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City Manager’s Updates

20th Annual Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational Happening this Week – The 20th annual Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational is happening this week through Sunday around the City. Headquartered at the Festival of Arts grounds, the Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational features 50 of the nation’s top award-winning plein air artists who are dedicated to painting the landscape and preserving Laguna’s plein air painting legacy and tradition. 

During the 9-day plein air art festival, the invited artists can be seen painting in and around Laguna Beach parks, coastlines, and the canyon. The first Laguna Beach Plein Air Painting Invitational was presented in 1999. 

For more information, visit www.lagunapleinair.org

City Managers Updates artist

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Photo by Scott Brashier

Laguna Beach makes the perfect setting for the Plein Air Painting Invitational

Bluebird SOCWA “Glenneyre Dip” Odor Control Upgrade Project Update – 

The Water Quality Department has been working on a project to eliminate the sewer odors at the “Glenneyre Dip”. Staff is scheduled to present the revised project scope to the Design Review Board (DRB) on November 8. Staff has addressed the comments from both the public and DRB in the two previous hearings on June 14, 2018, and July 26, 2018. The public is encouraged to learn all about the project and to attend and participate in the hearing. 

For more information about the project, contact Hannah Johnson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. 

LitLaguna Workshop Series – The Laguna Beach Cultural Arts Department and the Literary Laureate Program present a series of writing workshops for aspiring writers who want to learn more about the craft of writing. 

The series will be held at the Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Center, 380 Third Street. Class size is limited. 

For dates, topics or to register, click here.

City to Partner With Health Care Agency to Exercise Emergency Response at Irvine Great Park – The City of Laguna Beach is one of seven South County cities partnering with the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) to exercise a Point of Dispensing (POD) emergency preparedness event at the Great Park in Irvine on October 18 from 4 to 6 p.m. to practice rapid distribution of medicine in the event of a public health outbreak. 

In a real emergency, PODs can save lives by getting needed medication and supplies to our community quickly and efficiently. If a widespread disease or other emergency were to occur, it may be necessary for local health departments to activate PODs to distribute large amounts of vaccinations, antibiotics, and other medicines to a large number of people. 

Participants will receive a commemorative tote bag, local emergency planning materials, information about the AlertOC emergency notification system, and a holiday pumpkin while supplies last. The exercise will help communities prepare for general health emergencies, and is a partnership of several local entities, including the Orange County Health Care Agency, Medical Reserve Corps and the cities of Aliso Viejo, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo and San Clemente. 

Visit www.AlertOC.org to learn about and register for OC’s mass notification system. 

Village Entrance Project Parking – In recent newspaper articles and at City Council candidate forums, questions have been raised regarding the number of vehicular parking spaces that will be provided by the Village Entrance Project. The purpose of this weekly update is to provide some background and information about the project.   

On November 12, 2013, the City Council decided to abandon a project to build a $42 million four-level parking structure at the Village Entrance site and instead chose a design that provides for surface parking, pedestrian pathways, enhanced landscaping and lighting, and improved traffic circulation. As part of this decision, the City Council decided to acquire a property adjacent to the project, positioned for development, and commonly known as the Christmas Tree Lot (725 Laguna Canyon Road). The lot was specifically acquired by the City Council to offset the anticipated loss of surface parking spaces resulting from the new design approach for the Village Entrance. The current project design was then approved in January 2018 after 16 public meetings over the last five years and the appeal period concluded in February 2018. Construction has started and will be complete in about two years, with the project being open for parking during the intervening summer seasons. The current project costs $11.1 million, which is a substantial reduction from the $42 million cost of the parking structure alternative.

When the Village Entrance project is complete in June of 2020, it will provide a total of 370 vehicle parking spaces, along with eight motorcycle and 104 bicycle parking spaces. Per parking codes, this is the equivalent of 387 parking spaces and encourages the use of motorcycles and bikes to relieve congestion on roads. In addition, the recent relocation of City employees to other buildings has reduced the employee parking need by 10 parking spaces and increasing the spaces available for public parking during the day.


LBHS cheer squad invites future cheerleaders to Laguna Beach Cheer Clinic this Saturday

Future cheerleaders, both boys and girls, from the ages of kindergarten through eighth grade, are invited to join the LBHS cheer squad at the Laguna Beach Cheer Clinic at LBHS Dugger Gym this Saturday, Oct 13. Attendees will learn cheers, chants, dance with the LBHS cheerleaders and perform at the LBHS versus Ocean View home football game on Friday, Oct 19.

