Council agenda covers: Facilities Master Plan, committee appointments, tattoo service appeal, tree risk assessment

By SARA HALL

Laguna Beach City Council’s agenda for next week’s meeting covers a lot of notable items.

At the Tuesday (Feb. 13) meeting, council will consider and/or hear: Consultant services agreement for the development of a facilities master plan; a variety of appointments for six city committees; an appeal of the approval of a tattoo body art service component at an existing art gallery and a level three risk assessment of a public tree recommended for removal.

During regular business, council will consider a consultant services agreement for the development of a facilities master plan.

If approved, the action will authorize the city manager to execute a consultant services agreement with Griffin Structures, Inc., for $760,000, to develop the comprehensive plan, along with future project related expenses and change orders not-to-exceed $40,000.

Each councilmember is also being asked to provide up to two names to participate in the Facility Master Plan Community Working Group to the city clerk by March 12.

Council will also consider the Facility Master Plan Ad Hoc Committee additional recommendations to:

–Direct staff to take an aggressive approach to maximize utilization at the Laguna Beach Community and Recreation Center.

–Direct staff to present to the council in spring a plan to incorporate a new fire station #1 at the village entrance and how this change aligns with the fire department standard of cover and the proposed parking structure.

–Direct staff to work with Griffin Structures Inc. to develop a scope of work to evaluate the viability of public-private partnerships at the village entrance that includes a program to solicit such partnerships and next steps and present the scope of work and at a future council meeting for approval.

At their Feb. 21, 2023, meeting, councilmembers approved the priorities they set at their annual planning workshop and directed staff to work with a council subcommittee on the development of the scope of work and the procurement process for the facilities master plan effort.

The facilities master plan aims to provide the city with information regarding current and future facility needs and establishes a framework for the orderly growth of city services, administration and community programs, according to the staff report for next week’s agenda item. The goal of a FMP is to evaluate the condition of city facilities, assess their ability to meet the needs of current services, anticipate growth and future service delivery requirements, analyze gaps in providing services and create an action plan to address these issues. When the plan is finalized, it will provide recommendations with cost estimates to guide future decisions, timelines and steps forward in delivering city services.

Council approved the scope of services on May 16 and city staff began the RFP procurement process. The city received three bids and after the evaluation process concluded, the panel unanimously selected Griffin Structures, Inc., as the highest qualified consultant.

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

City Council will consider a number of appointments to various committees next week

Also on Tuesday, most of the items during regular business will be the interviews and appointments to city committees.

The council will make 12 appointments for six committees. All of the new members will serve a two-year term beginning April 1 and running through March 31, 2026.

The Parking, Traffic, & Circulation Committee was the most popular with 10 people applying for four open seats.

The seven-member group advises council on matters pertaining to parking, traffic, circulation and traffic complaints.

The terms for four current PTC members will expire on March 31. Only two are re-applying for another term: Lauriann Meyer and Brandon Rippeon. Another eight locals applied for the committee: Lawrence Esten, Matt Hendrick, India Hynes (also applied to the Recreation Committee), Marian Keegan (also applied to the Rec Committee), Michael Rosenberg, Stewart “Andre” Shields, Mike Simmons and Simon Sproule.

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The Recreation Committee also received a lot of interest from local residents, with seven people applying.

At the council’s January 19 planning workshop, there was a majority of support for a suggestion of reducing the size of the larger committees to no more than seven people. The Rec Committee is currently a nine-person group with two alternates. The terms of five members are expiring on March 31, so staff is recommending filling two of the seats with the current alternates, eliminating two positions and appointing one of the applicants to the single remaining seat. This would reduce the total number of members on the committee to seven.

The applicants are: Andrew Binkley (incumbent), James Foley, India Hynes (also applied to PTC), Marian Keegan (also applied to PTC), Ryan Marx, Claudia Redfern (incumbent) and Jennifer Zeiter.

The Environmental Sustainability Committee is also recommended to be reduced from nine members and one alternate to seven members.

There are four terms that will soon expire, so staff is suggesting one position be filled by the current alternate, two seats be eliminated and council appoint one applicant to the last spot.

ESC received seven applications from residents: Steve Chadima (incumbent), Deborah Perlman Deem, Alexander Graebe, Paul Manina, Ramin Pejan, Ted Reckas and David Womack.

Council will also interview four applicants and appoint two residents to the Board of Adjustment/Design Review Board.

