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Historic Preservation Ordinance: Council clarifies City’s position on CEQA requirements


The City Council on Saturday took the legal position that the California Environmental Quality Act does not require the city to evaluate projects during a design review to determine if the structure is a local historic resource.

Requirements for the local historic resource designation on projects are up to the lead agency, in this case the City, according to the motion made by Councilman Steve Dicterow and approved by the Council. 

Dicterow’s motion frees up the Historic Preservation Task Force to proceed with its review of the proposed revisions to the Historic Preservation Ordinance and to make policy recommendations to the Council. Projects already designated as historical resources by the state or federal governments would have to be addressed as such. 

“The motion means the Task Force has the discretion to require or not require consideration of structures as historic resources,” said Dicterow on Sunday. 

Subject to consistency with other city ordinances, the Task Force may decide that property owners may opt out of the designation of their property as a historic resource during a discretionary review by the Design Review Board, Planning Commission or Ministerial [over the counter]. 

Should the Task Force favor voluntary inclusion on a list of historic resources, a system should be designed that creates as much incentive as possible to get people to want to be on the City’s Historic Register, Dicterow said. 

Inclusion on the Register has always been voluntary.

“Our decision Saturday was a matter of law,” said Dicterow. “The Task Force will address policy.” 

The goal of Saturday’s hearing was to clarify the City’s legal position on whether the local ordinance complies with the California Environmental Quality Act and federal law related to the determination of a property’s historicity and the property rights of its owners. 

“Property rights are one of the most important things we have,” said Mayor Kelly Boyd. “I don’t want somebody telling me what I can do with my house.” 

Councilman Bob Whalen supported the voluntary designation of a property as a historic resource by the owner, provided it complies with state and federal law.   

 “The bottom line is people sat up here [on the dais] 30 years ago and intended it to be voluntary and it should be voluntary,” said Whalen. “We need to get back to a clean slate.” 

His words resonated with the standing room only crowd that attended Saturday’s hearing.

“Holey Moley,” exclaimed Mayor Kelly Body, when he saw the number of people in the audience who wanted to testify.

A total of 41 members of the audience raised their hands to indicate they had something to say. 

Attorney Kathy Jenson laid out the City Attorney’s position, opining that if there is the potential for a structure to be historic, that even in the absence of local preservation requirements, the city must follow CEQA guidelines, using the criteria for the state’s historic register. 

Jenson was followed by Deborah Rosenthal, representing Laguna Beach Preservation Coalition.

“We wholeheartedly support the staff report,” said Rosenthal. “Staff recognizes the significance of historic resources.” 

Resident Barbara Metzger said she hoped the Council would agree with the City Attorney and clear the way for the Task Force to make necessary revisions to the ordinance. 

However, a majority of speakers from the audience supported the position taken by Laguna Beach attorney Larry Nokes.

Nokes opined that the City has no duty to consider the historic status of structures being reviewed for remodeling and has the discretion to not consider such status. 

“Just old doesn’t mean historic,” said architect Donna Ballard. 

Roy Gallagher said he had been through the process, and it should be incentive-based and voluntary.

“I don’t believe anyone should be held hostage because they were arbitrarily put on a historical preservation list without knowing it and without their permission,” said Patricia Tartaglia. “The red tape that these homeowners and voters go through when they find their homes on the historical preservation list is appalling. You are making these people victims of an unjust system.”

Twenty-nine speakers favored the property owner’s right to decide whether or not to seek the local historic resource designation. Eleven opposed voluntary inclusion as a historic resource. Council candidate Ann Christoph declined to sign either list. 

Here is actual motion made by Dicterow, as recorded by the City Clerk. It could get changed for clarification, she said:

Subject to a structure being on the National or State register, the City of Laguna Beach is not obligated and may choose not to consider a structure as a historic status during review of a discretionary action, subject to the Historic Preservation Task Force also reviewing consistency with other current city ordinances; direct the Task Force to consider refining or drafting criteria for a local historic resource (or not), either narrowly or broadly, voluntarily or involuntarily; and if voluntarily, to design a system that creates as much incentive as possible to encourage people to want their structure to be on the Historic Register. In the transition period, under the current ordinance direct staff to process what is needed related to the CEQA standpoint paid by the City; and the subcommittee will remain the same subject to the November 6, 2018 election results.

Laguna Beach PTA Coffee Talk presents New Families Welcome Tea tomorrow

Tomorrow, Wednesday, Oct 3, families that are new to LBUSD are invited to attend PTA Coffee Talk’s “New Families Welcome Tea” at The Old House Garden Cafe from 8:30 -10:15 a.m. Longtime residents are welcome to join in to help welcome the new families into the community. 