LBHS cheer group

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Submitted photo

(L-R) Back row: Tanya Tran, Kelsey Bailey, Eden Pfanner, Chloe Gabora, Emma Diver, Sophia Pfanner, Izzy Lyons, Ariana Bonni, Alina Dziuk, Lucy Becker

(L-R) Front row: Captains Cirrafina Biele and Kali Russell

Not pictured: Alex Lemus, Nina Seidensticker, Kaylie Rozell

Registration begins at 8:30 a.m., and the clinic runs from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. The fee for the clinic is $50, which includes all instruction, a Laguna Cheer T-shirt, hair bow, pom-poms, snack and water. The price is $55 for sign-ups on the morning of the clinic.

LBHS Dugger Gym is on St Ann’s Dr, and LBHS cheerleaders will be there to direct attendees.

LBHS is located at 625 Park Ave.

Register online at www.lbhsathletics.com. Navigate to the cheer section.

For questions, contact Cheer Boosters at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


LBUSD Updates on One Billion Acts of Kindness and Dyslexia

One Billion Acts of Kindness

The Board reviewed and adopted Resolution #18-12: One Billion Acts of Kindness. Launched in 2016 by the OC Department of Education, the initiative seeks to improve school climate, promote character and rally communities for greater civility through one billion acts of kindness. 

The initiative also supports improved student behavior by reducing bullying, reducing suspension rates, and increasing attendance. LBUSD is committed to creating a positive learning environment for all students and staff. Annual climate survey data indicates that students feel safe on campus, welcomed by other students, and are respected by both students and staff. 

Every Student, Every day Study Session: Dyslexia and Our Journey

On August 14, 2017, the California Superintendent of Public Instruction released “the California Dyslexia Guidelines,” as required by Assembly Bill 1369 and California Education Code. The Dyslexia Guidelines is a long-awaited document meant to define dyslexia and identify responsive, research-based interventions. 

Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services Dr. Alysia Odipo, Director of Special Education Irene White, and staff led a Board Study Session on LBUSD’s journey to provide guidelines, raise awareness, and increase understanding of the characteristics of dyslexia.

LBUSD Dyslexia Study

Courtesy of LBUSD

LBUSD Board Members learning more about dyslexia and making District Guidelines

Study outcomes were to distinguish between fundamental truths and myths of dyslexia; understand how impairments of phonological nature are involved in dyslexia; and learn about District’s plan for identification and support.

The study showed that dyslexia isn’t about reversals and isn’t about faulty eye movements. The phenotype of dyslexia is about the inability to sound out words; unexpected comprehension difficulties; long term vocabulary challenges; and unexpected poor reading that is due to a problem in language, not in vision.

A critical point the Board learned is that early identification and intervention is the key. Strategies learned benefit all students, and later intervention does not produce the same benefits.

LBUSD Board Members hand on

Courtesy of LBUSD

LBUSD Board Members learn hands on about dyslexia

Per the California Educational Code, educational services for dyslexia are evidence-based, multisensory, direct, explicit, structural, and sequential. 

LBUSD Direct focus areas of dyslexia are Screening and Assessment, Instruction, Training, and Parent Partnerships.

For more information, please visit www.lbusd.org.


City Manager’s Updates

6th Annual Flood Prevention Device Practice Installation Day – The Code Enforcement Division has notified Laguna Beach property and business owners located in the flood hazard zone of the upcoming 6th Annual Flood Prevention Device Practice Installation Day scheduled for Monday, Oct 22. This is a voluntary educational emergency preparedness training event encouraged by FEMA. 

All people 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.

Bluebird SOCWA “Glenneyre Dip” Odor Control Upgrade Project Update – 

The Water Quality Department has been working on a project to eliminate the sewer odors at the “Glenneyre Dip”. Staff is scheduled to present the revised project scope to the Design Review Board (DRB) on November 8. Staff has addressed the comments from both the public and DRB in the two previous hearings on June 14 and July 26, 2018. The public is encouraged to learn all about the project and to attend and participate in the hearing. 

For more information about the project, contact Hannah Johnson at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Lane Closures on Coast Highway – On October 8 and 9, Caltrans will be conducting subsurface utility investigations on South Coast Highway near Broadway. Between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., one northbound lane will be closed on October 8 and one southbound lane will be closed on October 9. 

For additional information, contact Bob Bazargan, Caltrans Project Manager at (949) 279-9358.

City to Partner With Health Care Agency to Exercise Emergency Response at Irvine Great Park – The City of Laguna Beach is one of seven South County cities partnering with the Orange County Health Care Agency (HCA) to exercise a Point of Dispensing (POD) emergency preparedness event at the Great Park in Irvine on October 18 from 4 to 6 p.m. to practice rapid distribution of medicine in the event of a public health outbreak. 

