Letters to City Council

The letters below were sent to help convince the Laguna Beach City Council that the City is not required to have a mandatory ordinance and residents overwhelmingly support voluntary historic preservation. Learn more about the Special City Council Meeting here.



Property Rights, YES. Freedom to Choose, YES. Freedom to opt on or opt off of your “historic” property list. To be on the historic list must be purely voluntary on the part of the property owner. Furthermore, the owner must not be hampered or stopped from taking the property off the historic list. We demand the maximum degree of freedom to choose! Sincerely,  P. J. Angus



I want to voice my concern of the current handling of the historic properties in Laguna. I have read the code on the CEQA website and feel that it is not accurately represented by the city of Laguna Beach, but rather being used as an excuse to take away homeowner’s property rights. The recent advertisement by Village Laguna (and it was an advertisement although not clearly stated other than the small “paid for” print in the lower right hand corner) in the Independent twisted the facts. I know because I have been speaking to folks in Sacramento, researching other cities within Orange County with very successful historical programs, and have become very familiar with the CEQA code.

I grew up in Laguna and went to medical school to become an Emergency Medicine Physician. In the process I founded a company that now has 9 locations in Los Angeles with 8 more coming in the next year. I decided -regardless of the impact for me personally from my business – I wanted to raise my children (3 and 5 yrs old) in Laguna so they could feel the connection of a small town community. I moved home with my family and purchased a house last year to create a home I plan to grow old in. I have been in the process of trying to add rooms for the children, a playroom and a garage (for my electric car that takes me back and forth to Los Angeles). I have been at it for a year and have spent a lot of money only to be given the runaround, forced to pay for a historian that I could not choose (close to $5000), which feels like a huge conflict of interest, and been sent around and around with nothing but No’s. I have not received a single incentive in the process for having a historic home (nor had any prior owners). Nothing, no help at all in the building process. The historian provided a report (which has easily verified incorrect facts about the surrounding properties in the first paragraph) that kills the entire project with no dialogue. This is what I get for $5,000? I am not interested in why I can not do the project. I want advice on how to do the project and protect the historic nature as much as possible. The kids cannot sleep in the backyard because a historian I was forced to hire thinks it will take away from the house to interfere with a parapet. In no way has the city represented the spirit I would expect to be helpful to homeowners. I paid close to $3M dollars for my property and it currently does not have rooms for my children. This is an issue and No is not helpful. Now having to retain council both locally and in San Fransisco I plan to see this through, but how much time and money will be wasted? At the end of the day I am just one of many many people who are suffering through the same experiences and it is giving our town a horrible reputation.

It has come across loud and clear that there needs to be big change within the city because there seems to be a select few making all the decisions. I pay a lot in property taxes and instead of having a city that supports me creating a home for my family I have one that spends $1.2M on rehabbing a waste management building and forcing us to lose over 100 parking spots. One that allows the homeless to intimidate my children and make us uncomfortable on the play ground at Main Beach. Low end stores that not even the tourists want to frequent anymore (not that they could find a parking spot). How does any of this help me or my family? How is this putting residents first? How many people sit on these councils with young children who can reflect the needs of our families? I have many friends that have begun the migration to OC from Los Angeles to raise their families. I will tell you they avoid Laguna like the plague because word on the street is it takes a year to get an AC unit approved or replace a window. If for no other reason than people’s desire to have their own home prices maintained, I am shocked that this would be allowed to continue. As public servants if you can’t look out for us at least look out for yourselves. The abandoned movie theater and Jonny Rockets downtown (covered in urine form the homeless the police are forced to pretend they don’t see) don’t exactly scream “adorable historic beachside town”. But who in their right mind would take on a project on either of those sites given not just the lack of support from the city but what at times can feel like your city wants you to fail? What is the point of all of this? Is the city trying to make money off of homeowners? Create more jobs at the city? How is any of this working towards building a community that will be strong into the future? We want to attract young families that will support our schools and our businesses, but no one wants to share a bedroom and bathroom with their children so they are all moving to surrounding cities. They have no other choice. Are you trying to turn Laguna into a retirement community? If so you should let people know.

