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Laguna Beach


City Manager’s Updates

Holiday Tree Recycling – Waste Management will collect and recycle holiday trees on the regular collection days at no charge from now until Friday, Jan 17. 

Trees must be cut to lengths less than six feet. Decorations, tinsel, metal ornaments, and metal stands must be removed from the trees. 

Visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/recycling for more information. 

2019 City of Laguna Beach Key Accomplishments – The City of Laguna Beach had a banner year in 2019.  Click https://adobe.ly/2tmlzmY to watch a video highlighting many of the City’s key accomplishments and find a full list of all the accomplishments at https://bit.ly/2tkWYyA.

Undergrounding Utilities on Crestview Drive – From January 6 to February 7, Hot Line Construction, Inc. will be performing work to underground all the existing overhead electric/communication wires and utility poles on Crestview Drive between 2080-2163 Crestview Drive.

This work is funded by the residents in the area under the Crestview Underground Utility Assessment District. The contractor’s work hours will be 8:30 a.m. to 3:30 p.m. daily. The contractor will use flaggers to direct traffic as needed, however, due to the narrowness of Crestview Drive, minor traffic delays cannot be avoided. 

For questions or concerns, contact Edmundo Gonzalez with Hot Line Construction, Inc. at (951) 326-9313, or Pierre Sawaya, Undergrounding Project Manager, at (949) 497-0751.

Notice of Public Meeting for Downtown Action Plan Comments – On Monday, Jan 13 from 3:30 to 5 p.m., the City will hold a public meeting at the Community and Susi Q Senior Center, Community Room, located at 380 3rd St, to consider public input and discussion regarding SWA Group recommendations on the Downtown Action Plan. This interaction is intended to help interested citizens better understand the Plan in order to frame their input to the Planning Commission during upcoming meetings. 

City Manager's downtown

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

City to hold Downtown Action Plan meeting for the public on Jan 13

For additional information, contact Anthony Viera, Associate Planner, at (949) 497-0398 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

The City Council is accepting applications for Committees, Commissions, and Boards – Spots are available on the Recreation Committee, Design Review Board, Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee, Heritage Committee, Environmental Sustainability Committee, and View Restoration Committee. Interviews and appointments for these positions will be conducted on Tuesday, Feb 4 by the City Council in the City Council Chambers, 505 Forest Ave.

Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on one of these committees should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or online from the City’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net, and file by Friday, Jan 24 at 5 p.m. The application on the City website is interactive and residents are encouraged to fill in the application online. 

Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at (949) 497-0705. Applications will not be accepted after the January 24 deadline.

Community Services Department Fitness Classes – Are you looking for a convenient way to stick to your New Year’s resolutions for 2020? The Community Services department offers a host of fitness classes, ranging from yoga to Zumba, or line dancing and even indoor and outdoor boot camps. 

Sign up for adult fitness classes at: https://secure.rec1.com/CA/city-of-laguna-beach/catalog.


City Manager’s Updates

Holiday Trash Collection and Tree Recycling – For New Year’s, residential and commercial trash collection will be delayed by one day on Wednesday, Jan 1, 2020. Waste Management will collect and recycle holiday trees on the regular collection days at no charge from now until Friday, Jan 17, 2020.

Trees must be cut to lengths less than six feet. Decorations, tinsel, metal ornaments, and metal stands must be removed from the trees. Visit the city’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net/recycling for more information. 

Holiday Trolley Service – The trolleys will run normal hours on New Year’s Eve from 6 a.m. to 6:30 p.m., but no trolley service will be provided on New Year’s Day. 

No Holiday Street Sweeping – There will be no street sweeping on Wednesday, Jan 1, 2020.  Parking restrictions for street sweeping will not be enforced.

Notice of Public Meeting for Downtown Action Plan Comments - On Monday, Jan 13, 2020, from 3:30 to 5 p.m., the City will hold a public meeting at the Community and Susi Q Senior Center, Community Room, located at 380 Third Street, to consider public input and discussion regarding SWA Group recommendations on the Downtown Action Plan. 