If a widespread disease or other emergency were to occur, it may be necessary for local health departments to activate PODs to distribute large amounts of vaccinations, antibiotics, and other medicines to a large number of people. The Great Park POD exercise will offer both a walk-up option and a drive-thru option. During the event, participants will be directed through the exercise by local police and fire authorities and will be asked to complete a brief intake form, proceed to a nurse or nursing student who will distribute exercise materials, then be directed through the exit station. 

Participants will receive a commemorative tote bag, local emergency planning materials, information about the AlertOC emergency notification system, and a holiday pumpkin while supplies last. The exercise will help communities prepare for general health emergencies, and is a partnership of several local entities, including the Orange County Health Care Agency, Medical Reserve Corps and the cities of Aliso Viejo, Irvine, Laguna Beach, Laguna Niguel, Lake Forest, Mission Viejo and San Clemente. 

For more information about this one-day event, visit www.ochealthinfo.com/PODEvent.

Take the Trolley to the Classic Car Show – Why hassle with parking at the Classic Car Show this Sunday, October 7? Take the Neighborhood or Coastal Trolley to the event. 

For schedules and times, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net\trolley, use the Trolley Tracker on the Visit Laguna Beach mobile app or call (949) 497-0766. 

City Managers Updates Trolley

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The Trolley is a fun and free way to get around Laguna Beach

Construction Work in Front of City Hall – Two parking stalls in front of City Hall will be closed between October 9 and 12 to allow for modifications that will bring the handicapped parking space into compliance with current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.

Brooks Street Crosswalk Improvements Requiring a 10-minute Closure of Coast Highway – Caltrans is finalizing the installation of the in-road warning lights and flashing beacons at Brooks Street crosswalk on Coast Highway. To install the flashing beacons, South Coast Highway has to be closed for 10 minutes on Thursday, Oct 4 around 11:30 a.m. Traffic will be detoured away from South Coast Highway during that time.

If you have any questions regarding this project, contact Mark Trestik, Acting City Engineer at (949) 497-0300.


City Manager’s Updates

Upcoming Historic Preservation Ordinance Meeting, Sept 29 – A Special City Council meeting on the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance will take place this Saturday, Sept 29 at 1 p.m. in City Council Chambers. The purpose of this Special City Council meeting is to clarify legal requirements surrounding the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance and provide direction to the Historic Preservation Task Force. 

The meeting will broadcast live on cable channel 852 and streamed online at www.lagunabeachcity.net 

National Preparedness Month – Week 4September marks National Preparedness Month and the City of Laguna Beach encourages its residents to get prepared. For the week of Sept 24, it is recommended that you build an emergency kit, and have supplies on hand to keep everyone warm, safe, fed and hydrated until help arrives. Create or purchase a 72-hour survival and first aid kit and locate a place to store your food and water. 

Visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/getprepared for an easy to use template.

Council Chamber Banner and Holiday Palette Competitions – The Arts Commission is accepting design submissions for new banners in the City Hall Council Chambers and the annual Holiday Palette Competition. Design submissions are open to artists who live, work or exhibit in Laguna Beach and are 18 years of age or older. The deadline is October 1 before 5:00 p.m. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. 

For guidelines and application, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art/opportunities/.

City Managers Updates art

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Public Invited to Meeting on Plan for Regional Water Board Trash Provisions – The City of Laguna Beach Department of Water Quality would like to invite the public to a workshop detailing the draft municipal plan to comply with a San Diego Regional Water Board Trash Provision Order. 

The meeting is being held on Wednesday, Oct 3 from 9 to 10:30 a.m. in City Council Chambers to discuss the draft plan to comply with these provisions.

Construction Work in Front of City Hall – Two parking stalls in front of City Hall will be closed between October 9 and October 12 to allow for modifications that will bring the handicapped parking space into compliance with current Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) standards.

Holiday Cookie Recipe Contest – Residents are invited to participate in the Community Services Department’s second-annual Holiday Cookie Recipe Contest as we prepare to enter the winter holiday season. Each participant is asked to submit their cookie recipe and a brief story that explains why it is their family’s favorite recipe. Five finalists will be selected to bake a sample batch for a taste-test on November 5. The winner’s story and recipe will be published in the Winter 2019 Community Services brochure, to be mailed Citywide. 

Entry forms are available online here and at the front desk of the Community and Susi Q Center. Submissions are due by October 26. For more information, contact Adam Gufarotti, Senior Recreation Supervisor at (949) 497-0304.

Sunset Serenades – The concluding Sunset Serenades features a sing-a-long with musician Jason Feddy to the hits of the Beatles. The concert will be held on Friday, Sept 28 from 5:30 p.m. to sunset at the Heisler Park Amphitheater, on the corner of Cliff Drive and Jasmine Street. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

“The Art of Relevance” Marketing Workshop – On Friday, Oct 5 the City of Laguna Beach, in partnership with the National Arts Marketing Project, invites artists to attend a free marketing workshop downtown. Lunch will be provided. This event is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. 

For more detailed information and to register, visit https://lagunabeachart.eventbrite.com.

Call-for-Artists “Red Telephone Booth” – The Arts Commission is currently accepting artist proposals for a temporary art installation. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. The deadline is January 7, 2019. The honorarium is $5,000. 

To apply, go to https://lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com/.

City Managers Updates booth

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Photo by Stacia Stabler

The Red Telephone Booth on Forest Ave is one of the City’s temporary art installation locations and it’s time for a new piece to be installed

Brooks Street Crosswalk Improvements Requiring a 10-minute Closure of Coast Highway – Caltrans is finalizing the installation of the in-road warning lights and flashing beacons at Brooks Street crosswalk on Coast Highway. To install the flashing beacons, Coast Highway has to be closed for 10 minutes on Thursday, Oct 4, at around 10 a.m.  Traffic will be detoured away from South Coast Highway during that time. If you have any questions regarding this project, contact Mark Trestik, Acting City Engineer at (949) 497-0300.


City Manager’s Updates

Wayfinding Signage Pilot Project Survey – The City is conducting a Wayfinding Signage Pilot Project in the downtown and outlying areas in an effort to help residents and visitors find their way around the City. The community’s feedback will assist in evaluating the effectiveness of the ten recently installed pedestrian-oriented wayfinding signs and the ease of finding local attractions. The City truly values its residents’ opinions and would like to know what they think of the new wayfinding signs, and what they can improve before implementing a citywide program. 

Text LAGUNA to 565-12 to take a short survey or visit http://bycell.co/kdxo.

City Managers Updates Thalia

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Photo by Stacia Stabler

The City would like to know what the community thinks of the new wayfinding signs around town

Fire Station Upgrades – Questions have been raised about upgrades to fire stations. In 2005, the City completed a review of all City facilities, except the Corporation Yard since it was already programmed to be moved to ACT V. Improvements were made to fire stations, including raising the garage doors at Fire Stations No. 1 and No. 4 to allow taller fire trucks to fit in the stations, and multiple improvements to the interior of the fire stations. Fire Station No. 4, located at 31646 2nd Avenue in South Laguna, received additional analysis as part of the review. The station was seismically retrofitted in 1981 but will eventually have to be replaced. The study reviewed options to modify the station and plan for a new station in 10-15 years; replace it at its current location; or to acquire land, build a new station with public parking nearby and then sell the old fire station. In the end, the decision was made to increase the height of the garage doors, get another 10-15 years of useful life out of the fire station, and then plan to replace the station. The current capital improvement program for the City includes the accumulation of $7.1 million by the end of fiscal year 2020/21 to replace Fire Station No. 4 and make improvements needed to other City facilities at that time. Planning for the design of a new fire station is expected to be one of the priorities identified in the strategic plan that the new Fire Chief is working on for consideration by the City Council after the first of the year. 

Since the study was completed, and because of the priorities established at the time, the City constructed a new Corporation Yard, relocated the Parks Nursery from Olive Street, built a new Lifeguard Headquarters facility with new public restrooms at Main Beach, renovated the Animal Shelter, and made other improvements to various facilities.

Police Department Staffing – In 2009, the Police Department had 47 full-time sworn police officers. As of today, the Police Department has a budgeted sworn staffing level of 52; however, there are currently 55 sworn officers. The additional officers are available because the City Manager has authorized the Police Chief to over hire in order to prepare for anticipated retirements, as long expenditures are kept within the existing department budget. The City has also recently added a Community Outreach Officer, dedicated two officers to foot patrol in the downtown, added four full-time Beach Patrol Officers, added three full-time jailers and have year-round traffic control personnel. With these enhanced staffing levels and grants, the City has also maintained or increased traffic enforcement. The staffing levels in the Police Department today reflect the highest levels in the City’s history.

Annual Composting Class – The City’s solid waste hauler, Waste Management, will offer the last of four free composting classes planned for 2018 on Saturday, Sept 22, from 10 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.

Street Resurfacing – Beginning Sept 24, streets will be slurry sealed in the Laguna Canyon area and the area bounded by Thalia Street, Temple Terrace, Cress Street and the coast. The slurry seal work will take approximately three weeks and affected residents and businesses will be notified at least seven days prior to any road closure. 

