Commission approves a three-month trial of live music at Dizz’s

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Dizz’s As Is has three months to prove that live music won’t bother neighbors. 

The Planning Commission approved a test of the impact of live music from 5:30 to 9 p.m. on Wednesday evenings. Opposition was expressed by neighbors.  

“I’m here to create a little something for the locals,” said applicant Dominic Pitz.

Locals are among the restaurant’s most devoted patrons. Former City Manager Ken Frank chose Dizz’s As Is for his retirement party in 2010.

Frank and Michelle and Mayor Kelly Boyd were among the diners for Wednesday night’s musical debut.

“There were six of us and we asked to sit outside because we couldn’t hear ourselves talk inside,” said Boyd. “I don’t think Dizz’s is the place to have live music where people are eating. Outside was great.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Dizz’s As Is will feature music on Wednesday evenings

The application submitted by Pitz requested permission for performances on acoustic guitar, keyboard or other stringed instruments playing blues, jazz and classic soft rock. 

A noise study commissioned by Pitz was included in the application. 

The study measured noise impacts on multiple days between 5:30 and 9 p.m. from two locations inside the restaurant and from three spots outside. 

Sound levels increased up to 10 decibels when monitored from 10 to 15 feet away from the musicians. Outside levels reportedly did not exceed ambient traffic noise, regardless of location. 

The Pitz family has operated a restaurant at South Coast Highway and Nyes Place since 1977, bought from a couple said to be part of the hippie community in Laguna. 

It was just barely in Laguna at that time. Laguna Beach ended south of Nyes Place until the city annexed South Laguna in 1987.

According to the staff report, the 1920s cottage had first served as a lunch counter and grocery beginning in 1946.

The cottage and grounds now include the restaurant, a covered patio, three off-site parking spaces, a one-car garage and a residence above the garage.


City Manager’s Update

Coast Inn Subcommittee Meeting - On Jan 23, the City Council reviewed the Coast Inn/Coast Liquor Store Project (CUP 16-2479, PCDR 16-2475, CDP 16-2480 and VA 16-2482) proposed at 1391 and 1401 South Coast Highway.  

At that time, the City Council appointed Mayor Pro Tem Zur Schmiede and Councilmember Whalen as a Subcommittee to meet with the applicant in a public meeting.  

The subcommittee is scheduled to meet on Monday, Feb 12, from 4:30 to 6:15 p.m. at the Community & Susi Q Center (380 Third Avenue). After the Subcommittee completes its work, the item will be re-noticed prior to bringing the matter back to the City Council for public hearing. 

Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force -- The City Council is accepting applications for the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force. The Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force was created by the City Council at its Jan 23, City Council meeting.  The Task Force will consist of (9) nine members of the Public selected by two City Council members who will act as liaisons and non-voting members of the Task Force.  

The purpose of the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force will be to attempt to reach consensus on the Historic Preservation Ordinance and to provide recommendation(s) back to the City Council. 

Applicants may be contacted by a City Council member prior to the appointments so please be prepared to make a brief statement about your desire to serve on this Task Force. Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or on-line from the City’s website, www.lagunabeachcity.net and file by Wed, Feb 28, at 5:30 p.m. Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at 497-0705. Applications will not be accepted after the Feb 28 deadline.

(1) Two-Year Term on the View Restoration Committee - The City Council is accepting applications for (1) two-year term on the View Restoration Committee with terms beginning April 1 through March 31, 2020. Members of the View Restoration Committee adjudicate view claims submitted by property owners to restore pre-existing views that are alleged to be significantly impaired by vegetation.  

The five-member committee of local residents appointed by the City Council conduct public hearings to review claims, hear testimony and determine significant view impairment.  The Committee may approve a view restoration order and establish a maintenance schedule for the subject vegetation on the property. The View Restoration Committee generally meets on the first Monday of each month at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers. 

Interviews and appointments will be conducted on Tues, March 27, at 6 p.m., by the City Council in the City Council Chambers, 505 Forest Ave. Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on this committees should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or on-line from the City’s website, www.lagunabeachcity.net and file by Thurs, March15, at 5:30 p.m. Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at 497-0705. Applications will not be accepted after the March 15 deadline.

Partial Closure of Glenneyre Parking Structure on Feb 13 and 15 -  On February 13, the lower floor of the Glenneyre parking structure will be closed for cleaning and maintenance from 7 a.m. until noon.  