City Managers downtown

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

City to hold a public meeting on Jan 13 to discuss Downtown Action Plan 

This interaction is intended to help interested citizens better understand the Plan in order to frame their input to the Planning Commission during upcoming meetings. 

For additional information, please contact Anthony Viera, Associate Planner, at (949) 497-0398 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

The City Council is accepting applications for Committees, Commissions, and Boards – Spots are available on the Recreation Committee, Design Review Board, Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee, Heritage Committee, Environmental Sustainability Committee, and View Restoration Committee. Interviews and appointments for these positions will be conducted on Tuesday, Feb 4, 2020, by the City Council in the City Council Chambers, 505 Forest Ave. 

Laguna Beach residents who are interested in serving on one of these committees should obtain an application from the City Clerk’s office or online from the City’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net, and file by Friday, Jan 24, 2020, at 5 p.m. The application on the City website is interactive and you are encouraged to fill in the application online. Questions may be directed to the City Clerk’s office at (949) 497-0705. Applications will not be accepted after the January 24, 2020, deadline.

Community Services Program & Facility Needs Assessment – The Recreation Committee needs your help. They want to hear what you need and want from the City’s recreation facilities. 

Residents can find a recreation services survey insert in the quarterly Recreation Brochure mailed to Laguna Beach households last week. Drop off surveys at the Community and Susi Q Senior Center, Community Pool, Moulton Meadows Park (Tennis Courts), Bluebird Park (Cress Street entrance), or Alta Laguna Park (Alta Laguna Boulevard entrance) or take the survey online at https://bit.ly/2M3Dm8Y. Your responses will help the City prioritize as they plan for the future.

Facility and Maintenance Closures – Riddle and Alta Laguna fields are closed for maintenance and turf renovations. The pool is also closed for annual upkeep. Riddle is closed through Monday, Jan 27. Alta Laguna and the pool are closed through January 6, 2020. For questions, call (949) 497-0762. 

Good Neighbor Outdoor Lighting – Did you know? Residential holiday lighting is permitted between November 15 and January 15 and to be turned off no later than 12 a.m.

As defined by City Council resolution, residential holiday lighting during the remainder of the year (between January 16 and November 14) is limited to no more than seven consecutive days and should be turned off no later than 12 a.m.

Be Coyote Aware – January is coyote courting and mating season and coyotes require more food during this time. Also, seasonal weather changes in January may increase coyote activity and coyote sightings. Keep your pets indoors in the evening and at night, secure the lid to your garbage cans and dumpsters, do not leave food or water outside – not for your own pets and not for wild animals – and harvest your garden and fruit trees as soon as your vegetables and fruit are ready. If you see a coyote in a residential area, please call Laguna Beach Animal Services at (949) 497-0701. You may also report coyote sightings to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..


City Manager’s Updates

Holiday Trash Collection and Tree Recycling – For the weeks of Christmas and New Year’s, residential and commercial trash collection will be delayed by one day starting on Wednesday, Dec 25 and Wednesday, Jan 1.

Waste Management will collect and recycle holiday trees on the regular collection days at no charge starting on Thursday, Dec 26 through Friday, Jan 17. Trees must be cut to lengths not to exceed six feet. Decorations, tinsel, metal ornaments, and metal stands must be removed from the trees. 

For more information, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/recycling  

Holiday Trolley Service – The trolleys will run normal hours on Christmas Eve from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m., but no trolley service will be provided on Christmas Day. 

City Managers Trolley

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Trolleys will run on Christmas Eve but not on Christmas Day 

No Holiday Street Sweeping – There will be no street sweeping on Wednesday, Dec 25 and Wednesday, Jan 1. Parking restrictions for street sweeping will not be enforced on these days.

Community Services Program & Facility Needs Assessment – The Recreation Committee needs your help. They want to hear what you need and want from the City’s recreation facilities. Residents can find a recreation services survey insert in the quarterly Recreation Brochure mailed to Laguna Beach households last week. 

Drop off surveys at the Community and Susi Q Center, Community Pool, Moulton Meadows Park (tennis courts), Bluebird Park (Cress Street entrance), or Alta Laguna Park (Alta Laguna Boulevard entrance), or take the survey online at https://bit.ly/2M3Dm8Y. Your responses will help the City prioritize for the future. 