The bottom line is I feel shame and embarrassment at the way the city is currently run. Every PTA meeting and soccer game is full of war stories that make Laguna known as one of the least friendly cities you can move to. I would never tell anyone I care about (or even like) to move here in the current state of affairs. The city has way overstepped and is currently coming off as self-serving and corrupt. As an El Morro mother and active member of the PTA, Girls Scout troop leader, AYSO member, etc, I am making every effort to let every family I come into contact know the days of having faith in the process are over and they need to be aware and find out the facts. To read the CEQA site themselves and understand the relationship of special interest groups who hold majorities on the majority of our over-site councils and what agenda they are pushing. To understand how all of this is going to drive down our housing prices and eventually push out the few businesses that residents want. On the current trajectory I don’t see a lot of success in Laguna’s future unless BIG changes are made.

See you on Saturday. Sincerely, Cherlin Kirby



I am writing this letter in support of the rights and freedoms of the home owners of Laguna Beach. I have lived in Laguna since I was born, 68 years ago. I have seen more changes than most of the Council members except Kelly Boyd. You might say I have a vested interest in the outcome of your decision.

I don’t believe anyone should be held hostage because they were arbitrarily put on a historical preservation list, without knowing or without their permission. This is only serving the people that want to control others peoples homes because of it’s age or the charm of Laguna. That’s a pretty broad statement. It is unfair that it was left up to the discretion of one person or persons making the list. Unlucky for the home owners that find themselves on C, K or E list. That their home now has to follow guidlines that aren’t imposed on other property owners living in Laguna.

The red tape that these home owners and voters have to go through when they fined their homes on the historical preservation list is appalling. Your making these people victims of this unjust system.

On the other hand you let have let people build houses that take up our hillsides. One thats almost a block long.
What about equal right for all the people of Laguna. Why don’t you put control on size too?

I believe that Laguna Beach should protect home owners rights by interpreting CEQA state guidelines to mean that restrictions only apply to properties that appear on the state or national registry or are voluntarily added by the property owners to a local registry. The City Council can start serving these home owners with legal discretion to implement a historical preservation program that gives homers the maximum degree of freedom to choose, if or how they want to participate in historic preservation.

I believe that the home owners that find their houses on the historical preservation list and are allowed to be taken off the list. Love Laguna as much as you do. If they can afford to live here and get what’s Laguna is all about they will build something that will pleasing to look at. The Design Review Board will see to that!

This world is changing the next generation is going to have their own ideas. Let Laguna Live now and the years to come! Nothing is forever the people that our fighting so hard to hold on to past are the next to go. That includes me. Let the property owners have the right to build what they want. While they can still enjoy it with their family ! This does’ t have to be so difficult ! Sincerely Patricia Tartaglia-Mars



I have been a resident of Laguna since 1963. Like many, I was attracted by the beautiful beaches and coastline, the charming and eclectic neighborhoods, and also, the social freedom that embraced artists, gays and other outliers of society.
Unfortunately, Laguna no longer represents the freedom that I found so attractive. The city has become a quagmire of rules and regulations at the expense of our resident’s freedom and rights. The Historic Preservation Ordinance is symbolic of this, resulting in resentment and for many, financial harm.
There is now, with the consideration of a historic preservation program as the focus, a chance of redemption. I urge that you consider an entirely voluntary historic preservation program for Laguna Beach, a program that promotes and encourages historic preservation, all the while respecting property rights.
Many California cities do not have historic preservation ordinances; in fact, CEQA does not require that we have an ordinance. The State Historian Ron Paulsen goes further, in saying we aren’t required to have a historic inventory or registration. Past Mayor, Bob Gentry, who was present at the initial drafting of the historical ordinance, suggested the ordinance be returned to the city planners “with the instructions that private property placed on the list is done at the pleasure of the property owner, not the city”. He clearly recognized the importance of historical preservation, but also recognized that homeowner participation be entirely voluntary.
Some are now claiming that historical preservation has always been voluntary. To be clear, it is voluntary for you to apply for your home to be included on the Historic Register and if your home qualifies, to apply for the Mills Act.
It is not voluntary when your home is 50 or more years old and, without your consent, you’re placed on a subjectively rated list as a historic resource, resulting in costly reviews for the simplest of repairs. The separate and unequal treatment that homeowners have received is wrong.
More lawyers are getting involved, most recently, Ms. Rosenthal, who, in defense of the current program, suggests we not get rid of things “willy-nilly”. At the first meeting of the Task Force it was suggested by Councilman Steve Dicterow that they (the task force) “start at zero, imagine no ordinance”; what are we required to do, what does Law require? No one is suggesting we get rid of things “willy nilly”, per Ms. Rosenthal. However, the ordinance we have has pitted the City staff against residents and isn’t working. Why build on that? Instead, this should be a new beginning, a chance to recognize there are better ways to encourage and do historic preservation. I support a preservation program like Anaheim’s which emphasizes a “Freedom First” approach, a successful historic preservation program that is entirely voluntary.
Council Members, you have the legal discretion to act in support of a historical preservation program that respects property rights and gives Laguna homeowners the freedom to choose how they will participate.  Respectfully, Patricia Carpenter North Laguna



My wife and I represent four generations of Laguna residents that love our City, support many initiatives and local businesses, and appreciate that visitors help keep our local business healthy during the tourist season, in spite of the crowds and traffic issues. My wife has worked for the school district for two decades and knows many local residents and their kids and I have hired many Laguna locals to work with me in Irvine. We are very pro-Laguna but have a strong concern regarding the Historical Preservation issue you are facing.

We strongly encourage you to respect Laguna property owner’s rights and implement a historic preservation program that gives homeowners the right to choose, if or how they want to participate in historic preservation. We firmly believe that restrictions should only apply to properties that appear on the state or national registries or are voluntarily added by property owners to a local registry. We understand that this approach has resulted in many successful historic preservation programs in California without sacrificing property owner rights.

As an aside, I’d also like to point out that anyone interested in securing a building permit to upgrade or modify their existing residence today, generally needs to go through a very arduous, time consuming, expensive and sometimes emotionally-draining process as it stands. I can tell you from experience it is very painful. I can’t imagine this process getting worse.

Respectfully Submitted, Dave Bryant



I purchased my home at 18 S. Stonington Road in 1971. It was built in 1946 and is a square stucco home. In no way would it be considered historical and it would be ridiculous to be listed as one.

I’m sure there are many others in this same situation. Please make this choice voluntary. Donnie Tysonl



As a home owner in Laguna Beach, my property rights are important, especially in regards to historic preservation. I am opposed to the pending decision whereby property rights would be eliminated by using state guidelines as justification to impose additional, unnecessary historic preservation regulations.
I believe strongly that the City should have voluntary, incentive based historic preservation. Thank you for your serious consideration of this important matter. Sincerely, Morton La Kretz



I am Randall L. Miller, Senior Master Sargent, U.S. Air Force/ret.
I have been home owner at 555 Through Street, Laguna Beach, for 50 years this month.
I DO NOT desire, anyone, to direct/tell, me what I can/can not, do with my property.
I oppose the Historic Home, motion/option 100 percent!!!
Signed Randall L Miller



My wife Judi and I, Luck Patterson, live in Woods Cove in a class “C” home. Class “C” because it has no particular notoriety, it is simply old.
I cannot believe the City Council is still trying to force us onto an historic listing against our will, in what appears to me to be an unlawful taking of our property and property rights. I have been to numerous City Council and Historic Preservation Committee meetings in which the citizens of Laguna were invited to put in their two minutes’ worth. The line-ups for the mike were always lengthy, and virtually EVERY PERSON was AGAINST a MANDATORY listing of their homes as historic, and FOR a VOLUNTARY, INCENTIVE-BASED listing.
So just who does our City Council represent? The citizens unaffected by the proposed ordinance, who never show up to take the mike? If everyone who owns these old homes is against this unnecessary mandatory listing, why oh why is it still an issue?
DON’T DE-VALUE OUR HOME!!! Luck Patterson



Property owners should have to petition the City to have their house on the Historical Inventory!
The City should paid to have the property evaluated as to it’s historical value!
The City has the discretion to to make it a burden or a asset to have your house on the Historical Inventory.
Please take the time to read the City of Anaheim’s Historical Preservation Program! Totally voluntary!

Personally ,I think that it’s morally wrong to force property owners to have to deal with CEQA . After reading the E-mail from California State Historian ,Ron Parsons “ there is no legal requirement that a city have a registration program or an Inventory “.
Yesterday I was at the LB Community Center for the 10 anniversary!
The center is the best thing the city has achieved since the creation of Main Beach. Three “historical structures”were moved to the Canyon to rot!
A shame but best for the community.

