Locals gather at Let Laguna Live! rally on Friday

On Friday afternoon, June 15, local residents gathered together at 410 Broadway Street to enjoy tacos and refreshments at a rally and information session to support voluntary, incentive-based historic preservation. The gathering was sponsored by Let Laguna Live! and proceeds from the event will be used to support the group’s ongoing educational efforts. Photo by…

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Let Laguna Live

By Michael Ray Almost everyone already knows about the horrors of the city’s Design Review Board. That is because anyone who has gone through it hates it with a vengeance, and they have good reason. That reason: to get a permit to build or remodel anything, you must endure the DRB and you discover one…

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Historic Preservation Task Force Letters

We are asking for our collective voices to be heard now when appointing the new Historic Preservation Task Force committee. To have the new Task Force made up of any past or present Laguna Beach City Council members or city staff, Design Review Board members, Heritage Committee and Planning Commission members would be to set…

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Historic Ordinance Preservation Task Force Applications

At the January 23, 2018 City Council meeting (video found here) the council voted to form a Historic Preservation Ordinance Task Force which will attempt to reach consensus on the Historic Preservation Ordinance and provide recommendations back to the City Council. The task force will consist of nine members of the public selected by City Council…

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Preservation Ordinance Should be Put to a Citywide Vote

Editor, After attending the special City Council meeting on Saturday, Dec. 16, I came away thinking, do the residents and property owners of Laguna Beach ready need “this?” Only one of my 11 North Laguna neighbors, who I met as I took a morning walk, thinks it’s a good idea. The other 10 gave it…

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Historic Preservation Ordinance Letter to City Council

VIA ELECTRONIC AND FIRST CLASS MAIL Kelly Boyd, Mayor Rob Zur Schmiede, Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow, Councilmember Toni Iseman, Councilmember Bob Whalen, Councilmember Re: Historic Preservation Ordinance Dear Mayor Boyd and Council Members: Recent discussions of the revisions to the Historic Preservation Ordinance have generated much discussion of General Plan and CEQA mandates. Some…

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Another Go-round on Preservation Rules

A yet-to-be assembled task force will tackle fine-tuning of proposed revisions to the city’s historic preservation ordinance, the Laguna Beach City Council decided at a packed special workshop. Establishing a planning process for owners of historic property to make changes to their homes remains the biggest unresolved hurdle to a rewrite of the city’s historic…

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Reject Overly Complex Historic Preservation Rules

Editor, I read with interest the letter to the editor of Doug Cortez. Together with his comments at the Dec. 16 City Council meetings, facts become clear. First, the historical ordinance is an option not a mandate. The ordinance under consideration is egregious and costly, especially when thousands of Laguna Beach residents awake to find…

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Successful Historic Preservation Workshop

Congratulations to the Staff, Council, and Public for their participation in a successful Historic Workshop held Saturday, December 16th. It was truly the first meeting on this issue where I felt the interests of all concerned were heard and addressed. The upshot of the meeting was an agreement by the Council to form a Task…

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Council Should Reject Historical Preservation Ordinance

Editor, Please attend the 9 a.m. Dec. 16 City Council meeting. The Planning Commission ordinance revisions expands the definition of a “historical resource” under the CEQA law. Hundreds of homes in Laguna will become subject to time-consuming historical reviews at the owner’s expense. CEQA grants each city the discretion to enact, or not, an historical…

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Planners Endorse Revisions to Historic Preservation Rules

Faced with a loud overflow crowd this past Wednesday, Laguna Beach planning commissioners voted 4-1 to recommend revisions of the city’s historic preservation ordinance to the City Council. Commissioner Sue Kempf cast the dissenting vote. Several outbursts from the public prompted commissioners to warn they would end discussion on the ordinance if members of the…

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Amid arguments, Laguna’s historic preservation ordinance moves to the City Council

Despite repeated calls from residents to reject the latest version of proposed changes to Laguna Beach’s historic preservation ordinance, the Planning Commission on Wednesday decided it was time for the City Council to review the matter. In a 4-1 vote, with Commissioner Sue Kempf dissenting, commissioners recommended proposed ordinance changes such as eliminating the city’s…

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Cottage Owners Wait in Historic Preservation Limbo

As if mourning a death, Elisa Slee can only sob her sentences. “I thought I was making an heirloom for my children and I was going to breathe 100 new years into this cottage, and it was going to be something my children would go to forever,” Slee said, catching her breath between tears. “But…

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Comparison Shows an Outdated Historical Ordinance

Over the years many Lagunans have been critical of Laguna’s historical preservation program. On Oct. 18 the Planning Commission will try again to draft a revised ordinance. But there seems to be confusion and a lack of clear direction. I called the historical preservation planners in Santa Barbara, Palm Springs, Pasadena, Fullerton and Orange. It…

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You, Too, May Become a Historic Home Inventory Hostage

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…

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Letter to Laguna Beach Planning Commission Requesting Continuance and Subcommittee

Let Laguna Live! August 30, 2017 To: Honorable Chairperson Whitin and Distinguished Members of the Laguna Beach Planning Commission “Let Laguna Live!” believes that Staff failed to incorporate the specific direction of the Commission into the most recent draft of the proposed ordinance. While the draft seems to eliminate references to the inventory by name,…

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Old Letter Reflects Original Intent of Historical Preservation Rules

In a letter I found in my files dated April 24, 1992, on city stationary sent to me, I was informed my home had been listed on the city’s Historic Resources Inventory. In the second paragraph of the letter there is the statement “that participation in the city’s Historic Preservation Program is completely voluntary.” Former…

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Hardships for Homeowners Under Proposed Preservation Rules

A new involuntary historic preservation ordinance would create for us a financial disaster. After a lifetime of voluntarily preserving a 1927 cottage, an involuntary ordinance would create a markdown of at least at $1 million. This is in terms of property value for resale and does not include the additional and impossible burden of trying…

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