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Laguna Beach


City and Police Employees’ Association come to an understanding

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council tonight is expected to ratify an agreement with the Laguna Beach Police Employees’ Association that includes raises and educational incentives.

Major changes from the current Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) are salary increases for sworn officers of 2.25 percent, as of February 10 this year, and in January of each of the two subsequent years. Non-sworn officers will receive an increase of 1.67 percent for the same three years.

Sworn officers carry a firearm in the performance of their duties, have a badge, and the power to a arrest. Non-sworn officers perform such jobs as dispatching and contact with the public, such as Jim Beres, Civilian Services Administrator for Laguna Beach, or employees at the counter in the police department. 

Jailers and Beach Patrol Officers will receive a 6 percent increase, effective February 10, with no subsequent annual increases proposed in the MOU.

Educational incentives will be offered to dispatchers. Incumbents are eligible to receive an increase of 5 percent of their base salary if certified as an advanced dispatcher.

Under the terms of the agreement, detectives and school resource officers will receive a 2 percent increase. Field training officers will receive 10 percent assignment pay when training in the field. 

The MOU caps 120 hours for paid time off in each calendar year for jury duty. Removal of unnecessary or outdated language was included in the recommendation. 

If approved, the agreement will cost about $50,000 in fiscal year 2019-2020 and an additional $315,000 during the remainder of the agreement 

Staff recommends that City Manager John Pietig be authorized to modify the budget for the current fiscal year and fiscal year 2020-2021 to fund the MOU. The increases will be accounted for in the Mid-Year Budget Update, to be heard later in the meeting, 

The MOU is one of the 16 items on the meeting’s Consent Calendar, which are approved without discussion unless “pulled” by a member of the council or the public.


City begins construction of Coast Highway intersection improvements downtown

In an ongoing effort to improve traffic circulation and enhance pedestrian safety in the downtown area, the City of Laguna Beach is preparing to construct intersection improvements along Coast Highway between Broadway and Legion Street. Construction is scheduled to begin on February 24 and is expected to be completed by the end of May 2020.

Project highlights include:

--Converting Ocean Avenue to a one-way street from Beach Street to Coast Highway 

--Installing pedestrian all-way crossings (scrambles) at Forest Avenue and Laguna Avenue

--Lengthening left turn lanes at Broadway, Forest Avenue, and Legion Street

--Relocating crosswalk from south to north side of Ocean Avenue

--Expanding and improving curb access ramps to meet current standards

City begins downtown

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Ocean Avenue will be converted to a one-way street from Beach Street to Coast Highway

Access will be maintained throughout the duration of this project, although parking restrictions and traffic impacts can be expected during lane closure hours of 9 a.m. to 4 p.m., Monday through Thursday, and 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. on Friday, excluding holidays. 

The City will be working with the area businesses throughout the work to minimize construction impacts. The City’s contractor, Alfaro Communications Construction, will work to minimize dust, noise, restricted access, parking restrictions, traffic, and other related impacts to the greatest extent possible. 

For additional information, contact John Przbyszewsk, consultant inspector, at (714) 815-1799 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or Natalie Chan, Assistant City Engineer, at (949) 497-0741 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


City Manager’s Updates

New Business Announcements – The City of Laguna Beach would like to welcome some of our new businesses to the City: Cryo Haus, located at 1101 S Coast Hwy, is a luxury cryotherapy spa offering whole body cryotherapy. 

Eco Cure, located at 1848 S Coast Hwy, offers zero gravity chair massages, natural healing products, and skin care services. 

Also, welcome to the new owners of already established Laguna Beach businesses: Sapphire Restaurant and Pantry, located at 1200 S Coast Hwy, is under new ownership and will debut as “Sapphire, Cellar. Craft. Cook.” in early April. 

South American gift shop Laguna Iguana, located in the Forest Avenue Mall at 332 Forest Ave, is also under new ownership. 

Welcome to all our new Laguna Beach businesses and business owners. 