The city should make an effort to let homeowners incorporate existing older structures into a livable modern home fit for a family!The city should “bend over backwards “ to help owners ! Not make it a nightmare.

When you sit in the Council Chambers remember this should be a plus for the homeowners not a burden. Thank you Patrick W. Gallis



Please don’t decide that my home is Historical based on an arbitrary date.

Curtiss Alderson



We are unable to attend the Special City Council Meeting concerning the historical preservation program. But, we are asking the City Council to do everything in their power to support our right.to choose if we want our property added to a local registry.

Regards, Vicki Hutter and Christi Briscoe.



As a Laguna Beach resident of 37 years and the owner of my “old” Laguna Beach home for 36 of those years, I am writing to urge that the inclusion of Laguna Beach residential property on any historic list, inventory or registry be voluntary, not mandatory.

In the interest of brevity, I will not repeat here the many cogent reasons previously presented to you for maintaining a voluntary and incentivized preservation ordinance, but I know I am not alone in fearing that to do otherwise would impose very considerable, undue and unfair hardships on a great many property owners in Laguna Beach.

Thank you for your consideration. June Jerome



I urge you to please adopt a strictly voluntary historical ordinance for Laguna Beach. The continued erosion of property rights for residents of Laguna Beach has to stop. The expensive and arbitrary nature of the current historic review process for remodels of homes in Laguna has to stop.

On September 29th I ask that you please exercise the legal discretion you have available to you as city council members to implement a historical preservation program that gives property owners the maximum degree of freedom to choose if they wish to participate in historic preservation for their homes. Anything short of a strictly voluntary ordinance is a taking of homeowner’s property rights and will undoubtedly result in costly litigation for the City and unnecessary spending of taxpayer dollars. Please do the right thing.

Thank you for your consideration, Jennifer Welsh Zeiter, Law Offices of Jennifer W. Zeiter



This is to urge you to supporter a voluntary Historical Preservation Program. Having studied the issue to the best of my ability, it appears that neither CEQA nor the Costal Act require that Laguna Beach adopt a mandatory ordinance. It seems very telling that a substantial amount of California cities have not enacted Historical Preservation Programs and they do not appear to be out of compliance. Laguna Beach has a very effective Design Review Committee that can review and control the issues that may be of concern regarding unique housing. To enact a mandatory Historical Preservation Program would impose an unwarranted burden on many homeowners and risk litigation. – Betty Haight



Please allow any and all property owners in this town, whether on the present Historical Designation list or may be subject to any Historical determination, be allowed to volunteer to place their property on that list. This conflict could be resolved simply by allowing voting citizens to determine the outcome with this matter being placed on the ballot. Thank you. Jim Gothard, resident and property owner.



It is my understanding that at your next City Council Meeting (July 31st) you will be deciding whether Laguna Beach home and property owners have the right to voluntarily choose whether or not their property will be subject to historic preservation. I would like to see the council continue the practice of making participation in the historic preservation program voluntary and incentive based. Future efforts should focus on education of property owners regarding the historic preservation program and the benefits/incentives that participation in the program offers.

Mandatory participation in the historic preservation program did not exist when I purchased my property and was thus not a condition I was informed about when I purchased my older Laguna Beach home over 20 years ago. Implementing and enforcing this a new requirement at the point in my life with my approaching retirement would create a hardship for me when/if repairs are needed and seems unfair. Even the survey required to establish whether or not my home is of historic interest is costly regardless of the outcome. Additionally this new requirement may adversely impact any future sale of my home.

I wanted to communicates my thoughts and wishes on this matter since I will not be in town at the time that the upcoming meeting occurs. Thank-you for your consideration. – Wendy



The Laguna Beach planning staff, the Village Laguna, and the City Attorney have been pushing the Planning Commission and now the City Council to create a severely restrictive historic ordinance that will reduce property values and create an abusive burden on any owner of a property on the list.

Any ordinance should be voluntary only except in the case of registered buildings
Design review already protects from mansionization

The Laguna Beach City Attorney has portrayed CEQA incorrectly and unfairly
Sincerely, Russell Fluter



I would like to briefly express my opposition to a mandatory historic ordinance in Laguna Beach. I fully support preservation where realistic, and that is why I support a voluntary ordinance that provides positive incentives but does not punish homeowners.