For more information, visit the project website at www.lagunabeachcity.net/slurrysealor call (844) LAGUNA4 or (844) 524-8624.

Why doesn’t Laguna Beach have a reclaimed water system like surrounding cities? 

In October 2015, the Laguna Beach County Water District initiated a study to evaluate the feasibility of developing a recycled water project for irrigation purposes. With recycled water alternatives between 3 to 11 times greater than LBCWD’s current costs of imported water, the best and most economical option was to partner with neighboring agencies like El Toro Water District to take any extra capacity from their recycled water treatment facilities. Established communities like Laguna Beach have very little new development and must rely on grants or its ratepayers to pay for the installation of recycled water systems. One of the biggest factors in deciding who will receive grant funding is what the cost of the water supply will be. To construct this proposed system in Laguna Beach would require $35 million or more to build the distribution system to irrigate these areas. This proposed recycling project would result in a cost seventeen times greater than the District’s current cost of $1,000 an acre-foot for its imported water supply and twenty-three times greater than its current cost of $600 an acre-foot for groundwater.

Upcoming Historic Preservation Ordinance Meeting Sept 29 A special City Council meeting on the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance will take place on Saturday, Sept 29 at 1 p.m. in City Council Chambers. The purpose of this special City Council meeting is to clarify legal requirements surrounding the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance and provide direction to the Historic Preservation Task Force. 

The meeting will be broadcast live on cable channel 852 and streamed online at www.lagunabeachcity.net

City Managers Updates sign

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The City will hold a special council meeting on the Historic Preservation Ordinance on Saturday, Sept 29 at 1 p.m.

Artist Living, Working or Shared Space Survey – Artspace in partnership with the City will be accepting survey information from Artists and those who work in the creative industry through Monday, Sept 24.

Have your voice heard, visit http://www.artspace.org/CreativeSpaceLagunafor more information. The lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach fund the survey.

Council Chamber Banner and Holiday Palette Competitions – The Arts Commission is accepting design submissions for new banners in the City Hall Council Chambers and the annual Holiday Palette Competition. Submissions are open to artists who live, work, or exhibit in Laguna Beach and are 18 years of age or older. The deadline is October 1, before 5 p.m. 

The lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach fund the program. For guidelines and application visitswww.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art/opportunities/

“The Art of Relevance” Marketing Workshop – On Friday, Oct 5 the City of Laguna Beach, in partnership with the National Arts Marketing Project, invites artists to attend a free marketing workshop downtown. Lunch will be provided. The lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach fund this event. 

Register at https://lagunabeachart.eventbrite.com.

Fallen Officer Remembrance Ceremony – Please join the City and community this Friday at 5:30 p.m. for the annual Remembrance Ceremony to honor and never forget the lives of Officer French and Officer Coutchie. 


Historic Preservation Ordinance hearing moved again

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The Historic Preservation Ordinance hearing has been moved again, this time to 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept 29, to avoid conflict with Yom Kippur.

City Manager John Pietig was directed at Tuesday’s council meeting to find a date with no conflicts between Sept 18 and Oct 30. 

“The conflict was brought to our attention a couple of days earlier,” said Community Development Director Greg Pfost on Thursday. “When we scheduled the date we were not thinking of Yom Kippur.” 

However, on Tuesday, Village Laguna President Johanna Felder raised the issue during the Public Comment Period of the council meeting. 

She said the attorney hired by the Laguna Beach Preservation Coalition could not attend because of Yom Kippur.

Mayor Kelly Boyd said he had checked with Councilman Steve Dicterow, a practicing Jew, if the hearing would be problem.

Dicterow said he had checked with his rabbi and was told that civic duty took priority over the holiday.

“I think there would definitely be mixed responses from the rabbis in the area,” said Councilwoman Toni Iseman on Thursday.

Felder noted that the meeting date had been changed from the original date of Sept 11th to the 18th at the request of Boyd, because he was scheduled for a medical procedure and would not be available on the earlier date. 

Pietig said the council would have a good couple of hours on the 18th to conduct the hearing before Yom Kippur began that evening and recommended sticking to the schedule. 

He said staff had done everything it could to accommodate the community and the people on the Preservation Ordinance Task Force, who could not move forward until the council gave them direction. Putting off the hearing delayed any task force action. 

“This is not in the spirit of Laguna Beach,” said Iseman. “I feel it discriminates against an element of the community.”

Pietig took exception to Iseman’s comment.

“I resent the implication,” he said. “That was not our intent.”