Laguna Beach PTA Playground

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Longtime residents are invited to welcome new families into the district and our wonderful community

This is a chance for new parents to meet other families that are also new to the district. Parents will get to know more about the schools are our charming town. Light refreshments will be served.

To reserve a free seat to the Coffee Talk, visit

Old House Garden Cafe is located at 320 North Coast Hwy.

Locals and luminaries light up the Festival grounds at the Centennial Anniversary Laguna Art Museum Gala

Story and photos by DIANNE RUSSELL

The Festival of Arts grounds were ‘dressed to the nines’ for Laguna Art Museum’s 100th Anniversary Gala, and not to be outdone, the crowd sported spectacular outfits as well. Not many male attendees took the “black tie optional” suggestion to heart. There were so many tuxedos and bowties, you’d have thought it was a scene from James Bond’s Casino Royale. 

locals and dresses

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Bevy of beautiful dresses, Jane Hanauer, owner of LB Books, and Laguna Canyon Foundation Executive Director Hallie Jones were spotted

And when does one see a tuxedo with shorts pants? Only at this event. And the array of beautiful dresses was blinding – gold, sequined, draped – and in every stunning hue on the color palette.

Guests enjoyed tasty appetizers and sipped champagne as they mingled in the pleasant fall air. 

Diners were treated to a voyage through major milestones in California art, courtesy of Chef Ben Martinek of Studio, Chef Amar Santana, and Chef Craig Strong.

locals and dining area

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Festival grounds were transformed into a sophisticated dining area

Dinner was infused with the aesthetics of modernist works by artists such as Helen Lundeberg and John McLaughlin. Finally, guests danced the night away under the influence of the light and space movement, exemplified by artists such as Peter Alexander, Lita Albuquerque and James Turrell.

locals and Fritz

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Fritz Coleman, weatherman for KNBC-TV, on right, chats with Chuck Henry, KNBC-TV news anchor

The evening’s entertainment included celebrity MCs Chuck Henry and Fritz Coleman; music by The Gatsbys, The Tony Guerrero Quintet and special guests, and Soulcirque; and a performance by the anonymous artists The Bumbys.

There was also a raffle to win the Art Cart, custom-painted by renowned LA artist Kenny Scharf.

All in all, a celebration worthy of the Centennial Anniversary of LAM.

Paradise on the beach

Paradise on a stretch of beach

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Photo by Dan Baker

A stretch of beach between the State Beach and the Montage, otherwise known as Paradise to those who live perched above it

The Pet Rescue Center closes after 11 years

After 11 years of tremendous effort to create a nonprofit that will save the lives of dogs and cats at risk of euthanasia, The Pet Rescue Center has decided to close their programs indefinitely and point our efforts in another direction. 

“We have dedicated ourselves to make The Pet Rescue Center’s mission a success over an entire decade plus,” Co-founder and executive director Blythe Wheaton said. “We are proud of what we have accomplished. We succeeded in doing great things. Such as saving 1,500 dogs and cats from euthanasia and creating new families, distributing 300,000 plus pounds of pet food to pet owners in times of critical need, and educated thousands of individuals over our 11-year lifespan.”

Running a nonprofit is not something they had specialized in prior to founding the rescue center in 2007, but their passion for the cause propelled their successes. 

“We made personal sacrifices and drained our personal financial resources at times, but it has all been a wonderful success in our hearts and minds because of the lives we have impacted,” Wheaton said.

In order to serve the community best they felt the time was right to take a step back and re-evaluate what kind of needs the world has, match them with their current circumstances and how they can best help.

“We are grateful for the opportunity to serve the community for 11 years. We have put forth a great effort to make a difference and will forever take with us the faces of those we have saved,” Wheaton said. “We hope that the mission we created will live on in the spirit of other rescuers and groups fighting the good fight to save lives.

 “Our remaining scheduled education groups will complete by the end of October. We will officially close our doors on Oct 31,” Wheaton said. “Thank you for being a part of our team and efforts to save lives over the past 11 years.”

Blythe Wheaton and co-founder and medical director Dr. Matthew Wheaton of The Pet Rescue Center both extend their gratitude to the community. For more information, visit

The Laguna Beach Beautification Council is acknowledging homes with great improvements 

The LBBC is giving Appreciation Notices throughout the city for great home improvements. The once rundown Arch Beach Veterinary Clinic was recently acknowledged for their renovation. They painted the building a delightful shade of blue with white trim displaying playful figures of pets on mosaic platforms and potted plants.

The Laguna Beach vet

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Submitted photo

David Gordon, DVM gives thumbs up receiving the Laguna Beach Beautification Council’s Appreciation Notice

The clinic’s nextdoor neighbor also received a notice for their charming cottage with white roses and blue shutters bringing the two separate building together. These are both examples of how thoughtful renovations and gardens beautify a block and ad to the experience of our village.

