Council will consider extension of city, Susi Q pilot program at Tuesday meeting

By BARBARA DIAMOND

A pilot program that partnered the city and Laguna Beach Seniors Inc. to upgrade and streamline services at the Third Street Centers will be evaluated by the City Council on Tuesday. 

Extension of the program has been recommended by city staff, which reports that the experimental program has made a positive difference in programming, customer service and overall operating efficiencies at the Third Street Centers.

Councilman Rob Zur Schmiede and representatives of the seniors developed an agreement to enhance the partnership by increasing efficiency, identifying cost savings and providing improved customer service at the Community and Susi Q Centers.

Staff cites improved service at the front desk, which is now provided by city employees. It is estimated that the arrangement saves the seniors $18,000 a year.

Among the senior-specific goals of the project are to ensure that Laguna’s older residents are aware of and find diverse, affordable and convenient programs at the center, reflecting their interests and needs.

A survey conducted by the seniors will focus on programs and center priorities to make certain that the goals of the pilot program are achieved now and in the future. 

Programs and services offered at the center will continue to be listed in the city’s Community Services brochure. Consideration of an icon to identify senior-specific information in the brochure has been tabled at this time is included in the lengthy report which is available for review on the city’s website lagunabeachcity.net.

The report and recommendation are on the program is on the council’s Consent Calendar, which will not be discusses at the meeting unless it is “pulled” by a member of the council or the public.


City Manager Updates

Fall Quarter 2017 Registration Activities - Registration for Fall 2017 recreation activities for all ages is available starting Monday, August 7.  To register and see the list of programs available visit: https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/catalog/index.

Parents’ Night Out - On Friday, August 25, from 5:30 - 9:30 p.m., the Laguna Beach Community Services Department will be hosting its quarterly Parents’ Night Out.  For registration and information please visit: https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/catalog/index?search=parents.

Citywide Curb Ramp Improvements-The City is planning to have 35 new accessible curb ramps installed at several intersections along Alta Laguna Boulevard, upper Park Avenue, and various locations near downtown. Construction is scheduled to begin on August 8 and take approximately two months to complete. Minor traffic impacts can be anticipated during work hours of 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Monday through Friday. For additional information, please contact Tri Nguyen, Project Manager, at 949-497-0741 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

New Laguna Beach Police Explorers - Explorers Joshua Herbst and Skyler Martin will be graduating from the Orange County Law Enforcement Explorer Advisor Association (OCLEEAA) Explorer Academy on Sunday August 6. The graduation is being held at the Orange County Sheriff’s Academy. We are happy to have them part of our team!

Laguna Beach County Water District Work on Glenneyre Street & Thalia Street - The Laguna Beach County Water District is planning to close traffic lanes to make emergency leak repairs on Glenneyre Street and Thalia Street. On August 8, northbound Glenneyre Street will be closed between Bluebird Canyon and Calliope Street; and, on August 10, the uphill lane on Thalia Street will be closed between Avalon Avenue and Wilson Street. Detours and minor traffic delays can be expected during the closure hours of 8 a.m. to 3 p.m. For more information, please contact the Water District at (949) 494-1041.

Meeting to Discuss Modifications to the Neighborhood Transit Services-On July 31, the City held a neighborhood meeting to discuss City Council recommended modifications to the off-season Neighborhood Trolley schedule, and the Mainline North and South route.  

These modifications include operating weekday peak hour service in the Top of the World, Bluebird Canyon and Arch Beach Heights neighborhoods. In addition, the recommendations include cancellation of the North Laguna/Canyon and the South Laguna/Ritz Mainline Routes (blue and white buses).  

Staff also discussed the extension of the off-season Neighborhood Weekend Service which includes operating until 11 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday and 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Sunday.  For more information: http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/transit_and_trolleys/citybus.htm.  

The public input period is still open to send in feedback on these recommended changes.  Please contact or email Deputy Director Paula Faust at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or 949-497-0303.


Planning Commission public hearing for the So CA Gas Advanced Meter project scheduled on Aug 16

The Planning Commission will conduct a study session on the proposed Southern California Gas Advanced Meter project, which would upgrade residential and commercial gas meters in the City with “advanced meter” technology for remote natural gas usage tracking. The Commission will hold a public hearing at its Wed, Aug 16, meeting, which starts at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers located at 505 Forest Avenue.  

Southern California Gas has submitted applications to establish data collectors throughout its local service area (all developed areas of LB excluding South Laguna). The data collector units resemble small cellular installations and will be subject to the City’s Wireless Communications Facilities Ordinance. 