On February 15, the upper floor of the parking structure will be closed for cleaning and maintenance from 7 a.m. until noon. The closure will be posted 24 hours in advance and one floor of parking will be available at all times during the work. The entire structure will be available for parking on Valentine’s Day.

Mindfulness & Meditation for Breast Cancer Survivors - A breast cancer diagnosis and life during and after treatment often leaves individuals suffering from anxiety and fear. Growing research has shown that the use of mindfulness and meditation is a healthy and effective tool in mitigating these symptoms and providing quality of life.  Join presenter Anusha Wijeyakumar, Wellness Consultant for Hoag Hospital on Tuesday, Feb 27, from 5:30  – 7 p.m. at the Community & Susi Q Center.

Space is limited, call (949) 464-6645 to register or visit www.lagunabeachcity.net click “recreation classes.”

Community Assistance Grants - The City of Laguna Beach is now accepting applications for Fiscal Year 2018-2019 Community Assistance Grants. The Community Assistance Grant program is available to non-profit organizations that provide special services to residents of Laguna Beach. The objective of this program is to assist local organizations in funding new projects and/or expanded services within our community.

Like last year, we are utilizing an online application submittal process. Visit www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com to start the application process.  Additional information can be found on the City’s website at http://lagunabeachcity.net/CAG.  This year, the deadline has been extended by one month. The new deadline for applications submitted electronically will be Thurs, March 29, 5:30 p.m.

Hiring Beach Patrol Officers (part-time) - The Laguna Beach Police Department seeks enthusiastic, career-minded individuals to assist in the patrol and enforcement of Municipal and State codes within the City. Under the supervision of the Civilian Services Administrator or the Watch Commander, the Beach Patrol Officer, working with a partner, interacts with City residents and visitors at beaches and parks in a summer-style City uniform to enforce various City and State codes, rules, and regulations in a professional and courteous manner. To apply you must be at least 18 years of age. All prospective applicants must successfully pass through a thorough police background check. For more information on this position or to apply click here.

Hiring Police Aides (part-time) - The City of Laguna Beach seeks enthusiastic, dedicated individuals to serve in the capacity of Part-time Police Aide. Under the supervision of Laguna Beach Police Department personnel, the Police Aide directs traffic as needed and provides orderly control of pedestrian traffic and vehicular parking in an assigned area. The Police Aide also assists with other departmental tasks and support work, performs some parking enforcement duties, and performs other various assigned duties within the Police Department. Police Aides will be expected to direct traffic, requiring to stand for periods up to eight hours a day. To apply you must be at least 18 years of age. All prospective applicants must successfully pass through a thorough police background check. For more information on this position or to apply click here.


Council will announce appointments tonight for seats on city advisory groups

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council on Tuesday will interview 39 applicants for seats on five city committees, one board and one Task Force. Twenty three seats are open. Several applicants asked for appointment to more than one body, identified by an asterisk. 

Two-year terms begin April 1. Seven residents have applied for a seat on the Design Review Board. Two seats are available. Incumbents Meg Monahan and Caren Liuzzi have re-upped. Applications were also submitted by Jeffrey Feldman*, Emerich Hlava*, Benjamin Jensen, Audra Miller and Louis Weil*.

The View Restoration Committee is the only one to have the same number of applicants as openings. Staff recommended appointing the two applicants: Dave DiCesaris and Jeffrey Feldman*.  

Seven residents submitted applications for the five seats on the Affordable Housing Task Force. The council will choose between Gary Boisen, Jane Fulton, Mo Honarkar, Karen Martin, Allison Matthews*, Chris Quilter and Louis Weil*. 

Musical chairs ahead

The eight applicants for the three open seats on the Parking, Traffic & Circulation Committee include John Cushing, Jennifer Dawson, Jeffrey Feldman*, Hasty Honarkar*, India Hynes*, Benjamin Jensen*, John Marcos and Louis Weil*.

Appointments to the Environmental Sustainability Committee will be trickier. Five seats are open with two appointments to serve one-year terms and three to serve two-year terms. The seven applicants are incumbents Robert Ader and Irene Bowie, Shelly Christine Bennecke, Emerich Hlava*, Hasty Honarkar* and India Hynes*, and Allison Matthews*.

Two incumbent have re-upped for the Recreation Committee: Byron Nelson and Monica Silva. Michele Hall is the third applicant for the committee, which has two openings.

Four seats are open on the Heritage Committee, which is currently in the throes of the city’s contentious revamp of the Historical Preservation Ordinance. Incumbents Rick Gold and Regina Hartley are among the five applicants, which also include Tamara Dowell, Kip J. Scott, and Scott Sumner.

