Artist is chosen as new Laguna planning commissioner

New Laguna Beach Planning Commissioner Jorg Dubin is an artist who created the “Semper Memento” 9/11 memorial in Heisler Park, pictured with him in 2016.
(File Photo)

The Laguna Beach City Council chose longtime Laguna resident and artist Jorg Dubin to fill the Planning Commission spot vacated by newly elected Councilwoman Sue Kempf.

Dubin created “Semper Memento,” a 9/11 memorial dedicated in 2011 at Monument Point in Heisler Park that includes two beams from the fallen World Trade Center towers.

His appointment on a 3-2 vote Tuesday — Kempf and Councilwoman Toni Iseman voted for candidate Steve Goldman — came after an hour of interviews with seven candidates. Two additional candidates who applied for the position were unable to attend the meeting.

Dubin said he wants to help define what the city is about by offering incentives to lure businesses that will serve the local community and tourists. He said his priorities are improving traffic flow and parking and working on large projects such as the Hotel Laguna building, which Laguna businessman Mo Honarkar recently leased.

“We get a little carried away with flat-out saying no to things instead of being a little more creative in the way we think about projects,” said Dubin, who made an unsuccessful bid for City Council as a write-in candidate last year. “Being much more proactive instead of reactive to things is what I would like to see happen more and more.”

The council Tuesday also approved artwork by Dubin for the front of a construction project at the Red Dragon restaurant on South Coast Highway. Dubin designed a gate etched with bamboo leaves to enclose the new restaurant’s outdoor seating area. The municipal code requires that new commercial and several other types of projects in the city install a public art display or donate to a city arts fund.

Dubin will finish the rest of Kempf’s Planning Commission term, which runs through June 2020.

The terms of Commissioners Roger McErlane and Susan Whitin expire in June this year, and applications will open in the spring.

Parking restrictions

The council voted unanimously Tuesday to place no-parking signs at the following locations around town:

  • Bayview Place, in front of 1406 Temple Hills Drive
  • 32392 S. Coast Hwy.
  • Southwest corner of Monterey and West streets
  • 2470 Juanita Way
  • Meadowlark Drive

The council also decided to convert a metered parking space to a passenger loading zone in front of Hotel Joaquin on North Coast Highway.

Fire prevention studies

Two local organizations will begin studying the Laguna landscape to recommend fire prevention measures as the first step under a multimillion-dollar California Department of Forestry and Fire Protection grant.

The council approved hiring the Laguna Canyon Foundation and environmental consulting firm Glenn Lukos Associates to perform the studies for a price of $179,540. The money comes from a California Climates Investment grant of about $3.3 million that the state awarded Laguna Beach in August.

The studies, which are expected to be completed by the end of spring, will advise the city on how to treat areas with endangered species and make infrastructure changes, among other suggestions. The city will then have to obtain permits before beginning the studies’ recommended fire prevention work, which must be completed by the end of the grant period in 2022.

Twitter: @faithepinho