My reasons are:
First, there are many committees, rules, and systems in place to allow the city to provide guidance where needed. Why add another rule that simply punishes owners of older homes and benefits those who chose to build new in the past few dozen years.
Second, Laguna has always been a creative, open community. Putting absolute restrictions on what one can do with a home goes against the progressive mindset of our community. We should be supporting creativity in this town, not mandatory rules.
Finally, a non voluntary ordinance is a burden for many owners of older homes. Obviously I am an owner of one of these homes, and it is a clear financial burden for someone who has lived in Laguna and helped build the community into what it is. Renovations would become a significant burden for many people.

Again, I do support a voluntary ordinance that allows benefits for those who choose, but a mandatory ordinance goes against everything I know about Laguna as a progressive and open town.

I look forward to hearing about a positive decision supporting a voluntary ordinance next week. Respectfully, Robert Otis



I have lived in an E rated historic home for the past 22 years. I greatly appreciate my home and its history but I do not support a mandatory non voluntary historic ordinance which this city, in my 40 years of being here, has never allowed or even considered. Having lived in and currently reviewed other historically populated cities within California and current law, I have never seen this time consuming and expensive non voluntary approach even attempted. I have been blessed to live in other historic houses within Laguna Beach and have cherished their historic value but, this involuntary approach is an unnecessary “over reach.” I do support a voluntary historic ordinance as other cities maintain, under the current laws, and we have always had.

Thank you for your valuable time. Robert Boyd



The agenda for the last historic home meeting was to have council explain the basic requirements per CEQA. Council arrived a half hour late and nothing of note was accomplished during her absence. This cut into public comment time. I was unable to make comments due to time.

In council’s first statement, she quoted a paragraph from the CEQA “Bible”, holding it up and reading what the requirements were. However she made an egregious omission, the first sentence, it stated this was VOLUNTARY, changing the entire meaning of the paragraph. I believe this is a violation of the California Government Code, by omission.

During this meeting a council member was upset that the state was forcing the city approve “Granny Flats”. How does she think we feel when we are forced to pay three times what any other home owner would pay to replace windows (that won’t last), garage doors (that have no parts available) or make improvements to make our homes livable. 6L or “C” homes do not receive Mills Act tax incentives. These expenses come out of our pockets.

If the city council is acting in good faith, they should make this incentive based and voluntary. Tell us what type of incentives they are willing to provide for us, to meet your requirements. If none, then allow us to opt out. Just being on the list depreciates the value of our homes.

I love Laguna History and want to save it, but the burdensome requirements have forced my daughter and her family to live elsewhere. Heritage is family and if the family stories leave so does the heritage.

This should be voluntary and incentive based program. Roy Gallagher



I have written you several times before voicing my strong opinion that historic preservation of residences in Laguna Beach should be voluntary and incentive based. Creating a restrictive historic ordinance will place an unreasonable and unwarranted burden on me as a property owner, and reduce property values for all of us in Laguna Beach.

A mandatory ordinance is not required, as is evidenced by many other cities in California. Again, I urge you to support a voluntary, incentive-based program for historic preservation.

Thank you for your serious consideration of this important matter.

Marten La Kretz, Property Owner



I have been talking with some of my neighbors and, considering recent cancelled meeting, am getting concerned. Are you under the impression that there must be an historic preservation ordinance that is mandatory? Are you thinking that you will pass an ordinance with which certain arbitrarily defined property owners must comply?

It seems obvious that a mandatory historic ordinance is not required. Please get back to me and confirm that you know this.

A voluntary ordinance, as has been discussed for many months, is the only viable solution. I trust that this will be the conclusion at the meeting on July 31st. The last thing we need is a protracted legal fight that would be very expensive and divisive, especially if appealed up the line and in the current political environment.

I look forward to your response and seeing you on the 31sr. Thank you for your attention. – David Watkins



Please put it in your guidelines, that unless someone like William Wendt, himself, or one of our city founders, lived in the building, that as most properties are ordinary and shouldn’t be given “historical” (unless the homeowner wants it) because, as I see it, this will cause people to not maintain the buildings due to the hoops that the city will put them through. Besides, in just a few years, the list of 50 year old buildings will be the majority of the whole town, if it isn’t that way already. That would be insane….

