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Food pantry needs more room to feed more hungry people in need

By BARBARA DIAMOND

The Food Pantry is feeding more individuals and families than ever before and additional food storage is needed, according to a proposal to be considered Tuesday by the City Council.

Pantry officials are asking the council to approve the concept of adding a 10-by-20-foot structure for food storage and new fencing on the city-owned property between the Bark Park and the Alternate Sleeping Location on Laguna Canyon Road. 

The city leases the property to the Pantry specifically for the distribution of food to low-income folks who live and work in Laguna Beach or adjacent communities. The Pantry pays the city $1,000 a month, maintains general liability and workers compensation insurance naming the city as an additional insured, and pays for maintenance of the property and utilities.  

Besides council approval the project would be subject to development and design review. 

If the council approves the proposal, the lease would be amended to extended to 2022 and would include the expansion.  

If the Pantry is unable to obtain necessary entitlements and/or permits by Dec. 31 2018, the amended lease would be null and void and the current lease would expire in 2020. 

The proposed concept would require approval of reducing the north end of the Bark Park by 10 feet, to be compensated for by an offer from the Pantry to make unstated minor improvements, in consultation with the city and park users. The Pantry would also pay for new fencing between the two facilities.

A $6,000 community assistance grant was awarded the Pantry this fiscal year according to the staff report.