Council to review proposed Landscaping Element

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council on Tuesday will be presented with three options to consider for the new Landscape and Scenic Highways element and the Landscape and Scenic Highways Resource Document. 

One option is the overhaul of the element as recommended by a Planning Commission sub-committee and approved by commission. However, it would require a substantial amount of work to incorporate all the changes into the element and the resource document, as well as cost $100,000, according to the staff report.

The second option is to approve the element and the resource document with the Planning Commission and Design Review Board edits that can easily be incorporated without significant time and cost. 

Thirdly, the Council could choose to approve recommended changes from the board and the Commission, excluding the Commission recommendation to reorganize the element and convert some of the larger tasks into action items. This option would cost $35,000.

Keep the documents separate, urge McErlane and Whitin

Planning Commissioner Roger McErlane and commission Chair Susan Whitin were appointed to review both the element and resource document.

McErlane and Whitin advised the Commission to keep the element and the resource document separate.

“The Commission wants to re-organize the element to make it shorter and more reader-friendly,” said former Planning Commissioner Barbara Metzger at the hearing. “It’s already acceptable for the general plan and staff has said it would take 100 hours to do the reorganizing.” 

McErlane is a master planner and urban designer who served as vice president of the Irvine Co from 1996 to 2009. Whitin prepared the landscape plan for the bluff-top park and hotel grounds at Montage Laguna Beach.

“All we wanted to do was some re-editing and re-organIzation of the element, which is a tool for the city,” said McErlane in a report to the commission. “We also wanted to define the action items in the element to begin a downtown streetscape evaluation and study.”

The resource document, also under consideration by the Council on Tuesday, was created by landscape architects Ann Christoph and Bob Borthwick. 

Christoph was a member of Selva Partners, hired by the city in 2013 to convert the resource document into an element, she said. As mayor in 1995, Christoph was liaison to the committee that created the document.


Council greenlights four art projects

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council recently approved two temporary art projects and two permanent ones, one of which will be principally funded by a private donation.

“Word on the Street” a five-part sculpture to be installed in Heisler Park, fulfills the goal of the city’s Cultural Arts Plan to expand the focus on temporary art projects.

Los Angeles sculptor Scott Frobisher’s messaging installations will be composed of similar materials to street signs, the largest one 48 inches wide, 12 feet tall and four inches deep. The project must be approved for a temporary use permit by the Planning Commission prior to installation. It will be exhibited for 12 months from the final approval date.

“This is the kind of public art we need,” said Hillary Cole at the council hearing on the project.

The installation was unanimously recommended by the Arts Commission, which will fund the $10,000 cost from Special Programs Budget of the Business Improvement District, which is financially supported by the hostelries in Laguna Beach.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo courtesy Elizabeth Turk Studios

Umbrellas equipped with LED lights will form part of the Shoreline Project

A performance art piece on Main Beach by artist Elizabeth Turk was approved by the council at the request of Laguna Art Museum Executive Director Malcolm Warner. 

The “Shoreline Project,” will be presented between 6 and 10 p.m. on November 3 as part of the LAM’s fifth “Art & Nature event.” This project also requires a Temporary Use Permit.

Somewhere between 500 and 1,000 volunteers reportedly will participate. Each will carry a custom-made umbrella equipped with LED lights and walk along a choreographed path created by Turk. 

Six signs describing the performance will be located along the pathway from the museum to Main Beach.

Adverse weather or tidal conditions could cause the cancellation of the project. 

All funding, including the costs of additional Marine Safety Department staff, will be paid by the museum. 

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Tom Berndt

Part of Scott and Naomi Schoenherr’s existing art in Heisler Park: The Divers

A $25,000 donation by Laguna Beach resident John Wolf will be used to expand Scott and Naomi Schoenherr’s Art in Public Places installation in Heisler Park. 

The existing installation includes seating, sculpture and inlaid sidewalk medallions inspired by “Giggle Crack,” commissioned by the city.   