The applicants are: Imer Bauta, Mary Jo “MJ” Coveny, Jessica Gannon (incumbent) and Robb Mitchell.

The Heritage Committee also received four applicants for two open seats.

The terms of two current members are expiring and both are re-applying, Linda Morgenlander and Scott Summer. Along with two new applicants, Liz Jurkowski and Jon Stordahl.

Council will also interview the two applicants and appoint two residents to the View Restoration Committee. Incumbent Kelly Brochu and Walter Stender applied for the group.

Last up on Tuesday’s agenda is an appeal of tattoo body art service component at an existing art gallery located at 618 South Coast Highway (between Legion and Cleo streets). City staff is recommending council deny the appeal and sustain the Planning Commission’s decision to approve the project.

The Planning Commission approved the additional tattoo service for Vatican Gallery on November 1, with the condition that both uses are concurrently maintained and the tattoo stations are limited to two. There was also a lot of public concern for a neighboring longtime local tattoo shop.

Most of the public speakers and letters on the item, as well as some comments from commissioners, raised concern that the business is just a few hundred feet from Laguna Tattoo, which has been operating at their shop within that same city block (at 656 South Coast Highway) for more than four decades. Ultimately, a majority of commissioners agreed they couldn’t manage any potential competition.

The commission’s decision was appealed by David Tran and Brian Griffith (current owner of Laguna Tattoo).

They offered 10 claims as reasons for the appeal: Subject property is less than 300 feet, under half a block, from their 41-year-old established business of same services; facility violations with current California health and safety codes; extreme financial hardship probable for an existing historic establishment, due to nature of the business; disagreement with findings made in planning staff report regarding compatibility and harmony with adjacent business; proposed facility does not offer customer privacy; creation of close competition without sufficient supply of customers to support both businesses; creation of closest grouping of two tattoo shops in Laguna Beach, or any surrounding city; proposed facility may not meet ADA handicap accessibility standards currently; significant documented public objection to the proposal, landowner under 300 feet and resident under 100 feet and an imbalance of land use.

Last up during regular business, council will consider a level three risk assessment of a public tree at 387 El Camino Del Mar and a proposed update of the tree removal and planting policy for public trees.

Staff is recommending removal of the lemon-scented gum tree. A number of public comments were received after the public works department issued a notice of removal of the tree last July. The issue was raised to council, who initially voted 3-2 to remove the tree and then later agreed to reconsider the decision pending a level three risk assessment by a third-party certified arborist. According to the staff report for next week’s item, this assessment includes a ground penetrating radar evaluation of the trees underlying root structure and the performance of a static pool test, the purpose of which is to provide both the City Council and the community with a more comprehensive understanding of the tree’s health and viability.

Staff notes that the assessment report indicates that the likelihood of a failure is “possible,” the likelihood of impact is “high” and the consequence of failure is “severe.” This results in an overall risk rating of moderate leading to a staff recommendation of removing the tree.

Staff is also recommending changes to the policy related to when safety hazards are not visually apparent. Based on community feedback, the revision proposes adding a level three risk assessment to determine the need for removal of apparently healthy trees.

The council agenda is available online here. The closed session will begin at 4 p.m., followed by the regular meeting at 5 p.m.

Members of the public may speak in person in council chambers.

To participate via Zoom, you may click here from your computer or smart phone. You may also call 669.900.9128 and wait for instructions. The Webinar ID is 91641723096#. If you have issues getting into the Zoom meeting or raising your virtual hand to comment, you may text the city clerk at 310.722.5051.

The meeting can be watched live on Cox channel 852 or on the city’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net/agendas.

Comments may be submitted on any agenda item or on any item not on the agenda in writing via mail to the City Clerk at: 505 Forest Ave., Laguna Beach, Calif. 92651, by email to amckay@lagunabeachcity.net, or by using this interactive form. Email your comments to the City Clerk no later than 3 p.m. on February 12 (the day before the City Council meeting) in order for your comments to be submitted to the members of the City Council the day prior the meeting, which provides them sufficient time to review the comments.

You may continue to provide written comments up to 12 p.m. on February 13 (the day of the meeting). While these comments will be provided to the City Council at 2 p.m. on February 13, councilmembers may not have sufficient time to review them prior to the meeting.

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Sara Hall covers City Hall and is a regular contributor to Stu News Laguna.


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