Farmers’ Market Free Public Parking available in Lot 11-E – During the final stage of the Village Entrance Project while Lot 12 (Lumberyard Lot) remains closed to the public, free public parking will be available to patrons of the Farmers’ Market in the newly opened Lot 11-E (Employee Parking Lot) on Saturdays from 8 a.m. - 1 p.m. To access Lot 11-E use the traffic signal at the intersection of Laguna Canyon Road and the Festival of Arts and drive over the newly constructed bridge towards the Digester building. 

For questions, contact Senior Administrative Analyst Lori Karaguezian at (949) 497-0740 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

New Voting Process More Convenient for Laguna Beach Voters – The City of Laguna Beach has partnered with the Orange County Registrar of Voters to make voting more convenient in the upcoming Presidential Primary Election. 

Voters have the option to vote at one of two Vote Centers in Laguna Beach from February 29 - March 3 or visit a regional Vote Center from February 22 - March 3.Click here view a list of all available Vote Centers, addresses, and hours of operation. Laguna Beach Vote Centers are located at the Community and Susi Q Center, 380 3rd St, or at the American Legion Post 222, 384 Legion St. 

The Vote Centers double as ballot drop box locations or you can also drop your ballot at the Laguna Beach Branch Library, located at 363 Glenneyre St. 

For more information regarding the upcoming Presidential Primary Election, visit www.ocvote.com

For questions about voting locally in Laguna Beach, contact Laguna Beach City Clerk Lisette Chel-Walker at (949) 497-0309 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Laguna Beach County Water District Work at S Coast Hwy – On weekdays through February 28, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., the Laguna Beach County Water District (LBCWD) will be installing a water valve on S Coast Hwy located near the Diamond Street intersection. 

The northbound lane of S Coast Hwy closest to the curb will be blocked between Center Street and Ruby Street. 

For questions, contact the LBCWD at (949) 464-1041.

Public Invited to Provide Input on Neighborhood Trolley Service – The City of Laguna Beach invites the public to provide input on the Neighborhood Trolley services, routes, and usage at three upcoming public input sessions and through an online survey. 

The first session on Monday, Feb 24 will focus on the Top of the World neighborhoods and routes; the second session on Wednesday, Feb 26 will focus on Bluebird Canyon and Arch Beach Heights neighborhoods and routes; and the Monday, March 9 session will focus on North and South Laguna neighborhoods served by the Coastal Route. 

Each input session will be held from 6 to 7 p.m. at the Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Center. The public is also invited to take an online survey to provide feedback by visiting http://bit.ly/NeighborhoodTransitSurvey2020.  

City Managers trolley

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Scott Brashier

City invites public input on Trolley service 

Printed copies of the survey are also available at the Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Center and at City Hall. 

For more information, contact Michael Litschi, Deputy Director of Public Works, Transit, and Parking, at (949) 497-0303 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

LEAD Alcohol Laws & Responsibility Training – The County of Orange Healthcare Agency and the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce invite the public to a California Alcoholic Beverage Control (ABC) LEAD training session on Tuesday, March 10 from 9 a.m. - 1 p.m. at the Boys & Girls Club of Laguna Beach. 

The LEAD program educates businesses on laws involving the sale and service of alcoholic beverages. The curriculum is designed for licensees, managers, and employees. 

Last year, thousands of employees in California’s alcoholic beverage industry were trained in this program. Since 1991, the LEAD Program has trained over 200,000 people. 

“LEAD training provides practical information for responsible beverage service to the employees and staff of our local liquor establishments, so as a community we can prevent alcohol related crimes and deaths,” said Laguna Beach Police Department Captain Jeff Calvert. Participants must register before the class. To register, go to https://bit.ly/2RBy4oh.

Emergency Kit Backpacks Available for Purchase – A Laguna Beach-specific Emergency Kit Backpack is available for purchase. The kit includes the following: AM/FM hand crank radio with flashlight and cell phone charger, 4-in-1 gas and water utility shut off tool, glow sticks, bio-hazard bags, nitrile gloves, N95 mask, 54-piece first aid kit, duct tape, emergency poncho, solar blanket, and a personal hygiene kit. 