The purpose of the study session is to review the master plan and discuss potential collocation opportunities, siting preferences, staking requirements and other considerations prior to scheduling any site-specific application for a public hearing.  

The data collectors will require a Conditional Use Permit and Planning Commission Design Review, and in select circumstances a Coastal Development Permit. For each application, a public notice identifying the date and time of the public hearing will be mailed to neighbors in accordance with City noticing requirements.

Planning Commission meetings are open to the public. They are also broadcast on government channel 852 on Cox, streamed on the City’s website, and archived on the City’s website for future viewing. 

To view a copy of the staff presentation for this item, please refer to the City’s website: http://www.lagunabeachcity.net/ It will be available by 5:30 p.m. on Fri, Aug 11.


City council approves evaluation of in-town parking structures: reactions are mixed

By BARBARA DIAMOND

A proposal at Tuesday’s council meeting to consider possible sites for in-town parking structures and how to evaluate them met with mixed reactions and in one case, downright hostility. 

However, the council unanimously approved three of the five staff recommendations and tacked on a fourth. Recommendations included further study of four sites: top-ranked Art-A-Fair, the development site at 331-397 North Coast Highway, Holiday Inn on South Coast Highway and on property owned by Laguna Presbyterian Church on Third Street.

“We got some ideas we should follow up on,” said Councilman Rob Zur Schmiede.

Some of the sites investigated by the city resulted from contact by developers suggesting a partnership. 

“We are looking for direction from the council to try to put together some projects,” said City Manager John Pietig.  

Speakers from the audience were about evenly divided for and against in-town parking structures. 

An irate Lorene Auger, who now signs her last name as Laguna, vehemently opposed the inclusion of Art-A-Fair as a possible site for a parking structure. 

“There are three council seats up for election – if this goes through, I can guarantee you they will be gone,” she said. “This will not happen.”

She reminded council that a proposed parking structure at the Village Entrance, just up the road from Art-A-Fair was jettisoned due to public action.

“We have to figure out who we are”

Thilde Peterson said the city should build on Dupuis’ presentation.

“We have to figure out who we are,” Peterson said. 

Her business partner Hillary Cole suggested considering a parking authority, under city control, as a way to fund parking construction without incurring city debt.

There was no discussion of bonds listed by Dupuis as a means of funding. She also listed the $6 million in the Parking Fund and future parking revenue, citing the $900,000 annually collected from the Glenneyre Street structure.  

South Lagunan John Thomas opined that no taxpayers’ money should be used to benefit the millions of visitors rather than residents.

Mark Orgill, former owner of Seven Degrees, an entertainment venue on Frontage Road, saw the staff proposal differently: an opportunity. He favors underground projects and would celebrate resident-only parking.

“For years people said we need more parking---now they say we don’t need more parking,” groused Mayor Pro Tem Kelly Boyd. 

Boyd opined that whether additional parking is provided or not, the tourists are going to come to Laguna.

“They are already here,” said Councilman Bob Whalen. “We should be pro-active.”

He proposed immediate consultation with the California Coastal Commission, which controls much, if not all parking in Laguna. 

Whalen’s recommendation to staff, to work with the commission to determine parameters for parking strategies that would allow the City to regain control of the parking regulations in residential areas, was included in the motion approved by the council. 

Analysis of the Hotel Laguna, Boat Canyon and Aliso Beach sites were also added to the motion for consideration as possible sites.


City Manager Updates

Smoke-Free Ordinance Implementation - Staff will continue its comprehensive public education program by installing temporary signage in the downtown and commercial areas to inform visitors of the new smoke-free ordinance. Previous public education efforts include utilizing the City’s message boards, social media, and city website as well as outreach by staff and downtown foot patrol. 

Additional outreach efforts will include providing education resources to local businesses and multi-unit residences. For more information please visit: www.lagunabeachcity.net/smoking

Meeting to Discuss Neighborhood Transit Services - In March, the Laguna Beach City Council recommended modifications to the off-season Neighborhood Trolley schedule, and to cancel the North Laguna and South Laguna bus routes, pending a community outreach process.  

Meeting to discuss Neighborhood Transit Services is at Susi Q Monday July 31

An outreach meeting will be held Monday, July 31, at 6:30 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room at the Community and Susi Q Center at 380 Third Street to receive input from the public. For more information: call Paula Faust at 949-497-0303 or go to http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/transit_and_trolleys/citybus.htm.

