CITY COUNCIL MEETING RECAP — 3/1/2022
City Council Proclaims
March 7 Arbor Day
George: The City Council voted to allow all organizations that support trees to take part in this event if no political activity was conducted. The City Manager and City Staff had attempted to exclude organizations such as the South Laguna Beach Community Garden Park and Village Laguna on specious grounds.
This year, Arbor Day will be celebrated at Bluebird Park on March 7 from 3:00-5:00 p.m. Many local organizations will be attending, including the Laguna Garden Club, the Laguna Canyon Foundation, the Laguna Beach Urban Tree Fund, Village Laguna.
Read the Staff Report and Proclamation at:
Arbor Day Side Note: The Pechanga Great Oak Tree Near Temecula
George Weiss: Trees are essential for human life, converting carbon dioxide into the oxygen we breathe. They also supply shade, reduce soil erosion, and sustain birds, critters, and insects. And they are beautiful.
For example, a coastal live oak found on a reserve near Temecula is said to be the world’s oldest living oak and could well have been around for at least two thousand years. The Pechanga great oak is so large, it looks like a mini-forest all by itself. I have not seen this tree, but I will be making a special visit soon and will provide some pictures of its majesty in a future recap.
To read more about oak trees go to:
Recent Resident And Business Survey Results Reviewed By City Council
George Weiss: I am going to delay reporting on this topic until next week. It will be included in my recap of the City Council’s Strategic Planning Session held on Friday, March 4.
To get ahead of the curve, read the Staff Report:
Conditional Use Permit For South Swell Ice Cream Shop At 1330 South Coast Highway Passes 5-0
George Weiss: In the past, this site was a pet accessories store and most recently a clothing store. As an ice cream store, it will be more visitor-serving than the earlier uses and will make it the fourth ice cream store in Laguna Beach. South Swell also runs a site in San Clemente at 137 Avenida Del Mar.
Read the Staff Report at:
Design Review Board Approves
Revocable Encroachment Permit (REP) For Gate At 718 Coast View Drive – Passes 3-2
George Weiss: The property owner at 718 Coast View has applied for a Revocable Encroachment Permit to make legal a rear gate that has encroached on Buena Vista Way's right-of-way for over two decades. The controversy originally started back then. The owner has also built a new kitchen and deck right up to their property line, creating a zero-foot setback.
In a rare DRB action in August of 1999, the DRB permitted the zero-foot setback, stipulating that "Existing Public Access To Remain" over the adjoining public walkway. The DRB action was reviewed because if the gate is locked, it would prevent access to this public amenity that was agreed upon two decades ago.
Granting the Revocable Encroachment Permit was upheld by the current City Council, with the stipulation that it was dependent upon the final determination by the City Council to accept or abandon Pathway #4. The Revocable Encroachment Permit could be revoked if needed to complete public access to the pathway.
Staff To Study Two Options For Possible Temple Hills Pathway #4 Abandonment
George Weiss: Councilman Blake initiated an agenda item to start the process of abandoning Temple Hills Pathway #4. This pathway was created in the original subdivision plot maps of 1925, where the streets and walkways of the Temple Hills Neighborhood were dedicated for public use, with documents filed with the County.
Recently, landowners on either side of the pathway have become interested in closing off the pathways and using the land to extend their own properties. Many residents have been fighting to keep the pathways open for their intended public use. Over the years, the city has abandoned Pathways #2 and #3 to the adjoining residents.
In a 5-0 vote, the City Council sent the matter back to Staff for further analysis on whether the Temple Hills pathway should be abandoned or accepted. Both options will be considered. Either outcome will resolve the current state of the pathway.
Fire Safety Issues Reported At
Top Of The World Alta Laguna Park
George Weiss: Gene Felder, the President of the Top of the World Neighborhood Association, reported that a campfire was created at Alta Laguna Park on January 14. Unfortunately, existing cameras in the area could not capture those involved.
Although the County manages the wilderness park, the City has a responsibility to keep the thousands of residents who live nearby safe from fires.
After Gene’s testimony, the City agreed to investigate added measures that would help keep residents safe, such as added cameras and increase police presence. Chief of Police Calvert also gave a short talk on his plans to transition the Beach Patrol program to a new Neighborhood Enhancement Team program.
LBPD will be hiring five full-time park rangers and many part-time personnel to patrol beaches and parks. These rangers will receive three months of training and will be authorized to issue citations. More to come on this program in a future recap.