Updates from the Laguna Beach City Manager’s office

The City Manager’s office prepares a memo for Councilmembers weekly with notes covering many subjects.

Released: May 12, 2011

Cox Files for Relief of Regulation – Cox Communication has filed, with the FCC, for relief of regulation regarding its cable television service due to the penetration levels of satellite television companies.  Laguna Beach does not presently regulate the rates of cable television companies.

Plastic Bag Ban – Last week the California Supreme Court heard the City of Manhattan Beach Plastic Bag Ban case.  The case centers around whether a local government is required to perform an Environmental Impact Report prior to banning the distribution of plastic grocery bags. Several cities and counties have performed EIRs and then adopted ordinances banning or regulating plastic and paper bags. Others tried enacting regulations with a Mitigated Negative Declaration or Categorical Exemption, and were sued by the plastic manufacturers for allegedly failing to comply with California Environmental Quality Act analysis requirements. The Manhattan Beach case could resolve those issues. The Court has 90 days to rule.

Fourth of July Fireworks will go on! – The San Diego Regional Water Quality Control Board voted 6-0 this week to approve a process whereby permits can be issued to allow fireworks on an annual basis.  The details of the process have not yet been finalized; however, it is expected that the permit will cost about $1,500.  Some type of best management practices will also be identified to clean up after events.

Top of The World Hiking Trail Repaired – The short hiking trail from Old Top of The World to the Fire Road leading to Arch Beach heights was badly eroded from last year’s storms. City crews spent a couple of days this week filling in all of the ruts.

Caltrans Sidewalk Repair – Next week, Caltrans will begin replacing damaged concrete sidewalk, curb, gutter and driveways on Broadway/Laguna Canyon Road between Coast Highway and Woodland Drive. Work will be completed prior to the Memorial Day weekend.  The second phase of this project will be on North Coast Highway and will begin in September.


Emergency Disaster Preparedness Committee will be open to city and Emerald Bay residents

The City Council is currently accepting applications for seven terms on an Emergency Disaster Preparedness Committee approved by the Council on May 3, 2011. As this is a newly appointed committee, which will have staggered terms, four of the appointments will be for two years and three appointments will be for one year.

Unlike other City committees, the Council will consider not only residents of Laguna Beach, but also of Emerald Bay. The Committee will make recommendations to the Council and will perform, but not be limited to the following:

Provide an ongoing forum for ideas and input from residents, businesses, services providers, etc. regarding what they can do to be prepared for the next emergency or disaster;

Research grant funding and other funding opportunities to support disaster preparedness and public safety related to same;

Provide input to the City Council and staff regarding ideas to be incorporated into the “official” Emergency Preparedness Plan of the City.

Help neighborhoods organize for disaster preparedness;

Work with the Chamber of Commerce to help businesses throughout town organize for disaster preparedness and establish a process to conduct timely assessments of businesses impacted by a disaster;

Work with the Laguna Relief and Resource Center to prepare for potential emergencies (e.g. help in developing a standard post-disaster resident needs assessment process, help to refine a clearinghouse system for victims or those displaced during a disaster, maintain a list of others that can help following a disaster, etc.); and

Identify local resources that can help in the event of an emergency (e.g. grocery stores, pharmacies, hardware and supply stores, large non-profit organizations) and provide that information to the relevant City Council and City Departments.

Laguna Beach or Emerald Bay residents who are interested in these positions, are required to submit an application, which is available at the City Clerk’s office or on the City’s web site at www.lagunabeachcity.net.  (Go to City Hall—Boards & Commissions—Application).

Applications must be filed with the City Clerk by 5 p.m., Tuesday June 14, 2011.  All applicants will be interviewed by the City Council at their regular meeting of June 21, 2011, at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 505 Forest Avenue, Laguna Beach.


Updates from the Laguna Beach City Manager’s office

The City Manager’s office prepares a memo for Councilmembers weekly with notes covering many subjects.

Released: May 5, 2011

Heisler Park Renovation – The contractor is rapidly completing the improvements in the terrace garden area that extends down to the Rockpile Beach lawn area. This used to be the old shuffleboard court area. Recent footing excavations for walls have revealed unexpected groundwater conditions that are presenting some challenges. The project is still on schedule for completion by the middle of June.

City Planning Award – On Wednesday evening the City’s Community Development Department was awarded the Orange County Section of the American Planning Association’s Focused Issue Planning Award of Merit for the recently adopted Design Guidelines – A Guide to Residential Development. The Focused Issue Planning Award is awarded for a planning document of unusually high merit dealing with a specific aspect of the planning process. A panel of five jurors selected this year’s awards.  The Design Guidelines – A Guide to Residential Development was recognized as a comprehensive document that describes the design review criteria and the design review process.  Congratulations to all who participated in the creation of the document.

Sergeant Greg Bartz – Sergeant Bartz who retired in 2004 after over thirty years with the Police Department passed away Monday at his home in Madison, Connecticut.  Greg was 61 years old and is survived by his wife, Dawn and five children.

Wildfire Awareness Week – The Governor issued a proclamation declaring May 1 – 7, 2011 Wildfire Awareness Week.  California averages 7,000 wildfires per year that impact the public and emergency worker safety, economy, environment and quality of life for Californians.  Wildfire Awareness Week is an important opportunity for California’s communities and fire service agencies to reduce the risk of wildfire and increase public safety and awareness through education on fire safety, preparation and prevention.

The Goats Have Arrived! – An additional herd of goats recently approved by City Council arrived this week to help graze the extraordinary vegetation growth this year.  The herd of approximately 300 goats has begun their fire prevention and mitigation efforts behind City Hall.  Once finished behind City Hall, the herd will graze below Skyline and eventually toward the back of Top of the World.  The primary herd remains in North Laguna and is grazing in a southerly direction toward the Downtown area.

September 11 Remembrance Sculpture – At its meeting on Tuesday, the City Council approved the competition guidelines for a memorial sculpture at Monument Point. The installation will include two metal beams from the World Trade Center and will convey the message of remembrance, respect and reflection.  The competition is open to Laguna Beach artists and the deadline to submit qualifications is Friday, May 20, 2011. Application information is available at www.lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art/default.asp

Sunset Serenades – The Arts Commission program, Sunset Serenades, will be held every Friday evening starting on May 6. Held at the Picnic Beach entrance in Heisler Park the concerts start at 6:30 p.m. and are free. The schedule of performers is: 5/6 Tommy Davy Band – Gypsy Jazz; 5/13 Beth Wood – Singer/songwriter; 5/20 The Berkley Hunts – Eclectic Folk; and 5/27 Matt Poltrano Trio – Piano Jazz. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Free Compost Giveaway – The annual compost giveaway event will be held on Saturday, May 14 from 8 a.m. to Noon at the Act V Lot, 1900 Laguna Canyon Road.  This is a self-service event.  Empty sandbags will be provided, which residents can fill with compost.  There will be a limit of six bags (about 80 lbs.) per household.  Distributions are on a first come first serve basis for Laguna Beach residents only.


2011 Banner Competition winners announced

Banner 1 Banner 2

Banner 3 Banner 4

The City of Laguna Beach Arts Commission reviewed 37 entries to the annual banner competition and selected four winning designs. The banners will go on display throughout the city during the summer season. The lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach fund this program.

The top two banners are by Cliff Wassman; above left by Elliott Whalen; and above right by Al Esquerra. All three winning artists are from Laguna Beach.


City of Laguna Beach Emergency Preparedness Workshop Report – Download PDF here

The City held an Emergency Preparedness Workshop on April 9 in the Council Chambers hosted by Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Pearson and Councilman Kelly Boyd.

A report of that workshop was released this week and can be downloaded by clicking on the button above.

Updates from the Laguna Beach City Manager’s office

The City Manager’s office prepares a memo for Councilmembers weekly with notes covering many subjects.

Released: April 28, 2011

Sunset Serenades – The Arts Commission program, Sunset Serenades, will be held every Friday evening starting on May 6. Held at the Picnic Beach entrance in Heisler Park the concerts start at 6:30 p.m. and are free. The schedule of performers is: 5/6 Tommy Davy Band – Gypsy Jazz; 5/13 Beth Wood – Singer/songwriter; 5/20 The Berkley Hunts – Eclectic Folk; and 5/27 Matt Poltrano Trio – Piano Jazz. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Temporary Sculpture Exhibition – At its meeting on April 25, the Arts Commission selected a sculpture by Jon Seeman for temporary installation in Heisler Park. The sculpture titled, “Watch Your Toes” is created of steel and will be on exhibit through June 2013. The sculpture will be located on the ocean side of the Inn at Laguna Beach and is on loan from Marion Meyer Contemporary Art.  This program has been funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

City Hall Exhibition – On May 3 the Festival of Arts, Artist Fund Committee will be installing its exhibit, “Go Gold” at City Hall. The exhibit includes works from Festival of Arts exhibitors and will be on display through June 20, 2011. A reception will be held at 5 p.m. on Thursday June 2 prior to First Thursday’s Art Walk.

Track and Field Champions – The City of Laguna Beach Track Team will participate this Sunday, May 1 in the 2011 SCMAF – Orange County Track and Field Championships held at Laguna Hills High School.  Our 15 member team, comprised of boys and girls ranging in ages 5-14, will compete in numerous events including the Long Jump, the Softball Throw, as well as the 50m, 100m, 200m, 400m, 800m, & 1600m races.

Urban Water Diversions Keeping the Beaches Clean – Pollutants commonly found on street surfaces include brake dust, hydrocarbons from tires, fertilizers and pesticides.  The Water Quality Department operates and maintains 18 dry-season surface water diversion structures.  These devices collect and redirect water, draining from our streets, into the sewer system.  The eighteen structures are being placed back on-line until the next rains are expected.  Every year the diversion structures prevent over 5 tons of pollutant-laden debris from reaching our shoreline.

Heisler Park – The contractor is completing the retaining walls, curbs and picnic areas in the Monument Point area this week.  Landscaping in that area has already begun.  Work has begun in the old shuffleboard court area, which will be the last area to be completed. It is anticipated that this area will be open for public use in mid June.

Animal Shelter Renovation Progress – Framing of the roof is nearly completed and roofing will start next week.  Electrical, plumbing, and heating systems are being installed.  The renovation project is on schedule for completion in the first week in July.

Free Compost Giveaway – Each year, the City, Waste Management, and our green waste recycling contractor Tierra Verde Industries team up to give away free compost to residents as a “thank you” for participating in the City’s residential green waste recycling program.  Last year, residents diverted 4,500 tons from the landfill, which amounted to 24% of the entire residential waste stream. The annual compost giveaway event will be held on Saturday, May 14 from 8 a.m. to noon at the Act V Lot, 1900 Laguna Canyon Road.  This is a self-service event.  Empty sand bags will be provided, which residents can fill with compost.  There will be a limit of six bags (about 80 lbs.) per household.  Distributions are on a first come first serve basis for Laguna Beach residents only.


Applications accepted for Arts & Planning Commissions

The City Council is accepting applications to the Arts Commission (4 seats), and the Planning Commission (2 seats).

Arts Commission The Arts Commission is a seven-member commission appointed by the City Council. Four of the seven must be actively participating in the arts.

The Commissioners serve a two-year term and are compensated in the amount of $80.00 per month. Commission meetings are held on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 5:30 p.m. Meeting and preparation time may exceed several hours per week.

The Arts Commission has the power and duty to act in an advisory capacity to the City Council in all matters pertaining to the artistic aspects of the City. Additionally, Commissioners recommend to the City Council the adoption of such ordinances, rules and regulations as they may deem necessary for the administration and preservation of the fine/performing arts of the community.

