CITY COUNCIL MEETING RECAP — 3/15/2022
Employees’ Years Of Service Recognized
George Weiss: As part of the new employee recognition program, the City Council has recognized and celebrated those full-time employees who have reached a milestone. Ten employees were recognized for achieving one year of service while seven others reached the five-year milestone. An additional two employees celebrated twenty years of service. A special thanks to these dedicated employees for helping make Laguna Beach a better place to live and work. I wish them all the best in their careers and in service to our town.
Consent Items Explained
George Weiss: These are agenda items typically submitted by City Staff and are automatically approved if not pulled (selected) for discussion by the City Council. A Council member or resident can select any item when the Mayor announces this at the start of the City Council meeting. The Council must discuss and vote on it and allow comments from the public. The items are posted on the City’s website and can range from Art And Cultural events to setting a public hearing for a weed abatement program. Typically, two or three items are pulled and discussed during each City Council meeting.
Live Meetings For City Council, City Commissions, Committees, Boards To Return To City Hall – Passes 5-0
George Weiss: The City Council agreed that effective April 15, all meetings of the above bodies will be held in person, with meetings also again open for public attendance. Zoom will still be used for residents and City Staff not directly involved in an agenda item.
Senate Bill 9 – Ordinance Regulating Single-Family
And Duplex Residence Developments Passes 5-0
Summary: This State bill signed into law by the Governor requires that proposed housing developments of no more than two units within a single-family residential zone will now be considered by administrators, without discretionary review or hearing. The proposed housing must meet certain requirements, including that it must not require the demolition or alteration of housing that restricts affordable rent for moderate-to-very-low-income tenants. The proposed housing development must not include the demolition of more than 25% of any existing exterior structural walls. Also, it must not be located within a historic district, on the State Historic Resources Inventory, or within a site that is legally designated as a city or county landmark, historic property or district.
George Weiss: SB 9 allows a single-family lot to be converted into two separate parcels, allowing for the construction of two homes where there was one and, in some cases, a third home if space allows. All of this is exempt from the Design Review process. SB 9 provides limited guidance and development standards, so local agencies can only impose objective and necessary restrictions to protect public health and safety. The Community Development Dept. has set standards by imposing some parking requirements, size minimums and limits, and eight other measures.
Read the Staff report here:
To read the SB 9 bill, see:
Pension Obligation Bonds Presentation And Feasibilities Discussed – Potential Issuance Recommendations Pass 5-0
George Weiss: The City has a pension liability of $51,000,000 dollars to CalPERS for employee retirement benefits. We are not alone, as most cities have much higher pension liabilities. We pay CalPERS 6.8% on the monies we owe. Many others cities like ours are looking into reducing their costs through the purchase of Pension Obligation Bonds. With low interest rates, we have a good chance of saving millions over time – assuming certain economic conditions apply. At this point, the City Council has agreed to take the first step towards this goal, which involves a Court Validation Proceeding that takes six months. At that time, the Council will review the next steps.
To review the Staff report visit:
For public comments, see:
City’s 2020-21 Budget Revisions,
2021-2022 Budget And Mid-Year Budget Modifications Approved 5-0
George Weiss: The City has a budget surplus of $6,949,000, which was allocated to approximately 46-line items. For example, the City transferred $4,000,000 of the surplus to a “Reserve fund for future City facilities that are unfunded.” The City will use this money to buy a site, a building or to refurbish existing facilities. Other funds ($300,000) were allocated for the purchase of open space, thus increasing that line item’s total allocation to $472,000. I suggest any interested resident read the report for more detailed information. It’s important to know and surprising to see exactly how our tax dollars are being spent.
To read the Staff report, see:
For public comments, visit:
California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) Training Discussed
George Weiss: Councilwoman Toni Iseman suggested that the City Council and all Council, Design Review Board and Planning Commission members receive CEQA training to assist in making decisions on projects and environment-related issues brought before them. The Council directed Staff to consider some options to be presented at a future meeting.
Climate Change Resolution
George Weiss: The last revision or the City’s Climate Action Plan took place years ago, and while we have made some progress, not enough has been done to reduce the City’s carbon output.
We see today what reliance on oil brings when there is political upheaval, including high prices for vehicle fuels, natural gas and electricity produced by gas.
We also face numerous challenges with higher temperatures, lower precipitation, and documented sea level rises which create the conditions for catastrophic events. We need to do our part and by electrifying as much as possible. By using electricity generated by renewables, we can approach a zero carbon future.
The City Council directed Bob Whalen and me to work on simplifying the Climate Change Resolution I brought forward and making it easier to understand. While the resolution does not require ANY action by the City, it will help guide further action on a revised climate change plan.
Read the draft resolution at:
For public comments, see:
Circus Bella, Luce Puppet Company To Perform – Lee Rocker Concert To Celebrate 90th Anniversary Of The Festival Of Arts
George Weiss: Last year, Circus Bella, a small band of circus performers (without animals) gave two performances at Bluebird Park. The shows were enjoyed by kids of all ages. Circus Bella comes back to Bluebird Park on Saturday, June 18. Time to be announced.
I also recommend attending the Luce Puppet Company Shows, which are scheduled for Sunday, June 12, and November 20, at 11:00 a.m. and 1:00 p.m. at Heisler Park.
Finally, a celebration of the Festival of Arts 90th Anniversary featuring the internationally known musician and former Stay Cats bassist Lee Rocker will be held at the Festival Of Arts on August 13.
Scheduled time to be mentioned in a future recap.
To read the Staff report, go to: