Dissenters Disregarded in Negotiations Over Historic Preservation Rules


I have lived in Laguna since 1959. At 10 years of age, the realization that this is where I want to live is absolute. Fast forward to 1979, and I have a wife and we prepare ourselves to start a family by buying a house.

Since 1979 there have been many changes to living in Laguna, but one thing continues: 409 Locust St. is our home, not an object. An important distinction must be made between what is an object for visual entertainment and a home, where we have reared our children, participated in a multitude of repairs, engaged the community, and loved every day we have lived here.

We committed to living in the community, and participating in many ways to support the community. We made a commitment to Laguna. With the changes have come the challenges for the city government as well. How to satisfy the residents’ interests while maintaining an inviting attitude for tourists and the businesses that accommodate them is a balancing act. How to sustain the success of this town is to attempt to balance residents’ satisfaction with the realities of tourism. It is difficult, indeed.

Enter the 1981 Historic Inventory List. The interest to preserve and protect period-architectural styles in Laguna is a worthy cause to pursue. I do feel, however, that the approach by the city has, for the most part, been one sided. Yes, there have been workshops to discuss concerns and suggestions, but for the most part these attempts to find a middle ground have failed. Each of the meetings that I have attended has ended in the residents’ concerns being passed over. If you feel that continuity in the relationships between the city and its residents is important, then it is incumbent on the city to not give lip-service to having discussions, but to create workshops that focus on truly having a dialog. I have not felt that there is a sincere concern for those who disagree with the process as it has been presented thus far.

There are many of us on the list who prefer not to be. It is painful to see our local government dictating to the homeowner such a proposal. This does not help create continuity in the community; it creates resentment by us.

I implore you: do not go in the direction of creating more fragmentation in Laguna by forcing those of us who do not agree with your proposal to be placed on this list that is by mandate. Making this a mandate, and not voluntary, is wrong.

Pat Sparkuhl, Laguna Beach

Originally published in The Indy, June 23, 2017

Leave a Reply