One of the major projects of the Commission is the City’s Art in Public Places Program.

Planning Commission The Planning Commission is a five-member body appointed by the City Council for the purpose of reviewing and advising the Council on items related to the development and modification of land uses within the City limits.

As such, the Commission reviews and recommends action on the development and amendment of the General Plan, zoning ordinances, subdivision regulations and special projects related to land use planning. Planning Commissioners serve a two-year term and are compensated in the amount of $230.00 per month.

The regular meetings of the Commission are held on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month at 6:30 p.m. Study sessions may be held as part of the regular meeting or at other specified times.

A substantial time commitment averaging 4-6 hours a week is necessary to be a Planning Commissioner. Meetings may be four or more hours long and require a great deal of preparation time. In addition to these regular meetings, Commissioners are expected to visit sites and review project proposals prior to the meeting, as well as attend special project workshops.

It is desirable to have or be able to acquire certain skills or aptitudes, such as the ability to understand zoning regulations and their effect on allowed land uses. Experience in land use planning, architecture, engineering and/or real estate would be an asset.

Laguna Beach residents who are interested in making application, are required to submit an application which is available in the City Clerk’s office or on the City’s web site at www.lagunabeachcity.net.

Applications must be filed with the City Clerk by 5 p.m., Tuesday May 31, 2011.  All applicants will be interviewed by the City Council at their regular meeting of June 7, 2011, at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 505 Forest Avenue, Laguna Beach.

Martha Anderson, CMC, City Clerk

April 19, 2011

Updates from the Laguna Beach City Manager’s office

The City Manager’s office prepares a memo for Councilmembers weekly with notes covering many subjects.

Released: April 21, 2011

Drunk Driver Saturation Patrols – On Thursday May 5, Cinco de Mayo, the Police Department will be conducting Drunk Driver Saturation Patrols.  The California Office of Traffic Safety under the AVOID 26 grant is funding this effort.  Officers trained and experienced in DUI investigations will be patrolling the streets of Laguna Beach for impaired drivers.  Enjoy the festivities but act responsibly by planning in advance to have an alternate way to get home.

Community Development Department Retirement and Transition – After 15 years of employment with the City as the Administrative Assistant for the Director of the Community Development Department, Linda Kleppe retired on Friday, April 15.  One of her major duties was taking minutes of the Planning Commission meetings.  Both the Planning Commission and City staff will miss her very much.  Taking her place will be Ann Marie McKay who has worked for the City for 3.3 years in the Community Development Department, most recently as a Senior Office Specialist in the Planning Division.  Congratulations to both!

City Youth Track Meet – Under threatening skies, the City of Laguna Beach Youth Invitational Track Meet was held Friday, April 8. Approximately 50 local youth between the ages of 4 and 14 competed in track and field events at Laguna Beach High School. The top three boys and girls in each age division and event will represent the City at the County of Orange track meet in May.

RSS Feeds for City Council Agendas – Want to receive an email notification when a new City Council, Planning Commission or Design Review Board agenda is posted on the City website?  Sign up for an RSS feed.  To subscribe visit the City of Laguna Beach website at www.lagunabeachcity.net and click the Council Agenda icon.  Next, on the Meeting, Agenda and Minutes page click, “Subscribe via RSS feeds,” and follow the instructions.  You will receive an email notification with links every time a new agenda is posted.

Art That’s Small at City Hall – On Thursday, April 7, 2011, Mayor Toni Iseman announced the winners of the 2011 competition. The competition drew 126 entries and was juried by Carla Tesak Arzente  (Salt Fine Art and member of First Thursday’s Art Walk); Brad Coleman (Laguna College of Art & Design); and Jeff Horn (Laguna Plein Air Painters Association). The winners were: 1st place Elizabeth McGhee; 2nd place John Cunningham; Third Place and City Hall Choice Yank Sefton; and Honorable Mentions Kacey Baker, Susan Linder, Kate Urshel and Annette Wimmer. The exhibit will be on display through April 28, 2011. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Council Chamber Banner Competition – The Arts Commission is currently accepting designs for interior banners displayed in the Council Chambers. The theme for the competition is the scenery of Laguna Beach and winning artists will be awarded $1,000. The banners measure 3’ by 10’ and the deadline to submit designs is by 5 p.m. Friday, May 20, 2011. Application information is available on the City’s web-site. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and the City of Laguna Beach.