Iseman said that is how it is perceived and a new date should be selected, which Council voted 5-0 on. She suggested moving it to Oct 30.

Pietig was able to come up with a date a month earlier. 

The hearing will be broadcast live and streamed online on Saturday, Sept 29 at 1 p.m. at www.lagunabeachcity.net.


City breaks ground on the Village Entrance Project 

The City of Laguna Beach marked a milestone in its history on Tuesday, September 11 with a groundbreaking ceremony for the Village Entrance Project.  Located in the area adjacent to the intersection of Laguna Canyon Road and Forest Avenue, the Village Entrance Project focuses on enhanced pedestrian safety, improved traffic flow and new public open space.

“The Village Entrance Project will create an outstanding gateway entrance to our City while also improving safety and circulation at one of the busiest intersections and parking areas in town,” said City Manager John Pietig. 

City breaks ground work

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

(L-R) Councilmember Steve Dicterow, Councilmember Toni Iseman, Councilmember Bob Whalen, Mayor Pro Tem Rob Zur Schmiede (not pictured Mayor Kelly Boyd)

Village Entrance Project elements include wider pedestrian pathways, improved lighting, extensive landscaped planting areas, new bridges and parking lots with enhanced paving and lighting. The project will happen in four stages and break during the summer of 2019 with an expected completion by summer of 2020. 

“The path to this groundbreaking today has been a journey, but worth the wait,” said Laguna Beach Mayor Kelly Boyd. “As a City we finally have the opportunity to come together and build a beautiful, welcoming entrance to Laguna Beach that we can all be proud of. It took a while, but we did it right.”

Public parking in the lots at the project site will be available until January of 2019, when some lots will close for construction. Detailed parking information and scheduled changes can be found here. City parking permit policies will not change during construction, and the weekly Farmer’s Market will remain located in the Lumberyard Lot until spring of 2020, when it will move to the new Lot 11. 

City breaks ground map

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The project will happen in four stages and break during the summer of 2019 with an expected completion by summer of 2020

“We wouldn’t be standing here today without the years of tireless dedication to this project by our City Council and staff,” Pietig said. “I want to thank them for all of their hard work and commitment in seeing this through for our town.”

Village Entrance Project highlights include: Wide multi-use trails made from decorative concrete and decomposed granite to create a pedestrian-friendly environment, including 52 bicycle racks. 

Also, extensive landscaping throughout the site, including the planting of 120 new trees, 9,100 new shrubs and 2,200 flats of ground cover. 

In addition, there will be upgraded decorative fencing along the drainage channel to replace the chain link fence, and also a new vehicle bridge aligned with the traffic signal at the Festival of Arts that will improve parking circulation and better separate vehicles from pedestrians and cyclists. 

City breaks ground channel

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Improvements will include upgraded decorative fencing along the drainage channel to replace the chain link fence seen here

Lastly, paved bridges, roads and new-lighted parking lots will improve safety, circulation and connectivity for pedestrians, cyclists and motorists. 

The City Council awarded the construction contract to C.S. Legacy Construction in the amount of $8,432,668. The revised project budget is $11.1 million and includes final design and all anticipated construction related costs. 

To sign up for a monthly newsletter on project activities, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/villageentrance or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


City Manager’s Updates

Historic Preservation Ordinance Meeting Rescheduled – The Sept 18 Special City Council meeting on the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance has been rescheduled to Saturday, Sept 29 at 1 p.m. in City Council Chambers. The purpose of this Special City Council meeting is to clarify legal requirements surrounding the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance and provide direction to the Historic Preservation Task Force. The meeting was rescheduled to accommodate as many people as possible and encourage community participation on this important topic for Laguna Beach. 

The meeting will be broadcast live on cable channel 852 and streamed online at www.lagunabeachcity.net

City Managers Updates sign

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

The City Council will meet on Sept 29 to clarify legal requirements surrounding the City’s Historic Preservation Ordinance

City Tree Trimming – The City’s tree maintenance contractor will start the 2018/19 public tree trimming cycle on Sept 17. All palm trees, Indian laurel figs, and coral trees will be trimmed throughout the city in this trim cycle along with trees located in downtown and south of Park Avenue. All trimming is done to improve tree health, reduce potential hazards/damage, and per ANSI A300 Standard Practices. 

Questions regarding trimming should be directed to Dale Schuck at (949) 497-0735 or Robert Sedita at (949) 497-0740.

Street Resurfacing – Road construction on Laguna Canyon Frontage Rd is scheduled for Tuesday, Sept 18. During working hours of 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., parking will be restricted on Laguna Canyon Frontage Rd. The street and sidewalk will remain open for use and minor traffic delays can be anticipated. Affected businesses have been notified. 