Similar installations at the amphitheater stage and seating were unanimously recommended by the Arts Commission, which also recommended an additional $15,000 be allocated from the Art-In-Lieu Fund. 

The fund consists of required fees paid by developers of commercial projects if they do not commission art on the premises. 

Michael Gagnet, who represents the owner of the re-named Hotel Joaquin (formerly called the Motor Inn), said the developer preferred to install art rather than pay the fee. The $30,000 cost exceeds the fee that would have been levied.

Sage Vaughn’s sculpture, called “Cove Wildflower,” will be located on the exterior of the hotel near the lobby entrance.

The 25-foot tall, 8-foot wide, 3-inch deep, powder-coated aluminum sculpture will fade from yellow to orange inspired by the torch lily, commonly called the red hot poker plant.


City holds Council Chamber Banner Competition

The City of Laguna Beach Banner Competition is a project of the Arts Commission. Artists are provided with banner material on which to paint original artwork. The completed banners are displayed in the City of Laguna Beach Council Chambers. The competition is open to residents of Laguna Beach ages 18 and older. Proof of residency is required. 

Contestants are asked to submit a color design that must be drawn to scale (4 1/2 in. x 15 in.) of their banners. Bright colors are suggested, and a community celebration theme encouraged. Religious symbols are discouraged. The design will be painted on one side of the banner. Banners are not always the exact size. Allow in your design a variance of 10 percent. If you wish to have your design returned, please enclose a self-addressed stamped envelope. 

Click on photo for a larger image

2017 Banner competition winners

For judging purposes please do not sign the front of your submitted design. You may submit a maximum of two designs. 

If your design is selected you be provided with a vertical 3 ft. x 10 ft. banner. The banner must be painted with acrylics. One side must be painted. The artist’s signature and date should be placed on the lower right corner. 

Prospective designs must be delivered to: Susi Q Community Center, 380 Third Street before 5 p.m. on May 14.

The Arts Commission will review and select the designs. Selected Artists will be notified to pick up blank banners. Completed banners are to be delivered to City Hall. Winners will be recognized at the City Council meeting. 

The seven members of the City of Laguna Beach, Arts Commission (and on various occasions invited guests) judge designs anonymously for creativity and visual impact. 

Completed banners will be awarded a $900 honorarium. The completed banner and design becomes the property of the City of Laguna Beach and will be displayed when and where the City desires. 

This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. For full guidelines and entry form visit http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art.


Beautification Council holds Annual Membership meeting at Montage

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Allan Schoenherr was the guest speaker at the 2018 annual Beautification Council Membership Meeting, held at Montage Laguna Beach.

Schoenherr is a photographer and author of “A Natural History of California” and “Wild and Beautiful: A Natural History of Open Space in Orange County.”

“I spoke about places to go and hike and what you might see when you got there,” said Schoenherr. 

Submitted photo

Allan Schoenherr

His talk was accompanied by slides. 

Council President George Weiss presided over the meeting.

The council was started in 1952 by the late Harry Lawrence. The group’s first project was a cleanup of Coast Highway and Laguna Canyon Road, removing scrub and weeds with the assistance of the Rotary Club of Laguna Bach and the US Marines.

The most notable project was Main Beach that Lawrence liked to call the Window to the Sea.

Inspiring beauty is the goal of the council. Its mission is to maintain and enhance the natural beauty and cleanliness in Laguna Beach and to promote beautification projects on streets, residential and commercial properties, parks and the shoreline through education and community involvement.  

“New members are always welcome,” said Emeritus board member Eleanor Henry, who joined the group when she retired in 1995. “They can fill out an application form on our website or just show up at a meeting.”

Membership dues are $35, good for January through December. There is no reduction in fees for later memberships, Henry said.

For more information about the council or membership visit website www.lagunabeachbeautificationcouncil.com.


Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce Spring Mixer, April 26 at Ti Amo by il Barone

Mix it up with friends and colleagues. Get to know our small business owners. Maybe get a legal tip or two. That will all be happening on April 26 as the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce mixes it up at Ti Amo by il Barone.

That’s a two-fer!