The committee voted in January to reduce membership from seven to five. 

Appointments to the seven city bodies will come immediately after a proclamation in honor of the Laguna Beach Garden Club is presented.


City Manager’s Updates

Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force -- The City Council is accepting applications for the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force. The Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force was created by the City Council at its Jan 23 City Council meeting.  

The Task Force will consist of (9) nine members of the Public selected by two City Council members who will act as liaisons and non-voting members of the Task Force. The purpose of the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force will be to attempt to reach consensus on the Historic Preservation Ordinance and to provide recommendation(s) back to the City Council. 

Applicants may be contacted by a City Council member prior to the appointments so please be prepared to make a brief statement about your desire to serve on this Task Force. Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or on-line from the City’s website, www.lagunabeachcity.net and file by Wed, Feb 28, at 5:30 p.m. 

Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at 497-0705. Applications will not be accepted after the Feb28 deadline.

South Coast Highway Lane Closures - The Laguna Beach County Water District will be closing the right southbound lane of South Coast Highway between Calliope Street and Bluebird Canyon Drive. The lane closure has been coordinated with Caltrans and will be in effect during working hours of 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. The work is expected to be completed by Feb 9. For questions, please contact Lisa Dunbar at (949) 464-3119. 

SCE Pole Replacement by Helicopter - Southern California Edison (SCE) will be using a helicopter to replace a pole in the open space easterly of Moulton Meadows Park on Feb 15. SCE has obtained permission from the County for the work. The helicopter will use the Fire Road between Top of the World and Arch Beach Heights as a landing/loading zone. The Fire road will be temporarily closed while the helicopter is over the landing zone, however, City emergency vehicles will take precedent and be allowed to pass. 

City of Laguna Beach Environmental Lecture Series on Sustainable Gardens - The City of Laguna Beach announces the second in a series of four, free public environmental lectures, entitled From Pots to Plots: Gardening in Laguna Beach.  The event will include information on growing herbs for the kitchen, attracting bees, birds or butterflies to your garden, and identifying new plants that are drought-tolerant, sustainable, or edible. 

The guided conversation will be led by Kelly Osborne, a volunteer with the Laguna Beach School Gardens Projects; Ruben Flores, local landscape designer; and Sally Coffey, Board Member of South Laguna Community Garden Park. The lecture will be held at 7 p.m. on Thurs, Feb 8, in the Community Room at the Laguna Beach Community Center located at 380 Third Street. 

For more information, please contact Environmental Specialist Michael Phillips at (949) 497-0390.

Junior Lifeguards - Registration for the 2018 Junior Lifeguard program is now open to Laguna Beach residents. Participants must pass the required swim test or have participated in the 2017 program to be eligible to register. The first swim test will be held Friday, Feb 2, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. All swim tests take place at the Laguna Beach High School and Community Pool, located at 670 Park Avenue. Additional information about the program, including a list of swim test dates, is available at: https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/catalog/index?filter=Y2F0ZWdvcnklNUI1MDE0JTVEPTEmc2VhcmNoPQ, or call (949) 497-0716 for more information.

Forest Avenue Banner Program - The Community Services Department is requesting email addresses from Laguna Beach based non-profit organizations interested in participating in the 2019 Forest Ave Banner Program. Please submit your email address before Thurs, Feb 22, to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to receive information and dates to participate in the program.


City Hall schedule reviewed - Employees support alternate Fridays off

By BARBARA DIAMOND

City Hall will continue to be closed every other Friday.

The City Council reviewed and approved the schedule at the Jan 23 meeting after a resident pulled the review from the Consent Calendar. An item on the calendar is approved without discussion unless a member of the council or the audience request it be opened for a separate vote. 

“The city should be open five days a week,” said Jennifer Siefert, who requested the schedule be pulled. “I know of complaints about service.”

The eight hours off on alternate Fridays are made up with longer work days. Employees still work 80 hours every two weeks. The Laguna Beach Municipal Employees Assn supports the schedule,

“It is beneficial to the employees and the residents,” said Joseph Carvin, on behalf of the Association.

City officials believe the 9/80 schedule is an employee recruiting and keeping tool, especially those with a long commute, which ultimately benefits the residents. 

A 2017 survey of employees showed the schedule played a significant role in employees’ decision to accept a job with the city. 