Additionally, the kit contains emergency plan templates and disaster-specific information. Each red backpack features an official City of Laguna Beach Seal. You can purchase the Laguna Beach-specific Emergency Kit Backpack for $50 on the City’s website via https://bit.ly/2DlnFGy or in person at the Community and Susi Q Center, 380 3rd St, during normal business hours. No profits are being made from the sale of this backpack. Let’s get prepared!

“City Chats” on KX FM – A special winter edition of “City Chats” is back on KX FM. This week hear Laguna Beach Deputy Director of Public Works, Michael Litschi, talk about the City’s parking and transit programs on KX FM’s “City Chats” podcast segment. Find out more about the City’s Neighborhood Transit programs, and Michael’s role as the City’s Deputy Director of Public Works for Parking and Transit. 

Listeners can also tune in to the podcast segment online at www.kxfmradio.org/podcasts/city-chats-michael-litschi-2-18-20/. Michael will also play some of his favorite songs for listeners and share the stories behind them.

Review of Historic Preservation Ordinance – On Wednesday, Feb 26, at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers, the Planning Commission is scheduled to review Amendments to the General Plan, Zoning Ordinance, the Residential Design Guidelines, and Local Coastal Program (GPA 19-5414/ZOA 17-0289/ LCP 17-0388) to provide a voluntary historic preservation program. 

The Planning Commission will review the proposed changes and provide a recommendation to the City Council. 

Retail Market Evaluation for Downtown Specific Plan Area – The City hired Stanley R. Hoffman Associates, Inc. and Stoffel & Associates to provide a market assessment of existing retail conditions, and to assist in evaluating and potentially modifying permit processing procedures to allow for both permitted-by-right and conditional uses in the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) area. 

The retail consultants will present key findings and recommendations of the Draft DSP Area Retail Market Evaluation on Wednesday, Feb 26 during a special Planning Commission meeting at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall (505 Forest Ave). 

A staff report will be available and posted on the City’s website by February 21. At the meeting, City staff will be seeking Planning Commission and public comment on the document for City Council consideration. 

The City Council will consider this effort and continue review of the DSP Update project during the special City Council meeting on March 24 at 5 p.m. in the Council Chambers. The Retail Market Evaluation and direction received from the City Council will inform land use policy decisions for the DSP Update. For more information or to view a copy of the draft document, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/civicax/filebank/blobdload.aspx?blobid=24076 or contact Wendy Jung, Senior Planner, at (949) 497-0321 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


City releases Retail Market Evaluation

In an effort to streamline and improve the approval process for prospective businesses within the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) area, the City of Laguna Beach hired a retail consultant to provide a Retail Market Evaluation and an assessment of permit process procedure. 

The report is available for review at https://bit.ly/37o2yi0. 

The City Council will consider the findings of this Retail Market Evaluation at a special meeting on Tuesday, March 24, and provide land use policy direction for the upcoming update to the City’s Downtown Specific Plan. 

The Draft DSP Area Retail Market Evaluation done by retail consultants Stanley R. Hoffman Associates, Inc. and Stoffel & Associates, suggests ways to streamline the approval process for prospective businesses. 

City releases downtown

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

City Council will consider findings of newly released Retail Market Evaluation

Upcoming Opportunities for Public Input:

--Friday, Feb 21 – A staff report on the Retail Market Evaluation will be available and posted on the City’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net

--Wednesday, Feb 26 – Retail consultants Stanley R. Hoffman Associates, Inc. and Stoffel & Associates will present the Retail Market Evaluation to the Planning Commission at a special meeting at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall (505 Forest Ave). At the meeting, City staff will be seeking comment from the public and the Planning Commission on the document for City Council consideration. 