Annual 2020 Citizen’s Police Academy – The Laguna Beach Police Department is accepting applications for the upcoming Citizen’s Police Academy. The academy starts on Thursday, Jan 16 and will meet from 6 to 9:30 p.m. for 12 weeks. 

The Citizen’s Police Academy is a non-stress course designed to provide community members with a better understanding of the Laguna Beach Police Department operations and to help foster better communications between police personnel and citizens. 

To be considered for this program, you must be a resident of Laguna Beach or work within the City limits, be at least 18 years old, and have no felony convictions. Applications must be submitted no later than December 27. 

To apply you must register through the City’s Recreation Class sign-up, which can be found at www.lagunabeachcity.net or by contacting Academy Class Coordinator Ross Fallah at (949) 464-6624 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Facility and Maintenance Closures – Riddle and Alta Laguna fields are closed for maintenance and turf renovations. The pool is also closed for annual upkeep. Riddle is closed through Monday, Jan 27. Alta Laguna and the pool are closed through January 6. 

For questions, call (949) 497-0762. 

Spark of Love Toy Drive – The Laguna Beach Fire Department, in partnership with other Southern California Firefighters and ABC7, is taking part in the annual Spark of Love Toy Drive. Over the past 27 years, the Spark of Love Toy Drive has successfully collected more than ten million toys. 

The campaign collects new, unwrapped toys and sports equipment for underserved children and teens in Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Ventura, and Riverside counties. Toys collected in the respective counties are distributed locally. Drop off your new, unwrapped toys or sports equipment to any of Laguna Beach’s four fire stations through Tuesday, Dec 24. 

For more information on the event, contact Engineer Paramedic Pat Cary at (949) 497-0700.


Council asked to approve almost $896,000 for highway intersection improvements

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The cost to improve downtown North Coast Highway intersections could cost up to $895,988, $640,000 of it already funded in the budget.

Staff is recommending the council approve at tonight’s meeting up to $255,988 more to get the job done.

Proposed improvements between Broadway and Legion Street include all-ways pedestrian crosswalks, called scrambles; longer left turn lanes from the highway; conversion of Ocean Avenue to a one-way from Beach Street to the highway; new striping and curb ramp and signal improvements required by Caltrans.

The biggest chunk of cash will go to Alfaro Communication Construction Inc., the low bidder for the project. The company has previously successfully completed other Coast Highway projects for Caltrans, according to the staff report.

Alfaro’s bid was $674,016, already over the previously budgeted amount. 

Staff is recommending approval of the contract with Alfaro, a payment of $81,972 to Dudek to provide construction management and inspection services, project-related expenses, and possible change orders up to $80,000, up to $60,000 to DTAP to proceed with design and entitlements, and the transfer of $290,000 from Future Infrastructure and Capital Projects account to the intersection improvement account. 

The proposal is on the consent calendar and will be approved without comment or discussion, unless “pulled” by a member of the public or council.

Tuesday’s council meeting will begin at 5 p.m. The consent calendar comes just after public and council comments on items not on agenda.


City Manager’s Updates

Downtown Specific Plan Update – The City of Laguna Beach will continue its efforts on the Downtown Specific Plan (DSP) update on Tuesday, Dec 17 during the regularly scheduled City Council meeting scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. in the Council Chambers at City Hall (505 Forest Ave). An agenda bill is available and posted on the City’s website.

The City Council will receive an overview of the draft document. The draft document has been prepared as a result of a multi-year process, which included several public outreach workshops and events, downtown business owner meetings, stakeholder interviews, and approximately 30 City Council and Planning Commission meetings thus far. 

It identifies the goals and establishes specific policies, guidelines, and standards to support an overall vision for the future of the downtown. 

For more information or to view a copy of the Final Draft Downtown Specific Plan, 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.

Community Pool Closure – The High School and Community Pool will be closed for annual maintenance December 16 - January 5, 2020.