Schedule helps Laguna compete with other cities, Mayor Boyd says

“Before, we were competing with cities that offered it,” said Mayor Kelly Boyd. 

And the city was losing employees; 50 percent of them left to take jobs with other municipalities. The percentage decreased to 30 percent subsequent to the move to the 9/80 schedule, which went into effect on a trial basis beginning March 28, 2016, as a result of negotiations with the employees association. 

The council reviewed the schedule at a meeting on Jan 10, 2017 and voted to continue it for another year, with an update set for this month.

City Hall is now open for extended hours from 7:30 a.m. to 5:30 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. on the Friday it is open. 

Staff reported that the change has not resulted in complaints about service.

Laguna Beach Chat founder Michael Morris said his unofficial survey indicates that the 9/80 schedule does not inconvenience residents.

Emergency Services, including the Police, Fire and Marine Safety Departments, as well as Water Quality and Public Works Departments’ maintenance and emergency response crews are staffed every day.


Council asked to consider Laguna becoming a “Tree City”: generous offer made to create urban tree fund

By BARBARA DIAMOND

March 7 is Arbor Day in California – but not in Laguna Beach unless the City Council takes action.

Councilman Bob Whalen has requested a hearing on a city observance of Arbor Day, which is a requirement to be recognized as a Tree City USA. Mayor Pro Tem Rob Zur Schmiede and Public Works Director Shohreh DuPuis supported Whalen’s request.  

“Laguna Beach satisfies all of the Tree City USA criteria except one – the official observance of Arbor Day,” said Barbara McGillivray. 

Criteria for the Tree City designation include having a city tree department or board, a tree care ordinance, a comprehensive urban forest program and official recognition of Arbor Day.  

MacGillivray and her husband, filmmaker Greg MacGillivray, have offered to create an urban tree fund with a $50,000 donation, hoping that other donors will contribute.

She described the purpose of the fund to be enhancement, not a supplement, to the city’s program of re-planting and maintenance. 

“I met with Barbara regarding the very generous offer of a private fund,” said Whalen. “It is neat to enhance what the city does with private donations.”  

Greg MacGillivray said that 25 years ago residents created a Downtown Specific Plan that called for abundant flowers and trees. Trees, he said, are vital to the charm of downtown Laguna. 

More than 30 sidewalk ‘tombs’ in Laguna

Removal of trees, even for valid reasons, throughout the years has diminished the once abundant greenery that gave Forest Avenue its name, not to mention losses on other city streets, according to Barbara MacGillivray.  

“There are over 30 sidewalk tombs,” she said, referring to spots where trees used to be.

Laguna streets should be lined with trees that have been carefully maintained, urged landscape designer and nursery owner Ruben Flores.

“I am very supportive of Arbor Day in Laguna Beach,” Flores said. “We could bring in a festival, speakers and positive togetherness.”

National Arbor Day was founded in 1972. It is celebrated nationally on the last Friday in April, However, many states observe it on a different date, based on the best tree-planting time in the area.

California’s date is March 7.

“That is why we have an urgency to have a city endorsement for moving forward as quickly as possible,” MacGillivray said. 

Whalen’s request for a hearing targeted Feb. 27 or March 6.


City Manager’s Update

Leadership Laguna 2018: A Citizens’ Academy - Back by popular demand, the City of Laguna Beach 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 every Thursday in March from 7-9 p.m. (beginning on March 1 and ending on March 29). Each session will cover various aspects of local government and featuring presentations from local government leaders. Online applications are due by Friday, Feb 16. See attached flyer for more information or to apply visit: www.lagunabeachcity.net/leadershiplaguna.

Coffee with a Cop - Join us on Sat, Jan 27, from 8 a.m. – 11 a.m. in the driveway of 1260 Cliff Dr. for coffee and doughnuts. Personnel from the Laguna Beach Police Department will be passing out Crime Prevention information as well as hearing your neighborhood thoughts and concerns. Hope to see you there! The mission of Coffee with a Cop is to break down the barriers between police officers and the citizens they serve by removing agendas and allowing opportunities to ask questions, voice concerns, and get to know officers in your neighborhood. 

Glenneyre Parking Structure Walkway Repair - Starting on Mon Jan 29, a City Contractor will be rehabilitating the walkway adjacent to the Glenneyre Parking Structure. During this work, pedestrians will be detoured around the work zone and Southbound Glenneyre Street will be reduced to one lane. The construction is anticipated to take three weeks. For any questions, please contact Associate Civil Engineer, Tom Sandefur at (949) 497-0792 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .

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 5, 2018. Applications must be submitted on-line at www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com.

2018 Public Art Projects – Call for Artists - The City of Laguna Beach is currently accepting applications from qualified artists with demonstrated experience in public art. Applicants may apply for one or all projects. The sites are at the Agate Street and Thalia Street Beach access and the Third Street Stairway Project. For information about the call for artists and honorarium please visit www.lagunabeachcity.slideroom.com. These projects are being funded by Laguna Beach residents Linda and Toni Bonnici, Greg, Bobbi and Dick Nathanson, Tammie Arnold and Mark Porterfield.

Friday Flicks Back at the Forum - The Arts Commission will be screening the film “Loving Vincent” on Friday, Feb 2, at 7 p.m. at the Forum Theatre on the Festival of Arts grounds, 650 Laguna Canyon Road. Door will open at 6:45 p.m. The film is a story depicted in oil painted animation, of a young man who goes to the last hometown of painter Vincent van Gogh to deliver the troubled artist’s final letter and ends up investigating his final days.  The film is 97 minutes and is rated PG-13.  This event is free and is funded through the generosity of Laguna Beach residents Steve Chadima and Mark Porterfield.


City Council is accepting applications for the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force

The Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force was created by the City Council at its January 23 City Council meeting. The Task Force will consist of (9) nine members of the Public selected by two City Council members who will act as liaisons and non-voting members of the Task Force.  

The purpose of the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force will be to attempt to reach consensus on the Historic Preservation Ordinance and to provide a recommendation back to the City Council.

Applicants may be contacted by a City Council member prior to the appointments so please be prepared to make a brief statement about your desire to serve on this Task Force.

Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on the Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or on-line from the City’s website, www.lagunabeachcity.net and file by Wed, Feb 28, at 5:30 p.m.

Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at 497-0705. Applications will not be accepted after the Feb 28 deadline.


Council to review plans for Coast Inn renovation

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council will conduct a hearing tonight on a proposal to restore the Coast Inn and two other buildings on the corner of Mountain Road and South Coast Highway. 

Sixty-five letters of support for the restoration were collected Friday night from 147 guests at an open house hosted by property owners. However, the Planning Commission has recommended denial of the conditional use and coastal development permits, the design and a variance requested for the project. 

“We are trying to get as many people as possible to attend the meeting to support the project,” said Marshall Ininns, the Laguna Beach architect for the project.

The project has been hotly contested since it was first proposed about four years ago to the Laguna Beach Heritage Committee, which eventually endorsed the project.  

“It took about a year, but in the end, the committee recommended the council approve the project and consider a 75 percent reduction in the parking requirement,” Ininns said in a previous interview.

The committee conferred an E-rating on the hotel at 1401 South Coast Highway and the former liquor store designed by the late Chris Abel with the Smith family, the original builders and owners of the Coast Inn, in the mid-century modern style, and a K-rating on the cottage, the latter two across Mountain Road. The E-rating justifies the 75 percent parking deduction. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy Carolyn Smith Burris

The Coast Inn as it looked from approximately 1933 - 1954

“I have since learned that the stakes were not up and the committee may have misinterpreted what it would look like,” said Barbara Metzger, former planning commissioner. 

Personally, she is concerned about the request for a height variance to exceed the 36-foot-maximum.

Coast Inn neighbor Terry Meurer said the proposal adds the rooftop deck for 175 people, a restaurant and bar for 86 people and a pool and if approved, will exacerbate neighborhood problems with traffic, noise, trash and public safety.

Click on photo for a larger image

Rendering courtesy Marshall Innins

Rendering of proposed remodel of The Coast Inn

“Village Laguna opposes the project [as is],” said President Johanna Felder, by phone from New York. 

She also emailed a letter dated Jan 9 that states Village Laguna supports restoration of the Coast Inn, just not the project submitted. The letter urges the council to reject this and all other rooftop decks or the expansion of existing ones. 

In Felder’s absence, Village Laguna will be represented at the council hearing by Bonnie Hano, a former member of the Heritage Committee.

If the hotel restoration is denied, the existing conditional use permit remains in effect: approval of dancing and music in the legendary Boom Boom Room, for up to 597 people, according to property owner Chris Dornin. 

Chris and Marcella Dornin bought the hotel, the former liquor store and cottage in 2013. 

The council has options: denial of the project, approval as proposed, approval with modification or returning it the planning commission with directions.

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