City Council highlights from Aug 7

In addition to a 4-1 approval by City Council on a construction contract for the Village Entrance project (see Barbara Diamond’s story on Front Page II), the following events highlighted Tuesday’s Council meeting:

City awarded $4.2 million Fire Prevention Grant

The City has been awarded a $4.2 million fire prevention grant from the California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection (Cal Fire) California Climate Investments Program. The grant provides funding to help reduce greenhouse gas emissions from wildfires and sequester carbon. The grant is funded by the State Greenhouse Gas Reduction Fund. 

School Resource Officer is part of Joint Use Agreement between City and LBUSD

The City and the Laguna Beach Unified School District (LBUSD) renewed their Joint Use Agreement for use of shared sites and also entered into an agreement to establish a School Resource Officer (SRO) program in the District.

The program will assign one LBPD law enforcement officer to the District facilities during the 9-month academic school year. The mission of the SRO program is to reduce school-related violence and crime committed by juveniles and young adults, and foster a program that will build a positive relationship between law enforcement, youth, parents, and school administrators. 

The District has expressed support for the program and will make a formal decision on the program at its upcoming August 21 meeting. 

City Council approves first reading of Accessory Dwelling Unit Ordinance

On Tuesday, City Council made amendments to and adopted a first reading of its ordinance regarding Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) or second residential units on a property. The ordinance has been expanded, rewritten, and reorganized.

State regulations regarding ADUs took effect on January 1, 2017, and aim to address the California housing shortage by encouraging the development of affordable housing options for seniors, students, the disabled, relatives, and in-home health care providers.

Ordinance as it pertains to existing ADU structures

ADUs are permitted within an existing structure on any lot where a single-family dwelling currently exists but requires owner-occupancy of either the primary or accessory unit. Proposed ADUs located entirely within a single-family residence, or permitted accessory structure, do not need to meet additional parking requirements or other development standards shown below for new ADU structures.

Ordinance as it pertains to new ADU structures

The City’s Municipal Code will only regulate new construction of an ADU, whether it is attached or detached. For new attached or detached ADUs, the following standards apply: 

Minimum lot size for an ADU is 6,000 square feet. The maximum ADU size depends on lot size, is not to exceed 750 square feet, and is determined by 7 percent of the lot size (e.g. 6,000 sq. ft. lot x 7 percent = 420 sq. ft. ADU). The unit size may be increased to 10 percent of the lot size if dedicated as low-to-moderate-income, or as a senior unit. Maximum ADU building height is 12 feet; anything higher is subject to Design Review approval.

Parking exemptions for new ADUs

There is an exemption from State parking requirements for new attached or detached ADUs, if the ADU is located within one-half mile of public transit, as defined by the City as OCTA Bus Routes and the City’s Mainline Transit System, consisting of regular non-seasonal route public transit.

However, the State parking exemption for new attached and detached ADUs will not apply if there is less than a 28-foot paved right-of-way width, including 8-foot wide on-street parking lane, or 36-foot paved right-of-way width, including two 8-foot wide on-street parking lanes for the front of a property to ensure emergency vehicle accessibility. 

Additionally, that width clearance must be maintained in either direction to the intersections adjacent to the property. If the street width cannot be met, one onsite parking space is required and can be uncovered or an owner may construct one new public on-street parking space as parking for an ADU.

Replacement parking requirements for garages converted to an ADU

Replacement parking for the conversion of an existing garage into an ADU must be provided as covered, uncovered or tandem. 

An ADU may not be operated at any time as a short-term lodging unit, and an ADU enforcement and monitoring program will be developed as part of this ordinance. The ordinance will undergo a second reading at a date to be determined before it goes into effect.

City Council approves tree-replanting plan

The Council approved a tree-replanting plan for 27 vacant tree sites located in downtown and along Coast Highway.

Over the past few years, several trees located within the downtown area and along North and South Coast Highway have been removed due to vehicle damage, disease, death, storms and Caltrans projects. Each site has been assessed for the replanting effort and a recommended replanting list has been made.

On Tuesday the Council decided that vacant tree wells in the downtown and along Coast Highway be replanted in accordance with the Planning Commission recommended species. 

Wade Brown recognized for 30 years of service

City Manager John Pietig recognized Wade Brown, Public Works Department Undergrounding Program Manager for the City of Laguna Beach, for 30 years of service with the City.

Brown started as a building inspector in 1988 and in 1990 he became the Parks Division Manager for the Public Works Department and was then promoted to Project Director. 

Brown has worked on many notable City projects including the Montage Project and Treasure Island Park, building the second story to City Hall in 1990, coordination of the clean up process after the 1993 fires, the Heisler Park Master Plan and renovations, Lifeguard Headquarters Project, which included the Main Beach Sewer Lift Station, the third largest lift station in the City located under the Lifeguard Station at Main Beach, the Top of the World Trail in 1995, and the Village Entrance Project for the past 20 years.

“Wade has always been one of those go-to team members,” said City Manager John Pietig. “Anything we need him to do he finds a way to help us do it. My great thanks to Wade for everything you have done for this community. Congratulations, Wade.”