The LBBC wants the communities help in finding other great restorations that should be noticed. Residents can submit an entry by taking a photo of a project in their neighborhood, downtown, of a well-tended corner or public area and letting the LBBC know.

For more information, visit

Experience yourself anew with rebirth activation led by Alli Hutchins

Using Ancient Yogic Technologies, Somatic Movement, and Breathwork to shape each session with care and consideration, Allison Hutchins motivates the practitioner to experience the depths of their intended journey toward personal center. 

A master facilitator with over a decade of teaching Kundalini Yoga, Hatha Yoga, mindful movement, Hutchins’ unique teachings weave sacred geometry, energetic awareness and healing abilities to help access and connect the individual and group to experience the expanded self. 

It is Hutchins’ intention to bring classes and teachings that serve to purify as participants allow and access the opportunity to tune into creative wisdom and divine love. 

Alli Hutchins Experience Yourself anew

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Photo by Inna Shnayder

Experience rebirth activation with Allison Hutchins this Saturday at Moss Point

“I believe that innate nourishment is our greatest desire and that the ability to take care of ourselves – and be supported in doing so – is liberating,” Hutchins said. 

Her journey has brought lessons and teachings of beauty and harmony as well as growing pains and challenges. Hutchins offers the many modalities she brings together as expressions of the wisdom and expertise gained through many years of experience and gratitude. They are offered with the highest intentions of well being and happiness.

Allison’s next session is this Saturday, Oct 6 at 4:30 p.m. at Moss Point Estate at 161 Moss St. Suggested donation is $25. For more information, email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Glennwood House and the community celebrated 5 amazing years Saturday at Seven 7 Seven

Photos by Scott Brashier

Glennwood House and event

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Glennwood residents were excited to celebrate 5 years as part of the Laguna Beach community

Glennwood House in Laguna Beach celebrated its 5-year anniversary on Saturday, Sept 29. The community joined for an outdoor festival of fun at Seven 7 Seven and all ages enjoyed the wonderful event. 

Glennwood House and booth

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Friends and families enjoyed the 1970’s VW photo booth at the event

Two local bands performed at the event, The Stick Shifts and Elu The Dust. There was also be face painting, a photo booth hosted by Desi DJ Productions, which was set up in a 1970s VW van, a silent auction, food and beverage and local vendors. 

Glennwood house and auction

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Items were auctioned as part of the fundraiser for Glennwood House

Fundraising events at Glennwood support their program services and recreation programs and ensure that independent living is a fulfilling and life giving experience for all who live at there. 

Glennwood House and friends

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Family and friends in the community showed their support at the fun-filled event Saturday

Local baby purée company Stork Bites launched at the farmer’s market Saturday

Stork Bites, a local baby purée company with home delivery, is pleased to announce their launch at the Laguna Beach Farmer’s Market on Saturday, Sept 29. Founded by local “Mompreneurs” Allyson Liu and Maria Del Toro, Stork Bites has made mealtime for babies healthy and easier than ever.

Local baby moms

Submitted photo

Founders of Stork Bites are honored to be part of the Laguna Beach Farmer’s Market on Saturdays

“I know first-hand the challenges of preparing healthy baby food from scratch, while juggling all the responsibilities of being a new parent. Our purpose is to provide busy parents with a variety of organic purées they can trust, and make it just the way they would have, if they had the time. We also provide home delivery for added convenience,” said Allyson Liu, Co-Founder.

Deemed “Home-style Purées”, Stork Bites have no added water, so the consistency is as if it was homemade. Using only seasonal organic ingredients, these purées are steamed or roasted in small batches, and frozen in convenient, individual 3 oz. servings.

Stork Bites is committed to giving back to the community. In an effort to support other mothers and children in their time of need, they have pledged to donate unused, perishable baby purées to Casa Teresa, an Orange County Women’s Shelter. Casa Teresa’s mission is to empower mothers by teaching lifelong skills to end cycles of homelessness, abuse and addiction.

Stork Bites frozen baby food is available for home delivery direct from the website Current delivery area is within California only. Future expansion of delivery area is planned for 2019.

Ohana Fest at Doheny Beach was a musical delight last weekend

Photos by Scott Brashier

Ohana Fest at yeah

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The Yeah Yeah Yeahs captured the audience in an outstanding performance

Ohana Fest at delighted

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Many delighted in the great tunes from popular musicians at the festival

Ohana Fest at Beck

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Beck was among the artists who rocked the stage last weekend

Ohana Fest at Norah

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Norah Jones seranated the audience at Ohana Fest

Ohana Fest at Mumford

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Mumford & Sons performed new songs along with their fan-favorite classics

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