We are still dreading and extremely upset about the decision of what you people consider good for the town, the idea of closing off the lower part of Park Avenue from a necessary traffic artery to put in a few tables for the benefit of a very few people vs. extreme inconvenience for the locals. Not one person we have spoken to, who lives in town, thinks that was a good idea. If you are planning on re-running for city council, no more votes for you guys. – The Parks, John and Susan



As a past resident of Laguna Beach for over 25 years and a current property owner I would like to voice my extreme displeasure with the idea of a mandatory historic preservation ordinance. If someone desires to have their property preserved there are already vehicles established within CA to do so. Further, the CEQA makes no mention of a mandatory preservation ordinance let alone requiring one.

That said, I would support any voluntary preservation ordinance but certainly do not want my property placed on a list that could involve subjecting it to any mandatory requirements.

I relish my time spent living in Laguna as do I enjoy visiting now. Laguna Beach has always had an atmosphere of free spirit. Any ordinance of this type could only serve to complicate and squelch that atmosphere.

Thank you for your attention in this matter. Sincerely, Richard Owens



We want a voluntary Historical Preservation Ordinance! We are owners of a nice home on Catalina St. We do not want our home on a list of “eligible historic structures” against our wishes. There are other options for preserving historic structures without making it mandatory. It should be voluntary. We agree that a new “committee” should be chartered with the task of writing a new HP ordinance from scratch, borrowing from other cities best ideas and avoiding their mistakes. – Vicki Hutter and Christi Briscoe



At the City Council Meeting (July 31st) you will be deciding whether Laguna Beach home and property owners have the right to voluntarily choose whether or not their property will be subject to historic preservation. We would like to see the council continue the practice of making participation in the historic preservation program voluntary and incentive based. Future efforts should focus on education of property owners regarding the historic preservation program and the benefits/incentives that participation in the program offers.

Mandatory participation in the historic preservation program did not exist when we purchased our property and was thus not a condition we were informed about when we purchased our Laguna Beach home over 20 years ago. The survey required to establish whether or not our home is of historic interest is costly regardless of the outcome. Additionally this new requirement may adversely impact any future sale of my home.

Laguna Beach has a very effective Design Review Committee that can review and control the issues that may be of concern regarding unique housing. To enact a mandatory Historical Preservation Program would impose an unwarranted burden on many homeowners and risk litigation.

Again, we support a voluntary ordinance that allows benefits for those who choose to participate. Sincerely, Cheryl & Rick Smith



I would like to join the growing chorus of concerned Laguna Beach residents who strongly believe participation in the Historic Preservation Program should be on a volunteer basis only, as it was originally intended to be. Costly and protracted litigation for the city would be the likely result if participation in this program is to be mandated .

Thank you for your time, Sue Shanley-Sfregola, Laguna Beach Homeowner



We live at 500 Oak Street; once referred to as the “Bridge House,” a charming 2 bedroom, 1 bath cabin with a vintage 1939 shingle roof.

We love our home and are proud of our efforts to maintain Mr Chris Abel’s workmanship.

However and because there was no condition in our 1999 purchase agreement of a mandatory participation in a State or City historic preservation program, we are personally opposed to a mandatory Historical Preservation Program ordinance that does not protect our property rights.

It appears that The California Environmental Quality Act (CEQA) and the Coastal Act do not require the City of Laguna Beach to enact a mandatory Historical Preservation Program ordinance.

Further it is our understanding that there is no legal requirement for the City of Laguna Beach to have a registration program or an inventory and is free to exercise its discretion to design a new Historical Preservation Program that is responsive to wishes of its residents.

Therefore, we are in support of a provision to an ordnance that allows for a homeowner to voluntarily be included as historic and/or with the homeowners consent.

We urge you to support a new Historical Preservation Program that is based on voluntary participation and private initiative.

Finally, we would welcome a voluntary, incentive-based Historic Preservation Program that offers the implementation of financial and planning incentives to promote long-term appreciation and preservation of Laguna Beach historic resources.

We are yours for this journey, John and Marti Fischer



I believe an ordinance that places some homeowners in a more punitive ownership category than the rest of Laguna Beach homeowners is unfair. An ordinance that makes it mandatory to be included on a historic preservation inventory places those homeowners at a disadvantage.

Make inclusion on a historic preservation inventory voluntary.

At one meeting Martina said the State of California does not require the City of Laguna Beach to have such an ordinance or historic preservation list. Why create such discord when there is no necessity to satisfy State legality?

