C-Rated and CEQA

The proposed amendment regarding historical properties (Zoning Ordinance Amendment 17-0388 and Local Coastal Program Amendment 17-0389) presented at the April 19 Planning Commission meeting is an improvement over the ordinance we have:  for example, it calls for drafting special guidelines for evaluating alterations to “C”-rated properties, and it’s important that these guidelines be in place before any change to the ordinance goes into effect.

CEQA allows the City to adopt its own “performance standards” to mitigate changes in “C”-rated structures without the need for individual EIRs. As the PC staff report explained, these standards can be as strict or flexible as is necessary to avoid the loss of historic character of neighborhoods or streetscapes. If the City decides that houses don’t need to meet the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards if they simply make a significant contribution to the look of the neighborhood, it can make its own rules for alterations to those structures.

This is one of the ways that the proposed amendments are an improvement over the ordinance we have, and I hope the City will make sure these special guidelines relating to C-rated properties are included when changes to the ordinance are made.

Rosemary Boyd

Laguna Beach