City seeks residents’ input at focus groups discussing Artist Live/Work, Work and Production Space - The City has scheduled focus groups on August 1 & 2 seeking residents’ input on artist live/work, work and production space issues. They’re hoping for innovative, productive ideas that will provide solutions for some of the related challenges.

Focus groups include the Canyon Focus Group, 10 a.m. on Aug 1 in Conference Room A, City Hall; Artist Focus Group also on Aug 1 at noon at the Sawdust Artist Festival; a Community Focus Group at 9:30 .m. on Aug 2 at City Hall, Council Chambers; and another Artist Focus Group on Aug 2 at 1 p.m.  at the Festival of the Arts. For more information, visit the City’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net


City bows out of deal for Lewellyn Drive property

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council will be advised on Tuesday to pull out of the deal to purchase property above the Sawdust Festival and the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach.

Purchase of property located at 1199 Lewellyn Drive was approved by the council in December 2016. The property was proposed to be preserved as open space and passive recreational use. 

The price was $1,632,000, the deal subject to proof that the property was satisfactory for its proposed use.

Subsequent geological and hydrology/drainage studies indicated problems that would cost an estimated $800,000 to $1 million to repair.

The city tried to renegotiate a lower sales price to cover some of the costs of stabilizing the hillside. However, the property owners recently indicated that they are not willing to reduce the price. 

City Manager John Pietig and Attorney Phillip Kohn are recommending the council withdraw its conditional approval of the purchase. 

Withdrawal means the city will have to defend itself against a lawsuit initiated by the property owners to challenge a council interpretation of the Municipal Fire Code that the code is applicable to proposed reconstruction of a fire-damaged residence. 

The item is on the Consent Calendar and will not be discussed unless “pulled” by a member of the council or the audience.


City Manager Updates

Three New Police Officers - On July 17, two new Laguna Beach police officers were sworn in, Officer Ashley Krotine and Officer Shahriyar (Sahr) Hariri. Officer Krotine is a graduate of the Golden West Police Academy and Officer Hariri is a lateral officer from the San Diego School Police Department. 

On Friday, July 21, new Police Officer Rajen Patel graduates from the Golden West Police Academy. Rajen was a police officer in London, England before moving to the United States with his family. We are happy to have them part of our team!

Summer Breeze - The Summer Breeze Program is serving many of Laguna Beach visitors and the ridership has increased by 45 percent in comparison to last summer.  

The Summer Breeze service offers free parking and free bus ride into Laguna Beach, stopping at the Festivals and downtown on Saturdays and Sundays, from 11 a.m. to midnight, with service every half hour.  For more information, please visit:

www.lagunabeachcity.net/summerbreeze.

Public Workshop-Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance Update - The City of Laguna Beach Planning Commission will host a joint workshop with the Housing and Human Services Committee and Senior Housing Task Force to review staff’s preliminary recommendation and gather public input regarding an 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. 

At this workshop, participants will have the opportunity to provide comments, prior to public hearings to consider adoption in the fall. The workshop will be held on Wednesday, July 26, at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, located at 505 Forest Ave.

If you have any questions, please contact Monique Alaniz-Flejter at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 497-0744 or Melinda Dacey at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 497-0325.

Landscape and Scenic Highways Element and Resource Document - Review of Draft Documents - City of Laguna Beach Planning Commission will begin their review of the Landscape and Scenic Highways Element (LSHE) and Resource Document on Wednesday, July 26, during the Planning Commission special meeting scheduled to begin at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall (505 Forest Avenue).  

This item is the second item on the agenda and will begin after the Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance Workshop.  A copy of the draft documents are available to view on the City’s website: www.lagunabeachcity.net.  

For more information on the LSHE and LSHRD project please contact: Jim Pechous, Assistant Director of Community Development, at (949) 497-0320; This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


City Manager Updates

Laguna Beach Trolley: The Trolley system is in full swing with extended summer hours. Residents of the Top of the World, Bluebird Canyon and Arch Beach Heights can now hop on a trolley to take them to the beach, downtown or to the Art Festivals.  Hours for the Neighborhood Trolley are Mon – Thurs 6:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Friday 6:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m., Saturday 9:30 a.m. to 11:30 p.m. and Sunday 11 a.m. to 11:30 p.m.  For additional information, go to http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/transit_and_trolleys/citybus.htm

