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Laguna Beach City Council to discuss regional housing needs

Regional housing needs will be a topic of the Laguna Beach City Council's next meeting on Tuesday.
(Don Leach / Staff Photographer)

At its next scheduled meeting on Tuesday, the Laguna Beach City Council will consider whether it should appeal the city’s Regional Housing Needs Assessment.

The Southern California Assn. of Governments is requiring Laguna Beach to accommodate 393 units, but local jurisdictions have until Oct. 26 to submit an appeal of the city’s fair share for regional housing needs. City staff note that Laguna Beach faces a significant increase in the allocation of units from the two units required in the previous planning period.

Staff argue that the appeal is necessary because of discrepancies in reports regarding the state’s housing shortage, physical barriers to providing 393 more housing units based on the steep terrain of the hillside community and the increased risk of wildfires due to climate change.

The meeting will also include a public hearing. A property owner is appealing conditions of approval by the Design Review Board for a project that would demolish a single-family residence and build a 6,703 square-foot duplex with a 1,274 square-foot five-car garage in a residential district (R-2). Among the issues to be considered is the scale as it relates to view equity for neighbors.

The Laguna Beach council will consider how it would like for meetings to be conducted moving forward.

There have been 14 meetings of the City Council held over Zoom since April 7, a change necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Zoom meetings have produced an average attendance of 185 people, excluding city staff members.

A staff report indicated that 14 Orange County cities responded to a survey requesting information on how they were conducting their meetings. Nine of the responding cities said their meetings are held online, while five were allowing for limited public participation in an in-person or hybrid model.

Three options are to be considered: Zoom meetings through December, hybrid meetings that would allow the public to stand in line to speak on a subject and then immediately leave, or in-person meetings for council members only with staff and the public participating over Zoom.

The scheduled meeting for Tuesday begins at 5 p.m., and members of the public can participate over Zoom (lagunabeachcity.zoom.us/j/93080380026) or call into the meeting at 669-900-9128. It can also be viewed live on Cox cable channel 852.

Comments may be submitted to the city clerk by email at LcheL@lagunabeachcity.net. It is requested that comments be sent to the city clerk by 3 p.m. on Monday to give council members time to review them.

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