--Tuesday, March 24 – The City Council will consider the Retail Market Evaluation, a staff report, and public and Planning Commission comments during a special City Council meeting at 5 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall (505 Forest Ave).

For more information, or to view a copy of the Retail Market Evaluation, visit https://bit.ly/37o2yi0 or contact Wendy Jung, Senior Planner, at (949) 497-0321 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


City partners with OC Registrar of Voters on new voting process

The City of Laguna Beach has partnered with the Orange County Registrar of Voters to make voting more convenient in the upcoming Presidential Primary Election. 

Voters have the option to vote at one of two Vote Centers in Laguna Beach or vote at any regional Vote Center, drop off ballots at a ballot drop box, or mail in ballots anytime on or before March 3, 2020. All registered voters in Orange County will receive a vote-by-mail ballot.

If you prefer to cast your ballot in person, you have the option to visit one of two Laguna Beach Vote Centers from February 29 - March 3 or visit a regional Vote Center from February 22 - March 3. 

Vote Centers allow you to vote, solve voter registration issues, register to vote, obtain a replacement ballot, and obtain general assistance over the course of several days if needed. You can vote at any Orange County Vote Center. 

Voters casting their ballot in person in Laguna Beach are encouraged to vote early during the four-day period. Two Vote Center locations will be open from February 29 - March 3 in Laguna Beach. 

Locations and hours of operation are as follows:

Laguna Beach Community & Susi Q Center, 380 3rd St (park in Parking Lot 13)

--February 29 from 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.

--March 1 from 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.

--March 2 from 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.

--March 3 from 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.

American Legion Post 222, 384 Legion St (between Glenneyre & Park Ave; enter off Goff St)

--Feburary 29 from 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.

--March 1 from 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.

--March 2 from 8 a.m. - 9 p.m.

--March 3 Election Day from 7 a.m. – 8pm

Ballot drop boxes are also a great way to deliver your ballot. Click here to view a list of all ballot drop boxes in your area. Laguna Beach has ballot drop boxes conveniently located at the following locations:

--Laguna Beach Branch Library, 363 Glenneyre St

--Laguna Beach Community & Susi Q Center, 380 3rd St

--American Legion Post 222, 384 Legion St

During the election, traffic on Third Street and Park Avenue could be impacted. The city advises residents to take alternate morning routes on Monday, March 2 and Tuesday, March 3.

You can find more information regarding the upcoming Presidential Primary Election on the Orange County Registrar of Voters website at www.ocvote.com

If you have questions about voting locally in Laguna Beach, contact Laguna Beach City Clerk Lisette Chel-Walker at (949) 497-0309 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


Planning Commission to hold Major Remodel Workshop

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The Laguna Beach Planning Commission will conduct a workshop on Wednesday to clarify the city’s definition of a major remodel, including ocean front projects.

City staff has been working with the California Coastal Commission to develop a new definition and set of standards for major development, which may have to be separated into two categories, one specifically for erosion-prone oceanfront properties. Differences in city and commission interpretations have led to a backlog of appeals to the commission, delaying construction and adding to the cost. 

In the interim, city staff will begin interpreting a definition of the major remodel similar to the one used by the commission for projects in the appealable area, although staff does not agree with the commission’s threshold for major remodel, and specifically the threshold for elements that count toward demolition.

Architect Marshall Ininns learned recently that the use of the commission standards for demolition include the removal and/or replacement of non-structural elements such as drywall or reroofing and will be used in the assessment of the Coast Inn project that has been in the works for several years. 

Other projects, also created under past standards, are also in limbo.

Despite the disagreement on the standards, staff does wish to reduce the number of appeals. 

A handout will be created and distributed to the public to clarify what the city believes is the commission’s threshold for major remodel. 

A notice of Wednesday’s workshop was emailed to local architects, developers, and builders. An announcement was also sent to local newspapers. 

Staff is requesting feedback from the professionals, the public, and the commission to further refine the proposed amendments to the city’s municipal code related to major remodels.

