I own and live at 433 Locust Street. I bought my home in 1979. I am also listed on the Laguna Historic Inventory as a “K”.
The historic inventory arbitrarily takes away the rights of the property owner. Most citizens do not know the inventory exists. They do not know that there are additional committees with costly fees to battle before a historic homeowner can go to design review. Costs that would not occur in a normal design review hearing.
Every time there has been a possible opt-out from the inventory I have responded with my desire to be removed and the reasons for the removal. To date I have received no reply and my property is still on the inventory. These actions have been necessary because the City of Laguna Beach has ignored then-Mayor Bob Gentry’s promise at a City Council meeting that inclusion on the Historic Inventory would be voluntary. After 30 years, how can the city change the rules and severely impact my future? The city should ask the historic homeowners’ consent to be placed on the inventory.
For me the worst consequence of inclusion in the inventory is the financial impact. I bought my home with an eye to using it as my retirement nest egg.
Now I am at the age I would like to access my home’s value it has become worth substantially less because it is considered historic by the City.
The inclusion on the inventory impacts a selective few. There are too few owners on the inventory to fight the city. The last statement may not remain true. The city wants to include more properties as they age. You, as a homeowner, may become another hostage of the Historic Inventory.
What did we do that makes it fair for the city to put historic homeowners (not everyone in Laguna) in financial hardship. As historic homeowners it is demanded of us that we keep our properties as they were so they can be viewed by others as historic. The Mills Act has been offered as compensation. This act is useless to long term homeowners.
Please defend the rights of all Laguna citizens.
Please write the City Council and ask them to make the Historic Inventory voluntary. Remember, sometime you may be next.
Susan Maloney, Laguna Beach
Originally published in The Indy, October 5, 2017