Enjoy great company with a real local crowd while indulging in Ti Amo’s antipasti and small bites, along with wines and il Barone’s signature Facci Ri Veccia (Focaccia, crescenza, mozzarella, Parma prosciutto, truffle oil. As reviewed here in Stu News, “We are talking about an amazing dish here, folks…”).

Donatella and Chef Franco Barone, owners of Ti Amo by il Barone

Ti Amo by il Barone is headed by Chef Franco Barone, who is a pretty big deal in this town and beyond. His many honors include twice being recognized as Southern California’s Chef of the Year by the Southern California Restaurant Writers Association as well as the Orange County Business Journal. The award winning chef and his wife Donatella are excited to welcome their guests to their Italian bungalow, located at 31727 Coast Hwy in Laguna Beach. They are serving up savory authentic Italian cuisine, perfectly paired wines, and sweet treats.

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce delivers another classy and fun opportunity for attendees to mix and mingle with friends, and connect with new business colleagues and community leaders. 

The Chamber Mixer is from 6 – 8:30 p.m. on Thursday, April 26. Attendees will receive a complimentary welcome beverage and two drink tickets. Antipasti, small bites and the Facci Ri Veccia will be served. There will be opportunity drawings to win special prizes and surprises.

To register online, visit www.LagunaBeachChamberSpringMixer.


Council approves Park Plaza in theory

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council on Tuesday supported the concept of closing lower Park Avenue to create a pedestrian plaza – but not for a while, and in opposition to the negative opinions of many residents. 

City Manager John Pietig was directed to move ahead on the design of semi-permanent and/or permanent Park Plaza, incorporate a Park Plaza element in the Downtown Specific Plan currently being revised and move forward simultaneously with associated traffic improvements. 

The proposed improvements on highway intersections from Broadway to Legion Street were contained in an agenda item that preceded the “evaluation of the temporary plaza concept” and approved by council. 

“We need to look at the other improvements before we make this [plaza] permanent,” said Councilman Bob Whalen.

According to a report presented by Assistant City Manager Christa Johnson, a majority of residents surveyed about the plaza or who sent emails to the city opposed the closure of the block.

“A majority of emails – the vast majority – didn’t want the street closed down,” said Mayor Kelly Boyd. “That little street does get used as a shortcut off Coast Highway.”

Speakers at the meeting were split.

“I have been making that left-hand turn for 19 years,” said Craig Coffin. “It is a special corridor up to Mystic Hills. We have a beautiful park across the street and I am opposed [to the plaza] until we have a transportation study.”

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Park Plaza during the temporary trial

Loss of vehicular access is potentially significant, impactful and must be addressed by a traffic circulation study performed by a professional analyst, said Robin K. Hall.

“Traffic circulation will be altered significantly,” she said.

Councilman Steve Dicterow, who lives in North Laguna and has an office on the corner of Glenneyre and Forest Avenue, suggested folks in town should become more familiar with city streets.

He suggested getting off the highway and taking less traveled streets, starting with Aster, if they don’t want to cope with traffic on the highway from Cliff Drive to Forest Avenue.

From Aster, drivers could turn right on Rosa Bonheur, take a left onto Lower Cliff Drive, another left onto Beach and then take either a left turn on Broadway to Forest Avenue and up the Third Street hill or turn right on Broadway, left on Beach Street, right onto Forest and left onto Park.

Supporters of a permanent plaza waved a printed leaflet when a member of the audience or council spoke favorably of the plaza. 

“I went there every three or four days and I saw residents and visitors really enjoying it,” said George Weiss, whose comments caused a flutter of leaflets. ”I want to make it permanent.”

Speakers Billy Fried, Ruben Flores and Chris Prelitz were leaders in the coalition put together by Transition Laguna Beach, the Chamber of Commerce and the Laguna Beach Beautification Council, that came up last year with the idea of Park Plaza. 

The goal was to bring residents downtown in the non-summer months and entice visitors to stay longer, a benefit to local merchants, and to foster connectivity.

