Laguna Beach to consider letting residents serve on more than one city committee

Should Laguna Beach residents be allowed to serve on more than one city-appointed board, commission or committee?

The Laguna Beach City Council will consider that question at its Tuesday meeting after hearing from residents who have expressed an interest in serving concurrently on multiple bodies.

The council is also expected to discuss the possible replacement of the stairs leading to Agate Street beach after a resident objected to the city's plan.

Laguna's current policy on committee participation prohibits residents from serving on more than one panel at a time. Most are volunteer positions, but a select few offer stipends. The restriction does not apply to ad hoc committees.

The question regarding participation has surfaced in the past, but the council's approval last month of a group tasked with overseeing the spending of additional tax revenue from hotel guests brought it to the forefront again, with residents who already serve on panels wanting to sign up for the newest one as well, City Manager John Pietig said.

In November, Laguna Beach voters passed Measure LL, which raises the tax that hotels charge guests by 2% to help pay for services such as public safety and beach and sidewalk cleanliness.

Then in December, the council unanimously agreed that a five-member audit oversight committee should annually determine whether money in the Measure LL fund has been spent as directed.

Residents interested in serving on the oversight committee must submit applications to the city clerk by 4 p.m. Jan. 13. The council on Jan. 31 will interview and appoint five residents to each serve five-year terms ending Dec. 31, 2021.

Also Tuesday, the council will consider an appeal from resident Peter Mann regarding the city's plan to replace the stairs leading to Agate Street beach.

In September, the city Design Review Board voted 3 to 0, with two members absent, to approve new concrete stairs, a larger landing area at one section and a new lookout space at street level.

The city says the stairs leading to the sand need to be replaced to provide safe access to one of Laguna's prime surf spots.

But Mann claims the plan would jeopardize coveted views of the ocean and rock outcroppings by lowering certain portions of the access area, including a portion with a bench, below the roof of a nearby home, according to an earlier Daily Pilot story.

A civil engineer, Mann submitted his own design to the city that he says would preserve views and keep a path leading to the bench area, allowing wheelchair users to access the area as they currently do.

The meeting begins at 6 p.m. at City Hall at 505 Forest Ave. To view the full agenda, go to lagunabeachcity.net.

bryce.alderton@latimes.com

Twitter: @AldertonBryce

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