For more information, go to the city’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net for the six-page agenda item. Click on meetings and agendas. 

The meeting will begin at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers in City Hall at 505 Forest Ave.


Public invited to provide input on Neighborhood Trolley

The City of Laguna Beach invites the public to provide input on the Neighborhood Trolley services, routes, and usage at three upcoming listening sessions and through participating in an online survey.

Three public listening sessions regarding Neighborhood Trolley service will be held at the Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Center. 

The first session on February 24 will focus on the Top of the World neighborhoods and routes and run from 6 -7 p.m.; the second session on February 26 will focus on Bluebird Canyon and Arch Beach Heights neighborhoods and routes and run from 6 -7 p.m.; and the March 9 session will focus on North and South Laguna neighborhoods served by the Coastal Route and run from 6 -7 p.m. 

Public invited trolley

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Three sessions regarding Neighborhood Trolley services to be held

The public is invited to attend any or all of the sessions to provide input or ask questions about Neighborhood Trolley service. 

The public is also invited to take an online survey to provide feedback regarding Neighborhood Trolley service by clicking here.

Printed copies of the survey will also be made available for the public at the Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Center and at City Hall.

The Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Center is located at 380 3rd St.

For more information, contact Michael Litschi, Deputy Director of Public Works, Transit and Parking, at (949) 497-0303 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


City hosts exhibition featuring LCAD work through March 5

The City of Laguna Beach is currently hosting an exhibition of artwork from the Laguna College of Art + Design. The exhibition, titled 2020 Vision, features work by 20 current students of the college’s Master of Fine Arts program in painting and drawing. The exhibition will be on display until March 5.

 The current exhibition will be followed by the City’s annual Art That’s Small at City Hall exhibition and competition, which exclusively features two-dimensional and relief works that measure 12” x 12” and under including frame. 

City hosts hat

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Submitted photo

Agostino Vaccaro, “The Outlaw”

Artists 18 years of age or older who reside in Orange County are invited to participate by bringing their work and the $15 entry fee to City Hall, 505 Forest Ave, on Saturday, March 7 between 9 - 11 a.m. 

Accepted works will be on display from March 9 - April 17. The competition carries a $500 First Prize award as well $200 for Second Place, $150 for Third Place, and Honorable Mentions, which will be announced at the exhibition reception on April 2, from 6 - 7 p.m. 

Adam Schwerner, Chair of the Arts Commission, says, “We truly appreciate the ability to host local arts organizations and display the incredible work by local artists at City Hall. The rotating exhibitions bring life and energy to the walls and we hope the public takes the time to engage with each exhibition.”

All exhibitions and receptions are free to attend and open to the public during City Hall business hours. City Hall exhibitions are a program of the Arts Commission and funded by the lodging establishments and City of Laguna Beach. 

For more information, contact Arts Program Coordinator Michael McGregor at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 497-0722.


Laguna Beach Beautification Council presents Laura Cohen at meeting tomorrow

The Laguna Beach Beautification Council (LBBC) presents “Gifts from Nature…the Miracle that is Laguna Coast Wilderness Park,” featuring special guest speaker Laura Cohen, at the Montage Laguna Beach on Wednesday, Feb 19 from 6 - 7:30 p.m. in Executive Suite 227. 

Laura is the new Resource Specialist for Laguna Coast Wilderness Park. She received her MA in biological science from CSU Fullerton. She worked for 10 years as the Director of the Richard and Donna O’Neill Land Conservancy before learning of the new Resource Specialist position for the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park.

“I was excited about the idea of working at a park that so many people had fought to protect,” states Laura. 

Laguna Beach Laura

Click on photo for a larger image

Submitted photo

Laura Cohen (middle) is the Resource Specialist for Laguna Coast Wilderness Park 

Laura will provide an introduction to the park, its history, wildlife, and the many benefits to our community and beyond. Laura works in the Nix Nature Center on weekends, assisting members of the public. She helps plan larger nature center programs four to six times a year designing new exhibits and restoring older exhibits. 

