Laguna Beach City Council
CITY COUNCIL MEETING RECAP — 7/12/2022
Temple Hills Traffic Speed Reduction Measures To Be Recommended
– Passes 5-0
George Weiss: The Committee’s fourth recommendation concerned traffic calming measures on Temple Hills Drive. Testimony from a resident related that during the period of 2010-2015, four accidents were reported along this roadway. During the period of 2016-2020, the number of accidents increased to 24 – a 500% increase.
The traffic calming measures being proposed include orange or red transverse edge line pavement markings along sections of the roadway and installing signs saying “Watch Downhill Speed”. These recommendations were proposed by Public Works selecting widely adopted practices to promote traffic calming. The downhill “Watch Your Speed” signs will be installed. The Council agreed to the recommended measures, specifying that Public Works report back on their efficacy.
Meeting Set To Discuss Possible City Council Opposition To Laguna Residents First Ballot Initiative Passes 3-2
George Weiss: Certain members of the City Council want the Council to officially oppose the Laguna Residents First ballot initiative, and this ordinance was one of the actions they wanted to take. Unfortunately, the opposition was so ill-prepared that Mayor Kempf, prior to discussing it, said she wanted to withdraw it and schedule a separate July 26 meeting to be devoted entirely to this subject.
Some of the high points of the recommendations were:
Buildings along Coast Highway could be 125 feet long, but must appear from the street frontage to be smaller distinct buildings to avoid looking like a single large project. A picture of such a project which was rejected by the City of Carmel was shown as an example.
A conceptual review by the Planning Commission would be required prior to submitting a full application.
Courtyards, intra-block walkways and other open space features would be required to occupy a minimum of 10% of the lot.
Lot combinations of 15,000 sq. ft. and larger would be allowed. The subtext is that buildings could be torn down and replaced with new, bigger ones – emphasizing new construction instead of the renewal and reuse of historic buildings. In many of these instances, new construction would probably be at the maximum 36 ft. height limit.
Improvements would be required to the public right-of-way along all street frontages. There would be no limit on building sizes along Coast Highway.
Projects must incorporate environmental sustainability features.
Rooftop dining would seem to be allowed everywhere and exempt from building height limits. This would be a gift for all landlords who would be given another business serving floor while also blocking views and degrading the architectural compatibility of the town.
Further Review For A
30802 South Coast Highway
Public Parking Lot Passes 3-2
George Weiss: The City negotiated a three-year lease for this lot from Hometown America Communities (formerly part of Treasure Island Mobile Parks) for what seems like a very good monthly rental rate. The lot is just south of Ruby’s Diner and almost adjacent to the Gelson’s/CVS shopping center. A total of fifty-two public parking spaces would be provided at a fee of $2.75 per hour during the summer and $2.50 in the offseason with a three-hour limit. Resident parking stickers would be honored.
While it would seem that most of the use will be for visitors wanting to use Victoria Beach and Montage beaches, I believe residents will also benefit from using this lot to access these beaches.
I supported the project in session until residents nearby testified that they had not been noticed about this project’s hearing. City Staff insisted that proper noticing was provided, but upon review after the meeting, it was determined that the noticing was inadequate. We need better quality control checks on noticing. Since then, the City has agreed to send out the proper noticing and bring the item back for discussion at a future City
Councilman Weiss Questions Low Cost Leasing Of 136 Public Parking Spaces To Private Landlords And Business Owners
George Weiss: Over the years, the City has leased 136 public parking lot spaces in and near Downtown to private parties for $55 and $75 a month. The average cost is $720 per year or so. In comparison, the average revenue per parking space for Downtown lots is $4,200 a year.
I asked for documents showing under whose authority these spaces was being leased, how the process worked, who qualified and who would be lucky enough to secure a monthly space at this exceptionally low cost. There are many hundreds of people working downtown who do not even know about this unpublished program.
The only documentation I received was an April 6, 2004, document which stated, “This permit allows owners and employees of businesses in town to park at meters on the edge of downtown for $180.00 per year.” I have not received a list of those allowed to use peripheral meters and suspect no one is keeping one. There is no mention of any monthly permits being allowed at Mermaid, the Lumberyard, or Alice Court.
At the meeting, I asked Mayor Kempf and Mayor Pro-Tem Bob Whalen to establish a policy for this as part of the Master Parking and Circulation Plan, which they are bringing forth this fall.
The current unauthorized policy is another example of the City gifting public funds to private parties. This must stop and should be rescinded.