 For a list of other pools in the area, visit www.lagunabeachcity.net/pool, or for more information, contact Tierney Doran, Aquatics Coordinator, at (949) 497-0788 or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Southern California Edison Aerial Drone Inspections – Southern California Edison will be inspecting utility poles by aerial drones during the next week. Inspections are expected to start on Monday, Dec 16, and be completed in approximately five days. The drone inspections are being conducted by Birds Eye Aerial Drones. 

The drone operators will park their marked vehicles and launch their drones from legal parking spaces in various neighborhoods. The unmanned aerial drones will circle the top of selected poles taking high resolution photos from multiple positions above the pole. The drones will spend less than a minute at each pole before continuing on to the next pole. 

Inspections will begin in the North Laguna Beach area, then to the central area of Laguna Beach, and finish up in the Top of the World area and the area northerly of Irvine Cove. 

Contact John Cooper of Birds Eye Aerial Drones, LLC with any questions or concerns at (619) 540 3407, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it., or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Meet the New City of Laguna Beach Arborist – The City of Laguna Beach invites you to come and meet the City’s new Arborist, Nate Faris, on Thursday, Dec 18, at 3:30 p.m. at the Community and Susi Q Center Community Room. 

Nate is an ISA Board Certified Master Arborist and ASCA Registered Consulting Arborist with over 15 years of experience creating and leading tree-planting programs at nonprofit organizations, both in Indiana and Florida.  He also has nine years of experience running his own tree consulting company.

Cross Country Championships – Representing the City of Laguna Beach Cross Country Team, Laguna Beach athletes, led by Coach Fred Pichay, competed at the Southern California Municipal Athletic Federation (SCMAF) Cross Country Championships at Arcadia Park. Despite the muddy conditions, the athletes did amazing and all the athletes medaled in their age group. From left to right in the photo below: Theodore Drews, Maesen Silva, Stella McKinzie, Coach Fred Pichay, Luna Murphy, Sienna Herman, and Jasper Ramsey. 

City Managers team

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Submitted photo

The City’s Cross-Country Team competed at championships 

For questions, call Alexis Braun, Senior Recreation Supervisor, at (949) 497-0762.

Alta Laguna Field Maintenance and Closures – Alta Laguna Field will be closed for annual maintenance and turf renovations December 9 - January 6, 2020.

For questions, call Alexis Braun, Senior Recreation Supervisor, at (949) 497-0762.

Register for Emergency Alerts – Go to www.alertoc.com to register your cell phone numbers, text numbers, and email addresses into the mass notification system. It is recommended that you register your work and home addresses separately to ensure you receive proper notifications for each location. AlertOC is a critical link for residents and businesses to immediately learn of any required actions in an emergency. 

You should also register for Laguna Beach’s Nixle Community Alert system for local traffic related information, community events, as well as urgent safety messages in the City. To sign up, simply text 92651 to 888-777.

Evacuation Time Study Survey – In July, the Laguna Beach City Council unanimously approved a Fire Mitigation and Safety Subcommittee Report and approved moving forward with its recommended action items. One of these recommendations was to conduct a comprehensive evacuation time estimate study. The City invites the public to take an online survey that will help capture specific information from our community needed for the study. 

You can find the survey at www.lagunabeachsurvey.kid.engineering

Did You Know? Laguna Beach Has a Christmas Cove – “Christmas Cove” is the northernmost beach that is easily accessible from the Montage Laguna Beach (by way of the ramp at the end of the resort’s park area). Goff Cove is just off to the left at the bottom of the ramp. The beach is a mix between sand bottom and rocky reef. The surf can become large depending on how the sand has shifted and the direction of the swell with rip currents forming at the south end of the beach. As always, the taking or collecting of rocks, shells, or marine life from any beach is prohibited.


Council to be updated on proposed Downtown Specific Plan

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The City Council on Tuesday will be updated on the prolonged revisions to the Downtown Specific Plan that determines the look and feel of the downtown as well as its development.

Revisions to the original plan were approved by the Council in 2012. Since then, about 30 Council and Planning Commission meetings have been held, not to mention a walking tour of the downtown, workshops, and interviews of stakeholders, business owners, and the participation of an ad hoc committee.

“We agree with 95 percent of the proposed plan – and the rest is fixable with some fairly minor adjustments,” said former Planning Commissioner Norm Grossman, a member of the ad hoc committee.