Cohen occasionally leads interpretive hikes and responds to calls from the public and emergencies in the park. Some of her special projects include a new cell phone “wildflower library,” which you can find on the cell phone site at www.lagunacoast.oncell under the Laguna Coast Wilderness Park Audio Tour and an online quiz to teach people how to protect the park. 

The Laguna Coast Wilderness Park is supported by the Laguna Canyon Foundation. Tthe park is open seven days a week all year (except during rain or fire closures).

LBBC programs and valet parking are free to members and guests.  

There is limited seating for the event and a RSVP is required to attend. To reserve seats, contact Leah Vasquez at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 494-5787. 

The Montage is located at 30801 South Coast Hwy.


City Manager’s Updates

Holiday Trolley Schedule – On Monday, Feb 17, trolley service will operate on a regular weekday schedule during the President’s Day holiday, with service on the three neighborhood routes and the Weekday Coastal route between 6:30 a.m. and 6 p.m. 

Visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/trolley or call (949) 497-0766 for additional information.

City Managers trolley

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Trolley service to operate during regular weekday schedule on President’s Day 

Holiday Street Sweeping Schedule – On Monday, Feb 17, street sweeping will only occur in commercial areas due to the President’s Day holiday. 

For more information, contact Senior Fleet Maintenance Supervisor Austin Comp at (949) 464-6637.

Review of Historic Preservation Ordinance – On Wednesday, Feb 26, at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers, the Planning Commission is scheduled to review Amendments to the General Plan, Zoning Ordinance, the Residential Design Guidelines, and Local Coastal Program (GPA 19-5414/ZOA 17-0289/ LCP 17-0388) to provide a voluntary historic preservation program. The Planning Commission will review the proposed changes and provide a recommendation to the City Council. 

Retail Market Evaluation for Downtown Specific Plan Area – The City hired Stanley R. Hoffman Associates, Inc. and Stoffel & Associates to provide a market assessment of existing retail conditions, and to assist in evaluating and potentially modifying permit processing procedures to allow for both permitted-by-right and conditional uses in the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) area. 

The retail consultants will present key findings and recommendations of the Draft DSP Area Retail Market Evaluation on Wednesday, Feb 26 during a special Planning Commission meeting at 6 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall (505 Forest Ave). A staff report will be available and posted on the City’s website by February 21.

At the meeting, City staff will be seeking Planning Commission and public comment on the document for City Council consideration. The City Council will consider this effort and continue review of the DSP Update project during the special City Council meeting on March 24 at 5 p.m. in the Council Chambers. 

The Retail Market Evaluation and direction received from the City Council will inform land use policy decisions for the DSP Update. For more information or to view a copy of the draft document, click here or contact Wendy Jung, Senior Planner, at (949) 497-0321 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Village Entrance – Construction for the final phase of the Village Entrance project will begin on February 18 and will require closure of the Lumberyard parking lot (Lot 12). 

Starting February 14, Lots 10 and 11 will be available to the public. Parking spaces around the digester building will be reserved for City Hall employees, Monday through Friday between 6 a.m. and 6 p.m., and will be available to the public on evenings and weekends. 

For questions or concerns, contact Tom Perez, Project Director, at (949) 464-6688 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce to Host Annual State of the City Luncheon – The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce will host its annual “State of the City” luncheon on Thursday, May 14 from 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at the Montage Laguna Beach, 30801 S Coast Hwy.

Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen and City officials will present the State of the City Address. The luncheon is sponsored by the Chamber of Commerce and provides attendees a great opportunity to get an up-close look at City activities, recent highlights from the past 12 months, and City goals for the near future. 

To reserve tickets or for more information, call (949) 494-1018 or go to www.lagunabeachchamber.org.