“The country is divided, the city is divided – the plaza helps build community,” said Prelitz on Tuesday.


City Manager’s Update

Third Street Closed on Tuesday, April 3 - From 8 a.m. until 2 p.m. on Tuesday, April 3, Third Street will be closed between Park Ave and Mermaid Street for tree trimming and asphalt repairs. Please use alternate routes. For more information, contact Deputy Director of Public Works, Dale Schuck at (949) 497-0735.

Park Avenue Striping Improvements - On Monday, April 2, minor traffic delays can be anticipated along Park Ave near Tahiti Ave between 9 a.m. and 6 p.m. due to roadway striping improvement work. The striping on Park Avenue is being modified in order to address speeding issues of downhill traffic by narrowing the lane width into and around the sharp curve. For questions, please contact Mark Trestik at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 497-0300.

Southern California Edison Pole Repairs - On Saturday, March 31, Southern California Edison will be working at the intersection of Acacia Drive and Cedar Way to repair overhead lines. Electricity to homes and businesses should not be interrupted but a portion of Cedar Way may be closed during the repairs. Notification signs and “No Parking” signs will be posted in the vicinity. 

Coast Highway Lane Closure - On April 9 and April 10, the Southern California Gas Company will be working at the intersection of Coast Highway and 5th Ave to repair a leaking valve. The left turn pocket, and southbound number 1 lane of Coast Highway between 4th Ave and 5th Ave, will be closed during the hours of 9 a.m. and 3 p.m. each day.

Arts Marketing Workshop - Artists are invited to a free workshop on Saturday, April 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Presenters Roseann Weiss and Con Christeson will explore entrepreneurial development, collaboration and opportunity. For more information please contact This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or register at https://clb_artsmarketingworkshop.eventbrite.com. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Art That’s Small at City Hall – Artist Award Reception - The public is invited to an artist award reception on Thursday, April 5 at 5:30 p.m. at Laguna Beach City Hall, 505 Forest Ave. The exhibition can be viewed through April 20. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Friday Flicks at the Forum - The concluding Friday Flick “Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang” will be screened on Friday, April 6 at 7 p.m. at the Forum Theatre on the Festival of Arts grounds, 650 Laguna Canyon Road. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. Run time: 76 min. Unrated. The series has been funded through the generosity of Laguna Beach residents Steve Chadima and Mark Porterfield.

Laguna Beach Literary Festival - The public is invited to a free day of readings panels, workshops and craft talks with some of California’s finest writers, hosted by Laguna Beach Poet Laureate Kate Buckley. This special event will be held on Saturday, April 14 from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Orange County Public Library, Laguna Beach Branch, 363 Glenneyre Street.  This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. For more information, visit http://LagunaBeachLitFest.com.

Call to Artists - Council Chambers Banners - The Arts Commission is holding a competition to replace the banners in the Council Chambers. The competition is open to Laguna Beach residents ages 18 and older. Entries must be submitted to the reception desk at Susi Q Community Center, 380 Third Street, by May 14 at 5 p.m. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. For full guidelines and entry form visit http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art.


City Manager’s Updates

Caltrans – Overhead Warning Sign Emergency Replacement - Beginning Monday, March 26, Caltrans will mobilize to remove and replace a failing overhead sign structure located on N Coast Highway, approximately 2000 feet south of the El Morro Elementary School entrance.  

Work will be conducted on weekdays between 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Intermittent closures of the shoulder and/or outside travel lane can be expected through May 31. One northbound lane will be maintained for travel and southbound lanes will not be affected during this period.  

For more detailed project information, contact Oussama Issa, Caltrans Assistant Resident Engineer, at (949) 279-8821.

Utility Undergrounding Information Web Page - Information regarding the City’s efforts to date and various funding options under consideration by the City Council for utility undergrounding along the City’s key evacuation routes is now available on the City’s website by selecting the arrow icon on the home page or at www.lagunabeachcity.net/utilityundergrounding.