For more information, visit the project website at www.lagunabeachcity.net/slurryseal or call (844) LAGUNA4 or (844) 524-8624.

Police Department Welcomes Two New Officers – On Friday, Sept 14 James Denevan and Kylan Peterson graduate from the Gold West Police Academy, Class #158. The City welcomes them to their team. 

September is National Preparedness Month – September marks National Preparedness Month and the City of Laguna Beach encourages its residents to get prepared. The City is breaking down the month of September into weekly tasks that will help you be more prepared. This week – make a written plan with your family so you can contact one another in an emergency. Include evacuation routes, meeting point locations, contact information should your phone not work, and other items. 

Visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/getprepared for an easy-to-use template. 

Leashed Dogs Allowed on the Beaches Until June 15 – As of Sept 11, dogs are allowed on city and county beaches all day until June 15 of next year, provided they are on a leash no longer than six feet in length. The exception is Thousand Steps Beach where per county policy dogs are not allowed throughout the year.

City Managers Updates dog

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

As of Sept 11, dogs are allowed on city and county beaches all day until June 15, 2019, with the exception of Thousand Steps Beach

Watch for Deer Crossing the Road – Watch for deer crossing roads and highways in and near the City. Cars in separate incidents hit three deer last week at different locations in Laguna Beach.    

Have You Renewed Your Shopper Permit? The old pink 2016-2018 shopper parking permits expired on July 31. If you have not already done so, make sure to get the new blue 2018-2020 shopper-parking permit. Shopper parking permits are only available for residents of Laguna Beach (proof of residency required). They cost $80 each for the first two permits and $150 each for the third and fourth (with a maximum of four permits per household). The new blue shopper parking permits are valid for two years from August 1, 2018 to July 31, 2020.

For more information including to purchase a permit online, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/parking/parking_permits/shopper_permits.htm.

Sunset Serenades – Sunset Serenades continues this Friday at 5:30 p.m. with musical guest Jack Benny. The concert is held at the Heisler Park Amphitheater on the corner of Cliff Drive and Jasmine Street. The lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach fund this program.

Council Chamber Banner and Holiday Palette Competitions – The Arts Commission is accepting artist submissions for new banners in the City Hall Council Chambers and the annual Holiday Palette Competition. Submissions are open to Laguna Beach residents 18 years of age or older. Prospective designs must be delivered to the Cultural Arts Department, 2nd Floor City Hall, 505 Forest Ave. Deadline for submission is 5 p.m. on Oct 1. Funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. 

For guidelines and application, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art/opportunities.


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Council candidates outline positions at LBOR® and Chamber Forum

By MARRIE STONE and BARBARA DIAMOND

The Laguna Board of REALTORS® and the Chamber of Commerce hosted the first candidates’ forum of the 2018 election on Thursday before an involved audience in the City Council Chambers.

Candidates Peter Blake, Sue Marie Connolly, Ann Christoph, Toni Iseman, Sue Kempf, Cheryl Kinsman, Lorene Laguna, Judie Mancuso, Allison Mathews, Paul Merritt, and Rob Zur Schmiede were given two minutes for opening statements before Realtor Frank Hufnagel posed the first of five questions of consequence to the community. Elizabeth Bates announced last week that she is no longer a candidate although her name remains on the ballot, because she missed the cut-off date to have it removed. 

What would candidates do about parking in Laguna Beach?

Incumbent Zur Schmiede, nonprofit CEO Mancuso, and political volunteer Mathews recommended adding parking to ACT V. 

Businessman Merritt opposed meters at 1000 Steps Beach, concerned they would drive tourist parking into the neighborhoods, a problem incumbent Toni Iseman said could be dealt with by limiting parking in the off-highway streets to three hours and ticketing offenders.

Art Gallery owner Blake said he would dump the Village Entrance Park in favor of parking. Connolly agreed with Blake.

Landscape architect and former mayor Christoph said voters should decide about parking at the Village Entrance, which has been discussed for about 20 years, and she disagreed with Merritt about the loss of parking spaces, something the Coastal Commission would not fancy. 

Kempf recommended more peripheral parking and increasing parking rates downtown until people won’t pay the price.

Businesswoman Lorene Laguna and former mayor Cheryl Kinsman favored improved technology, such as credit card meters. 

How and why will candidates vote on the one-cent sales tax increase to fund undergrounding?