Citywide Sidewalk Repairs: A City contractor is scheduled to remove and replace damaged and/or displaced concrete sidewalks, curbs, and driveways on Park Avenue from Wendt Terrace to Tahiti Avenue and the Mystic Hills area from July 17 through September 8.  Work will be conducted between 8 a.m. and 5 p.m., Monday through Friday.  During working hours, traffic control operations will be in place and minor traffic impacts can be anticipated.  For any questions, please contact Tom Sandefur, Associate Civil Engineer, 949-497-0792 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Work at the former Community Services Building: Renovations are ongoing at the former Community Services Department adjacent to City Hall.  During the week of July 10-14, a new sewer line is expected to be installed in front of the building.   During this phase of construction, there will be periodic noise from jackhammer equipment, and closures of the lawn and sidewalk area in front of the building for the pipe trenches.  In addition, two parking spaces will be closed off intermittently in front of City Hall to load trucks with debris and deliver materials. For any questions, please contact Louis Kneip, Project Director, (949) 464-6688 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

Design Review Board: The City of Laguna Beach Design Review Board will begin their review of the Landscape and Scenic Highways Element (LSHE) and Resource Document on Thursday, July 13, during the Design Review Board’s regularly scheduled meeting at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall (505 Forest Avenue).  

Irvine Bowl Tennis and Main Beach Basketball Court Resurfacing: Routine maintenance and resurfacing work at the Irvine Bowl Tennis Courts will take place Monday, July 10, through Friday, July 14, and the Main Beach Basketball Courts will take place Monday, July 17, through Friday, July 21. For any questions, please contact Alexis Braun, Recreation Supervisor, (949) 497-0762 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


Updates from the Laguna Beach City Manager’s office

CERT Class #8 Graduates - Fifteen (15) community members graduated this week from the FEMA certified 25-Hour Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) class taught collaboratively between the Police and Fire Departments. Course topics included: CERT Organization, Disaster Psychology, Terrorism Awareness, Fire Suppression, Search and Rescue, and Medical Operations. The class concludes with a disaster scenario where you put all your learned skills to work! Congratulations to the new members.  To learn more about CERT please visit our website: www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/police/emergprep/cert.htm.

 

Parents’ Night Out - On Friday, February 10, from 5:30 p.m. - 9:30 p.m., the Laguna Beach Community Services Department will be hosting its quarterly Parents’ Night Out.  For registration and for information please visit: https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/catalog/index?search=parents.

 

Recreation Committee Student Advisors - The Recreation Committee is accepting applications to appoint two Laguna Beach High School students to serve as a non-voting advisors on the Committee. The students should have an interest in city government, recreation, and the community. Applications are due to the Community Services Department by Thursday, February 9. Information can be found by visiting:

http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/council/committees/recreationcomm.htm.

 

Leadership Laguna 2017: A Citizens’ Academy - Back by popular demand, the Laguna Beach Community Foundation and the City will be hosting a free, five-week citizen awareness program for residents to learn about city operations and how to participate in civic affairs. Sessions take place on Thursdays from 7 p.m. – 9 p.m. beginning on March 2. Each session will cover aspects of local government, featuring presentations from department leaders. Leadership Laguna will answer your questions about City government and offer an insider look to encourage community involvement. Space is limited!!! To apply, please visit:

http://www.lagunabeachcf.org/leadership-laguna.html

 

Cultural Arts Funding - The City of Laguna Beach is currently accepting grant applications from non-profit organizations for cultural programming based in Laguna Beach. The deadline to submit an application is February 6, 2017. Applications must be submitted on-line at www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com

 

Caltrans – Lane Closure on Laguna Canyon Road - On Tuesday, February 7, Caltrans is scheduled to perform an engineering study on northbound Laguna Canyon Road near Canyon Acres Drive.  Traffic will be reduced to one northbound lane from 10:00 a.m. to 12:00 p.m.  Southbound lanes are not affected.  Advanced warning signs will be installed for traffic control.

 

Coast Highway Lane Closure - To accommodate SDG&E work associated with Coast Royal utility undergrounding, one southbound lane of Coast Highway near West Street will be closed on Tuesday, February 7, between 9:00 a.m. and 3:00 p.m.  Minor traffic impacts can be anticipated.

 

Caltrans Work on Anita Street, Brooks Street and Calliope Street - Between February 13 and 17, a Caltrans contractor will be conducting geotechnical borings on Anita, Brooks, and Calliope Streets, near Coast Highway, as part of the design of crosswalk improvements at these locations. Minor traffic and parking impacts in the immediate area of the work can be anticipated.

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