Police Chief on KX 93.5 - The Police Chief will participate in, “The Importance of Being Show,” that broadcasts live from the KX 93.5 FM this Sunday morning from 9 a.m. to 10 a.m.

Junior Lifeguards - Registration for the 2018 Junior Lifeguard Program is now open to Laguna Beach residents. Participants must either pass the required swim test or have participated in the 2017 program successfully to be eligible to register. 

Swim tests will be held this Friday, March 23, from 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, March 24, from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m. All swim tests take place at the Laguna Beach High School and Community Pool, located at 670 Park Avenue. 

Not sure if your child is ready for the swim test? Drop-in at the Junior Guard Clinic on Saturday morning from 10 a.m. – 10:50 a.m. or 11 a.m. – 11:50 a.m. Additional information about the Junior Lifeguard Program, including a list of swim test dates, is available at: http://bit.ly/2BT1dE2.

Arts Marketing Workshop - Artists and arts organizations are invited a free workshop on Saturday, April 7, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Presenters Roseann Weiss and Con Christeson will explore entrepreneurial development, collaboration and opportunity. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or register at https://clb_artsmarketingworkshop.eventbrite.com. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Art That’s Small at City Hall – Artist Award Reception - The public is invited to an artist award reception on Thursday, April 5, at 5:30 p.m. at Laguna Beach City Hall, 505 Forest Ave. The exhibition can be viewed through April 20. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Friday Flicks at the Forum - The concluding Friday Flick “Sky Ladder: The Art of Cai Guo-Qiang” will be screened on Friday, April 6, at 7 p.m. at the Forum Theatre on the Festival of Arts grounds, 650 Laguna Canyon Road. Doors open at 6:45 p.m. Run time: 76 min. Unrated. Funded through the generosity of Laguna Beach residents Steve Chadima and Mark Porterfield.

Laguna Beach Literary Festival - The public is invited to a free day of readings panels, workshops and craft talks with some of California’s finest writers, hosted by Laguna Beach Poet Laureate Kate Buckley. This special event will be held on Saturday, April 14, from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Orange County Public Library, Laguna Beach Branch, 363 Glenneyre Street. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. For more information, visit http://LagunaBeachLitFest.com.


City Manager’s Updates

Utility Undergrounding Information Web Page - Information regarding the City’s efforts to date and various funding options under consideration by the City Council for utility undergrounding along the City’s key evacuation routes is now available on the City’s web site at www.lagunabeachcity.net/utilityundergrounding.

Annual Composting Classes - The City’s solid waste hauler, Waste Management, will offer the first of four free composting classes planned for 2018 on Sat, March 17, from 10 a.m. 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.

Laguna Beach Police Department Welcomes New Officers - On Friday, March 16, two new officers graduate from the Golden West Criminal Justice Training Center Academy. Please join us in welcoming Officer Ryan Radel and Officer Wade Kraus to the Laguna Beach Police Department!

Art That’s Small at City Hall – Artist Reception and Award Ceremony - The public is invited to a reception on Thurs, April 5, at 5:30 p.m. at City Hall, 505 Forest Ave. Winners of the 2018 Art That’s Small at City Hall competition will be announced. The exhibition can be viewed through April 20. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

2018 Banner Competition Winners - On March 12, Arts Commission reviewed 21 submissions and selected designs by Bill Atkins, Al Esquerra, Kelly Hartigan Goldstein and Cydette Vikander for the 2018 Banner Competition. The completed banners will be displayed at Main Beach starting in May. 

To see the winning designs visit: http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art/default. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Arts Marketing Workshop - Artists and arts organizations are invited to this free workshop to be held on Saturday, April 7 from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Presenters Roseann Weiss and Con Christeson will explore entrepreneurial development, collaboration and opportunity. Information: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or register at https://clb_artsmarketingworkshop.eventbrite.com. This program is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

Poet Laureate Webpage - Keep up-to-date on the writing of Laguna Beach’s first Poet Laureate, Kate Buckley. You may follow Kate’s monthly posts on the City’s website at: http://lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/art/poet_laureate/poems.htm. This project is funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach.

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.

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