There have been rumblings of discontent with revisions to the parking component of the plan, which reduces the required number of spaces. The recently formed Political Action Committee Laguna Residents First has been particularly critical of the reduction.

Council to be updated Forest

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

A view of Forest Ave downtown

The commission on November 19 recommended the council approve a final draft update with a list of proposed modifications and stipulations to be approved, including an amendment to the city’s local coastal program and city zoning ordinance. Staff is requesting the council to comment on the draft and also provide direction on 13 Planning Commission recommendations for possible inclusion in the plan.

Staff also asks to be directed to return to the council with the full revised draft, including the responses to the negative declaration in accordance with the California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) requirements and requests a first reading of the ordinance to consider approval of the proposed plan.

The plan is scheduled to return to the council at its January 21, 2020 meeting.

The proposed document is based on a plan adopted in 1989, the product completed in just four years from start to finish by a Citizens’ Advisory Committee charged to identify significant planning issues and to develop policies.

“There have been only two major modifications to the original plan and a few minor ones,” said Grossman.

The advisory committee included Grossman and former Planning Commissioner Becky Jones, both members of the ad hoc committee that participated in the revisions to be scrutinized by the council.

The full text of the staff report is available for review on the city’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net.


Council assignments chosen

By BARBARA DIAMOND

City Council made few changes in assignments to represent the council inside and outside the city at organizations and committees for 2020. 

Meetings range from monthly to quarterly to “as needed.” Attendance is not mandatory.   

Re-elected for a second consecutive term as mayor, Bob Whalen has the lion’s share of assignments. Assignments outside the city include representing the city at the League of California Cities, Orange County Division; the county’s City Selection Committee; the Southern California Association of Governments, better known as SCAG; and the South County Association of Mayors.

In town he serves on the Business Improvement District Committee and as ex-officio member of the Festival of Arts Board. 

His committee assignments include the Audit Review and Measure LL Committee and the Cultural Facilities Matching Grant Committee. He liaises with Housing and Human Services and Emergency Preparedness committees. 

Council assignments Whalen

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Mayor Bob Whalen

Whalen also is backup to the assigned representatives to the Coastal Greenbelt Authority, the Irvine Bowl Policy, the Orange County Library Advisory, the Laguna Playhouse committees, and the Laguna Canyon Foundation. 

 He serves on the Fire Safety and Significant Development Projects Ad Hoc Committee and on the Mission Hospital Laguna Beach Subcommittee. 

Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow, who represents the city and the mayor when called upon, serves with Whalen on the Business Improvement District Board, Short Term Lodging, and the hospital committees. He serves as alternate for Leadership Laguna program.

Council assignments Dicterow

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow

 His assignments include representing the council on the HIV Advisory, Irvine Bowl Policy, and the County Library Advisory committees. He liaises with the Arts Commission, the Environmental Sustainability, and Recreation committees.

Councilwoman Toni Iseman, now serving her sixth consecutive term, continues her focus on representing the city on committees related to the environment and the look and feel of Laguna. Her council assignments: the Coastal Greenbelt Authority, Festival Coordinating Committee, the League of California Cities Coastal Issues Group, the League of California Cities Environmental Quality Commission (an appointment approved through the League of California Cities), South County Water/Sewer Committee, and the South Orange County Wastewater Authority (SOCWA).

She liaises with the Heritage Committee. 

Iseman backs up Councilwoman Sue Kempf on the Economic Development/Business Assistance Committee. 

Kempf is the primary council contact for the Laguna Playhouse Committee, Laguna Beach Seniors Inc., the Laguna Canyon Foundation, and the South

Orange County Watershed Management Executive Committee. This year she replaced Whalen on the Measure LL Audit Committee.

She volunteered to serve on the Leadership Laguna and Fire Safety subcommittees and the Significant Development Projects Ad Hoc Committee. 

Councilman Peter Blake accepted one new assignment for 2020. He will liaise with the Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee in addition to his previous assignments as alternate representative to the Laguna Playhouse Board and as liaison to the View Restoration Committee.

Michael Morris represents the city at the County Vector Control. The term is for two to four years, at the council’s discretion. His term ends January 4, 2021.


