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Laguna Beach City Council to consider how it should hold upcoming meetings

A sparsely attended Laguna Beach City Council meeting March 17.
A sparsely attended Laguna Beach City Council meeting at its chambers on March 17. The adjacent City Hall has been closed since March 16.
(Courtesy of city of Laguna Beach)

The Laguna Beach City Council will be considering options Tuesday on how to hold future council meetings as the coronavirus pandemic continues.

Since April 7, the city has held meetings on Zoom, where residents can call in and participate as part of public discussion. The council meetings have also been livestreamed on the city’s website and are available to view on Cox cable Channel 852. A staff report prepared for Tuesday’s meeting said participation has tripled as the public becomes more familiar with the format.

The city previously closed City Hall, adjacent to the council chambers, to the public on March 16.

Residents have argued in recent meetings that discussion of contentious items likely to draw large crowds, such as the comprehensive update to the Downtown Specific Plan or, more recently, Promenade on Forest, should take place in person or be held until in-person meetings can take place.

Councilwoman Toni Iseman also previously requested city staff to look for a way to bring the public into council chambers safely.

Up for the City Council’s consideration is deciding whether or not to continue holding meetings on Zoom through Sept. 7; holding hybrid Zoom and in-person meetings starting June 16 with face coverings and meeting social-distancing requirements; or relocating the City Council to another venue.

City Hall to reopen

Starting Monday, Laguna Beach City Hall will reopen to the public between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. Drop-in services will be provided at all public counters, but city officials recommend that regular city business should continue to be done virtually or by phone whenever possible.

In line with current state reopening guidelines, the city has adopted additional precautions such as a temperature-screening process for all members of the public and city staff with a no-contact thermometer; face-covering requirements; installation of Plexiglass guards at each public counter; the addition of 6-foot distancing floor decals; and increased cleaning frequency.

Members of the public can visit the community development department between 9 a.m. and 4 p.m. The department will no longer be accepting applications from the drop-off cabinets outside of City Hall, starting Monday.

This Tuesday’s council meeting begins at 5 p.m. and can be viewed on Cox cable channel 852 or livestreamed through the city’s website at lagunabeachcity.net/cityhall/citygov/cityclerk/mam.htm.

Residents are encouraged to send comments on agenda items to City Clerk Lisette Chel-Walker at at lchel@lagunabeachcity.net. All communications must be received by noon Tuesday.

Residents can also call in at (669) 900-9128 to listen to the meeting and comment during designated periods. While calling, dial 93825234083# and press *9 to comment on an item. Time for remarks may be limited.

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