Artist Designed Bench Competition – At its meeting on Monday, April 11, 2011, the Arts Commission considered a request to re-open the Artist Designed Bench Competition for an installation at Mountain and Coast Highway. The Commission voted unanimously to re-open the competition, and will publish revised guidelines by mid-May. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

World Trade Center Artifact – The New York and New Jersey Port Authority has made a donation of two metal beams salvaged from the structure of the World Trade Center to the City of Laguna Beach. The beams, both measuring 72” x 36” x 12”, will be created into a public art installation as a remembrance of events on September 11, 2001. Arrangements are being made to transport the beams from JFK Airport in New York. The costs of transportation and creating the public art piece have been made possible through a generous donation by Laguna Beach resident Mark Porterfield.

Laguna Canyon Frontage Road Street Light Relocation – Work began this Monday to remove three streetlights from the brick sidewalk near the Sawdust Festival entrance.  New nostalgic style streetlights will be installed on the opposite side of Laguna Canyon Frontage Road where pedestrian movement will not be obstructed.  Associated overhead electric and cable television wiring will be placed underground.  Construction is scheduled to be completed by the end of May.

Heisler Park Gazebo Refurbishment – City crews recently refurbished the Heisler Park Gazebo.  Graffiti that had been carved into the wood was removed, the structure was sanded and painted, and pilasters were added on each side to discourage people from walking around the structure through the landscaping to the top of the bluff.

Oro Canyon Fuel Modification – The mandatory appeal period for the Oro Canyon Fuel Modification project has passed without any appeals and a Coastal Development Permit was issued this week.  The Fire Department will proceed with coordinating the removal of invasive plants in the Oro Canyon drainage and the creation of a fuel modification zone in the project area.  Actual work is anticipated begin during the Fall of 2011.

Bank Robber Arrested – The Police Department was notified by the FBI that the “Ho Hum Bandit” was arrested in Denver on Monday evening.  He is suspected in two robberies of the US Bank on Glenneyre near Forest in June and July 2010.  Responsible for a string of robberies including 12 in Southern California as well as many in Colorado and other states, Adam Lynch, 34, of Corte Madera, California was at last apprehended.

Main Beach Boardwalk Repair Repairs to the Main Beach Boardwalk will begin next week.  The first week will involve dismantling the existing planking and timbers to allow for the replacement and straightening of several pilings.  The replacement pilings should arrive on site the second week in May and all work is to be completed by May 27 just in time for the Memorial Day weekend.

Nyes Place Collision with Lift Station – An unidentified vehicle ran over the Nyes Place Lift Station last weekend.  The driver somehow managed to keep the vehicle moving as the vehicle knocked down the control system panel to the lift station.  Fortunately, the station has an emergency overflow built into its wetwell and the system reverted to emergency overflow state until staff could identify the extent of the damages.  The lift station was repaired and made fully operational this week.


More goats are on the way for Laguna’s hillsides

Item 3 on Tuesday night’s City Council agenda is titled: Transfer budget savings to fuel modification program.

Now that’s what is known as “city talk”.

What it’s about is bring into town a second herd of goats and where to find the $55,000 needed to pay for them.

The heavy rainfalls over the winter have driven what the agenda bill describes as “extraordinary vegetation growth.”

The fire department sees the need for the extra herd and it appears to be very much correct in that assessment. Our lush green hills will turn into fuel that could create the most fearful of scenarios – an internal canyon fire.

;">The fire department will aggressively enforce weed abatement. Item 18 is a bill allowing property owners “whose weeds, rubbish or refuse have been identified as a public nuisance to present a protest to the City Council.”

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