Council and public weigh in on Downtown Action Plan concept

By BARBARA DIAMOND

Consultants and City staff presented a concept plan on Tuesday designed to freshen Laguna’s downtown – street by street, tree by tree.

The council, minus Peter Blake, who as a property owner in the downtown recused himself, and the public were asked to weigh in on the concept, which was developed by SWA Group and will eventually emerge as the Downtown Action Plan.

SWA’s concept recommends the removal and replacement of 115 of the existing 593 trees in the downtown. Of these trees, 31 were reported by the consultant as in very good health, 266 in good health, 248 in fair shape, and 48 in poor health. The proposal recommended the addition of 119 new trees for a total of 772 in the Downtown Specific Plan Area – also under review.

As usual, when trees are a major component of a proposal, sharply opposing views were voiced by the public.

In a letter to the council, landscape architect Ann Christoph wrote that the removal of the existing trees will cause significant and negative changes to the look and feel of the downtown.

Attorney Larry Nokes, who has offices in the downtown, said that change was needed.

“The downtown is where we all go,” said Nokes. “It needs to be cleaned up.”

council and forest

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

A view of Forest Ave downtown

Scott Sebastian, a local landscape architect, was cheered by SWA’s proposals.

“I am really pleased to see something like this happening in Laguna Beach,” said Sebastian. 

He suggested the City should explore the participation of Caltrans in the project in light of its $60 million sidewalk project. 

Village Laguna welcomes the net gain in trees, but laments the cost in dollars and ambience.

“While the draft talks about building the city’s strengths, it leans in the direction of what it calls refreshing the landscape,” said Johanna Felder on behalf of Village Laguna.

“It identifies trees that are in poor health and proposes removing and replacing them. This replacement amounts to a quarter of the existing trees and we think many Lagunans are going to miss them.

“The cost is projected to be $10 million which seems excessive, given that residents don’t seem to be interested in making big changes in the downtown.”

Twenty projects were included in SWA’s overview.

Councilwoman Sue Kempf opined that she would rather have fewer projects and bigger trees, given that replacement trees are relatively small and could make the streetscape look suboptimal.

“If we elect to implement a subset of the 20 plans, I want [them] to have a big impact on streetscape scale,” Kempf said. “The downtown does need refreshing.”

council and cars

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Trees and cars dominate the downtown streetscape on Forest Ave

The concept presented to the council on Tuesday builds on the policies established in the Scenic Highway Element and Resource Document among other long-range planning studies. Studies included the enhanced Mobility and Complete Streets Transition Plan and the City’s Cultural Arts Plan.

SWA was instructed to consult the studies but was allowed the leeway to inject new ideas into the discussion, including expansion of the recommended tree list where it was deemed appropriate. 

The documents represent a vision of the Laguna Beach of the future, according to the staff report.

SWA’s presentation included a slideshow that illustrated recommendations for hardscape, street furnishings, street lighting, visual inspection, and documentation of existing trees and tree wells to aid planning for future sidewalk and street improvement; locations for new public art installations and pedestrian gathering spaces; landscape design; and project phasing and implementation.

Looming over the discussion was the cost, a concern voiced by Mayor Bob Whalen, Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow, Councilwoman Toni Iseman, and members of the public.

South Laguna resident John Thomas proposed assessing downtown businesses to pay for the construction and maintenance of the recommended improvements.

“We started this meeting discussing the sewage spill crisis last week and money was an issue,” said Iseman. “I have to ask the question how much the [action plan implementation] will cost and who will do the work.

“I don’t have people complaining about the downtown; I have people complaining about waiting in line at the counter.”

Dicterow said the proposed refurbishment of the downtown may take longer because of the cost.

“Maybe we need a phased plan,” he said.

Whalen said the costs will come up in the mid-year budget report and expressed an interest in having SWA prioritize projects.

“What is great is it’s a plan,” said Whalen. “It gives us something the people [on future councils] can carry out.”

The concept plan can be reviewed on the City’s website at www.lagunabeachcity.net

A completed first draft of the plan will be presented to the Planning Commission in the first quarter of 2020.