City Manager's State of the City

Click on photo for a larger image

Photo by Mary Hurlbut

LBPD Police Chief Laura Farinella, Mayor Bob Whalen, and Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow at last year’s “State of the City” lunechon at Montage Laguna Beach

Parking Sensor Installation – On Tuesday, Feb 18, crews are scheduled to begin installing parking sensors at metered spaces along Upper Cliff Drive between Broadway and Aster as part of the second phase of the Smart Parking Guidance Project. Work will begin at approximately 7 a.m. and completed by 6 p.m. On-street parking will be limited during this time. 

For questions, contact Michael Litschi, Deputy Director of Public Works, at (949) 497-0303 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

SCE Pole Removal at S. Coast Highway – On Thursday, Feb 20, between 9 a.m. and 3 p.m., Southern California Edison (SCE) will be removing a utility pole located at the northeast intersection of S Coast Hwy and Calliope Street. This work is associated with Caltrans’ Calliope Flashing Beacon project. The northbound lane closest to the curb on S Coast Highway will be intermittently blocked between Mountain Road and Bluebird Canyon Drive during the work. 

For questions or concerns, contact SCE’s Customer Service number at (800) 655-4555.

Registration Open for Leadership Laguna Citizen’s Academy – The City of Laguna Beach is pleased to announce registration is now open for Leadership Laguna 2020, a citizen’s academy consisting of a series of five workshops. The purpose of these workshops is to introduce participants to the various operations of the City. 

The program will provide information about the City’s various departments, committees, and commissions. Speakers from each department will address the participant’s questions. Leadership Laguna takes place on five Thursday evenings beginning on March 12 and ending April 16. 

Space in the academy is limited, so interested candidates should submit their application as early as possible. 

To register, go to www.lagunabeachcity.net/leadershiplaguna or contact Jeremy Frimond, Senior Administrative Analyst in the City Manager’s Office, at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or (949) 464-6673.

Search Underway for New Director of Public Works – The City of Laguna Beach has started a comprehensive search for a new Director of Public Works as current Assistant City Manager/Director of Public Works Shohreh Dupuis has been assigned to the position of Laguna Beach Assistant City Manager. 

As Assistant City Manager, Dupuis will lead many special projects and programs such as Wildfire Safety and Mitigation Plan, economic development, property acquisitions, and other City Council priorities and will oversee all of the following City Departments and functions: Public Works, Community Services, Cultural Arts, and Communications.

The City estimates it will take four to six months to complete a comprehensive search, recruit, and hire a new Director of Public Works. Manual Gomez, the former Irvine Director of Public Works, has been retained as an interim Director of Public Works effective February 10, 2020. Due to the recently vacated position of Assistant City Manager, the reorganization of the City’s Executive Staff is cost-neutral.

Thurston Middle School Parking Impacts – Thurston Middle School will be hosting its annual Destination Imagination event on Saturday, Feb 29, from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m. 

This is a major event and the school expects up to 700 attendees. Parking in and around Thurston will be impacted and there will be two shuttle vans going back and forth all day from the district office lot to the school. Any questions should be directed to the school district at (949) 497-7700 Ext. 5218.

Junior Lifeguards – Registration for the 2020 Junior Lifeguard program is now open to Laguna Beach residents. Participants must pass the required swim test or have participated in the 2019 program to be eligible to register. 

The first swim tests of this year will be held this Friday, Feb 14 from 6 to 7:30 p.m. and Saturday, Feb 15 from 3 to 4 p.m. All swim tests take place at the Laguna Beach High School and Community Pool, located at 670 Park Ave. 

Additional information about the program, including a list of swim test dates, is available at http://bit.ly/2RAlQcl, or by calling (949) 497-0788.

Leaf Blower Reminder – The City is reminding community members that leaf blowers continue to be illegal to use within the City limits. These include the operation of electric and gas-powered blowers which are described in Laguna Beach Municipal Code 7.25.070(D). 

Warnings and/or citations may be issued when Code Enforcement Staff view someone using one of these devices. Homeowners who receive complaints will also be sent letters educating them about the law.

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

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