaces are full and also for City Hall, Farmers Market, Sawdust, Pageant/Festival, east side downtown shops and nearby restaurants, including Slice, Lumberyard, Zinc, Shirley’s Bagels, etc., and of course, the Presbyterian church.                   

I think we/the city should own the property, not the church.               

Roger Carter

Laguna Beach


Shaena Stabler, President & CEO -

Lana Johnson, Editor -

Tom Johnson, Publisher -

Dianne Russell is our Associate Editor.

Michael Sterling is our Webmaster & Designer.

Mary Hurlbut and Scott Brashier are our photographers.

Alexis Amaradio, Dennis McTighe, Marrie Stone, Sara Hall, Suzie Harrison and Theresa Keegan are our writers and/or columnists.

In Memoriam - Stu Saffer and Barbara Diamond.

Email: with news releases, letters, etc.


Email: for questions about advertising


*The content and ads in this publication do not necessarily reflect the opinions or views of the publisher.

© 2023 2S Publishing, LLC - All Rights Reserved.