This is a major issue to be decided by a vote of the people in November. The audience included Village Laguna Elder Arnold Hano, who supports the increase and monitoring new technology, and increase opponent Jennifer Zeiter, founder of Stop Taxing Our Property (S.T.O.P). Seven of the 11 candidates agreed with Zeiter. Kempf, Connolly and both incumbents support the increase, although Iseman indicated she fears the increase will not pass.   

Council candidates meeting

Click on photo for larger image

Submitted photo

Candidates speak on issues

Do candidates support the proposed updated historic preservation ordinance and believe that inclusion on the Historical Register should be voluntary for property owners?

Planning Commission hearings on the proposed ordinance have been rancorous on more than one occasion. However, as Christoph pointed out, inclusion on the Historic Register has always been voluntary. The question should have been about voluntary inclusion on the inventory, she said. 

However, all of the candidates except Christoph and Iseman favored voluntary inclusion on the Register.

Blake was applauded when he said that a structure older than 50 years does not make it historical.

A special one-issue council meeting on the proposed revised ordinance will be held on Sept 18.

What do candidates think about Laguna’s reputation as the most difficult municipality in which to build and what can be done to improve the Design Review process?

 Blake said the process is rigged to block construction. Property rights have been eroded, and he would like them restored, he said.

People ought to be able to remodel their homes, according to Connolly.

Christoph supports the Design Review process as protection for applicants and neighbors. She does believe that preparing for a hearing is onerous, difficult and time consuming. Merritt agreed it takes too long to get a project built. And it’s too expensive, added Mathews. 

Kempf said the expenses before getting to a hearing are one of the biggest complaints. 

Lorene Laguna was hearing the same thing. One of her neighbors spent $80,000 before a spade touched the ground or a nail was hammered.

The process needs to be simplified, said Kinsman.

Mancuso said the process is dysfunctional. She supports term limits for members of city boards and commissions. 

Blame the city, not the board, said Iseman. She believes there is too much development going on in the city.

How would candidates handle the homeless of Laguna Beach? 

Lorene Laguna recommended enacting a panhandling ordinance. 

Kinsman and Blake said put more boots on the ground. However, Blake is not optimistic about stopping the problem, which he said is ruining downtown.

Zur Schmiede and Mancuso want surrounding cities to step up to the plate. Zur Schmiede said Laguna will benefit from legislation that requires surrounding cities to provide shelter beds. There is money available at the state, county and federal level for homeless projects, according to Mancuso. Kempf recommended creating a housing trust to build permanent supportive housing on county land. 

Merritt however, opposes seeking grants. He said they are trapdoors leading to condos and apartments for meth and heroin addicts.

Mathews, who volunteered to work with the homeless before moving to Laguna three years ago, agreed addiction is a problem, but the veterans with PTSD must be helped. “We owe them,” she said.

Iseman suggested finding shelters in other cities. Connolly said the city should send the homeless to Costa Mesa.

Christoph prefers working with the county to find housing. 

The forum concluded with closing statements 

Blake: “Village Laguna stands in the way of this town becoming special. Look at the candidates in their pockets. Vote for a change.”

Iseman: “I shop online at Christmas. Why? It’s easier. Make shopping in town easier and residents will shop here. Wrapped and ready to mail in town would make it easier to get over the Amazon habit.”

Mathews: She wants transparency, vibrancy and livability in town. She doesn’t like the fact that the city’s firefighters and police officers cannot afford to live in Laguna.

Merritt: He agrees with Mathews. “It is impossible for people who work in town to live here,” he said. He supports undergrounding, but wants to find another way to fund it.

Mancuso: “Unfinished business never gets finished,” she said. “That’s my goal.”

Zur Schmiede: “The council is a nonpartisan body and should stay that way…it is easy to take shots at a council that works hard, without knowing what that council is up against.”

Kinsman: “I am here for one reason. Money. I don’t want to leave my sons in debt.”

Lorene Laguna: She supports town hall forums, so residents can talk and interface with elected officials. She also opined that the community must guard against spending on consultants without review.

City Council Candidate Forums: One down, six to go

Remaining forums include:

Police and Firefighters Employee Associations: 6 p.m., Friday, Sept 14 at Top of the World Elementary School

Village Laguna: 7 p.m., Monday, Sept 17 in City Council Chambers

Laguna Beach Arts Alliance: 9 a.m., Saturday, Sept 29 at Laguna Playhouse

Stu News Laguna and KX 93.5: 5 p.m. reception – 6 p.m. forum, Tuesday, Oct 2 at The Woman’s Club

Laguna Beach Seniors and League of Women Voters: 6 p.m., Monday, Oct 8 at the Third Street Centers

Bill Fried’s radio show on KX 93.5: 6 to 8 p.m., Thursday, Oct 11

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