We who qualify for historic preservation are small in number but determined our rights will be preserved .

I ask that I be allowed to opt out of being included on the historic preservation list. Sincerely, S.K. Maloney



“Windshield surveys” and CALENDAR DATES do not make any property HISTORIC.

The freedom of government intrusion in our lives and the ability to live in peace and harmony was the prime reason I invested and have lived in Laguna Beach for the past 45 years. That peace of mind and the “quiet enjoyment” of one’s home is shattered by any INVOLUNTARY “regulatory taking” of property without OWNER’S CONSENT.

National Historic Register ACCEPTANCE falls under VERY specific criteria. The National Historic Register guidelines make clear that inclusion on the National Historic Register is VOLUNTARY!!! Owner’s consent is required to review and determine IF any property (including Laguna Beach) is qualified for historic consideration. Unless there is some devious authoritarian agenda, there is no justifiable reason historical preservation in Laguna Beach is not VOLUNTARY, owner’s consent required and private property rights RESPECTED.

Historic designation without owner consent is a violation of the basic right to “quiet enjoyment of personal property without government intrusion” Destroying the right to “quiet enjoyment” can NEVER be allowed in a FREE society. No person or persons should have the authority to deny anyone the quiet enjoyment of their home. Nobody wants an oppressive GOVERNMENT trespassing on their rights and living in their home. The protection of private property rights are the cornerstone of a civilized society, which MUST be respected in Laguna Beach.

Historic preservation is effective and respected ONLY when it is VOLUNTARY. Involuntary “regulatory taking” of personal property without owner’s consent is the confiscation of human dignity and imprisonment of peaceful enjoyment of one’s home, which destroys both lives and value through inverse condemnation


House construction prior to 1968 or 50-year calendar dates do not make ANY property historic. A city that RESPECTS THE RIGHTS of it citizens and tax payers, cannot designate any property historic without owner’s consent and even then, property CANNOT be considered “historic” if any of the following are present:

1. The property has NO historic importance.
2. The property has NO recognized architectural importance.
3. The designer is of NO significance in context of design
4. The property is NOT “outstanding” example of an architectural style or type.
5. The property is NOT associated with any historical events that have made significant contributions to history.
6. The property is NOT associated with the life of persons significant in the past.
7. The property does NOT yield, nor likely to yield information important in history.
8. The property has NOT been altered, changed or modified from the original design.


Incentives are created as compensation to initiate an action. Incentives PRECEDE an action and require the voluntary the acceptance of the incentive. Property confiscated against the will of the owner, which is followed with any form of payment, is punitive compensation and is NOT an “incentive”.


Involuntary regulatory taking against the will of the owner whereby the OWNER must defend against some self-serving predetermined charge goes against the basic principle of “innocent until proven guilty” and defies the definition of the presumption of innocence.

If this City Council is determined to implement involuntary condemnation, then it is up to the CITY to pay for and legally PROVE the property qualifies under the guidelines …… not the owner to financially or emotionally defend against unjust confiscation. If this City Council wants to preserve Laguna Beach history, make it VOLUNTARY, offer significant incentives and enlist historic cooperation with OWNERS CONSENT.


Property Rights are Fundamental to Freedom:

Virtually without exception, the Founders embraced the legal doctrines of English jurist William Blackstone, who rejected the doctrines of feudal land ownership, in which all land ultimately belonged to the sovereign. “There is nothing which so generally strikes the imagination, and engages the affections of mankind, as the right of property,” he wrote in his celebrated Commentaries, “or that sole and despotic dominion which one claims and exercises over the external things of the world, in total exclusion of the right of any other individual in the universe.”

Moreover, in economic theory, they followed the doctrines of Adam Smith, whose economic system was based on a multiplicity of private property owners exchanging goods and services in a free marketplace.

Under the influence of Locke, Blackstone, and Smith, the Founders firmly believed that the human right of private property ownership must be protected in law, as the basis for individual liberty, a free republic, and a free market economy. This belief was expressed in the elegant language of George Mason, in the 1776 Virginia Bill of Rights which was emulated in many other state constitutions:

That all are by nature equally free and independent, and have certain inherent rights, of which, when they enter into a state of society, cannot, by any compact, deprive or divest their posterity; namely, the enjoyment of life and liberty, and pursuing and obtaining happiness and safety. JORDAN V. GERBERG

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