City Manager’s Updates

Hospitality Night Friday, Dec 6 – Sing carols, mingle with neighbors, and watch Santa light the tree. The first Friday of each December the City of Laguna Beach and the Chamber of Commerce jointly sponsor Hospitality Night. 

Hospitality Night 2019 will be held today, December 6, from approximately 5 to 10 p.m. The festivities will take place in the Peppertree Lot (Lot 2), where Santa Claus will arrive to greet holiday revelers before the tree lighting at 6:10 p.m. 

Lower Forest Avenue will be filled with entertainment and merchant open houses. Street closures in the downtown area will begin at 3:30 p.m. on Friday. Portions of Forest Avenue, Beach Street, and the Pepper Tree Parking Lot will be closed to vehicular traffic prior to and during the event. Forest Avenue in front of City Hall and the Third Street hill will remain open.

For more information, contact Adam Gufarotti, Community Services Supervisor, at (949) 497-0304.

City Managers Santa

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Photo by Scott Brashier

See Santa tonight at hospitality night

Take the Trolley to Hospitality Night – On Friday, Dec 6, take the trolleys to Hospitality night. The neighborhood trolleys (Bluebird Canyon, Arch Beach Heights, and Top of the World) will run extended hours from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m. You can also ride the Coastal trolley from 6:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. 

For more information, go to www.lagunabeachcity.net/trolley.

Weekday Coastal Service begins Friday, Dec 6 Beginning December 6, the North Laguna route and the South Laguna route will be canceled and replaced with the new Weekday Coastal Route. The Weekday Coastal route will run weekdays from 6:30 a.m. to 6 p.m. northbound on Coast Highway to Cliff Drive and southbound to the Ritz-Carlton.  

For more information on the Weekday Coastal route, go to www.lagunabeachcity.net/trolley

Spark of Love Toy Drive – The Laguna Beach Fire Department, in partnership with other Southern California Firefighters and ABC7, is taking part in the annual Spark of Love Toy Drive. Over the past 27 years, the Spark of Love Toy Drive has successfully collected more than ten million toys. The campaign collects new, unwrapped toys and sports equipment for underserved children and teens in Orange, Los Angeles, San Bernardino, Ventura, and Riverside counties. Toys collected in the respective counties are distributed locally. 

Drop off your new, unwrapped toys or sports equipment to any of Laguna Beach’s four fire stations. There will also be donation bins at Hospitality Night on December 6. 

For more information on the event, contact Engineer Paramedic Pat Cary at (949) 497-0700.


Council to get first glimpse of proposed Downtown Action Plan

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The look and feel of downtown Laguna Beach is on the City Council’s agenda for Tuesday’s meeting.

It is titled the Downtown Action Concept Plan and is intended to coordinate specific street trees, streetscape, and related improvements in the downtown and ready them for entitlement – provided the council approves the concepts to be presented by SWA Group.

The council is asked to provide conceptual direction after the public weighs in on the proposed plan.

Council directives will be folded into the preparation of the first draft of the plan. 

SWA Group was hired in April to work with staff on the plan.

The presentation will include a project overview, an analysis of existing conditions, proposed strategy, and proposed projects.

Council to downtown

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Photo by Mary Hurlbut

Downtown Action Concept Plan on agenda for Tuesday’s council meeting

A slideshow will illustrate the presentation that will cover details and recommendations regarding hardscape, street furnishings, street lighting, visual inspection, and documentation of existing trees and tree wells to aid planning for future sidewalk and street improvement, locations for new public art installations and pedestrian gathering spaces, landscape design, and project phasing and implementation.

The plan builds on the policies established in the Scenic Highway Element and Resource Document, among other long-range planning studies. Studies included the enhanced Mobility and Complete Streets Transition Plan and the city’s Cultural Arts Plan.

SWA was instructed to consult the studies but was allowed the leeway to inject new ideas into the discussion, including expansion of the recommended tree list where it was deemed appropriate. 

“The documents represent a vision of the Laguna Beach of the future, according to the staff report. 

A completed first draft of the plan will be presented to the Planning Commission in the first quarter of 2020.

Shaena Stabler is the Owner, Publisher & Editor.

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