By BARBARA DIAMOND
The Historic Preservation Ordinance hearing has been moved again, this time to 1 p.m., Saturday, Sept 29, to avoid conflict with Yom Kippur.
City Manager John Pietig was directed at Tuesday’s council meeting to find a date with no conflicts between Sept 18 and Oct 30.
“The conflict was brought to our attention a couple of days earlier,” said Community Development Director Greg Pfost on Thursday. “When we scheduled the date we were not thinking of Yom Kippur.”
However, on Tuesday, Village Laguna President Johanna Felder raised the issue during the Public Comment Period of the council meeting.
She said the attorney hired by the Laguna Beach Preservation Coalition could not attend because of Yom Kippur.
Mayor Kelly Boyd said he had checked with Councilman Steve Dicterow, a practicing Jew, if the hearing would be problem.
Dicterow said he had checked with his rabbi and was told that civic duty took priority over the holiday.
“I think there would definitely be mixed responses from the rabbis in the area,” said Councilwoman Toni Iseman on Thursday.
Felder noted that the meeting date had been changed from the original date of Sept 11th to the 18th at the request of Boyd, because he was scheduled for a medical procedure and would not be available on the earlier date.
Pietig said the council would have a good couple of hours on the 18th to conduct the hearing before Yom Kippur began that evening and recommended sticking to the schedule.
He said staff had done everything it could to accommodate the community and the people on the Preservation Ordinance Task Force, who could not move forward until the council gave them direction. Putting off the hearing delayed any task force action.
“This is not in the spirit of Laguna Beach,” said Iseman. “I feel it discriminates against an element of the community.”
Pietig took exception to Iseman’s comment.
“I resent the implication,” he said. “That was not our intent.”
Iseman said that is how it is perceived and a new date should be selected, which Council voted 5-0 on. She suggested moving it to Oct 30.
Pietig was able to come up with a date a month earlier.
The hearing will be broadcast live and streamed online on Saturday, Sept 29 at 1 p.m. at www.lagunabeachcity.net.
Originally published in The Indy on July 19, 2018