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Laguna Beach

Council eases deadlines complicated by COVID-19


The City Council at its April 7 meeting extended the committee and commission members’ terms that were due to expire on June 30. 

Interviews and appointments of members were scheduled to be held on May 12. However, due to COVID-19, the terms have been extended through the end of January 2021.

Affected by the extension: 

--Planning Commissioners Anne Johnson, Jorg Dubin, and sitting Chair Ken Sadler

--Arts Commissioners Suzi Chauvel, Donna Olsen Ballard, Karen Wood, and alternate Mike Stice

--Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Committee members Robert Elster, Matt Lawson, and Tim Templeton

--Housing and Human Services Committee members Marisa Peasley and sitting Chair Gail Duncan

--South Laguna Water and Sewer Advisory Committee members Calvin Nelson, John Thomas, alternate Mel Harwell, and sitting Chair Eric Jessen 

The date of the interviews for reappointment or new applicants will be determined after the council’s 2021 calendar is established. 

“My guess is the first week in January,” said City Clerk Lisette Chel-Walker.       

The council also approved an uncodified urgency ordinance extending deadlines in the municipal code for zoning entitlements and permits.

Time limits in the code include design review, variances, and conditional use and coastal development permits and set expiration dates if permits are not implemented or used in a timely fashion. 

The council determined that due to the personal financial challenges and economic uncertainties related to COVID-19, the time limits of such permits were not feasible.

Staff opined that the expiration of the permits and entailments would create severe burdens and hardships for the permit holder and as such, recommended the adoption of the urgency ordinance. The ordinance allows zoning permits that have already been approved and are still valid to be extended for the duration of the Proclamation of the Existence of a Local Emergency and for 60 days after the termination of the proclamation, unless the council takes further action.

Urgency ordinances do not require a second reading to take effect, according to Chel-Walker.


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