Laguna Beach council to deliberate future of historic digester building

The historic sewer digester building at the corner of Forest and Laguna Canyon Road in Laguna Beach. (FIle Photo)

The digester is back on the table.

Laguna Beach City Council members on Tuesday will discuss planning the historic restoration of the 1930s-era sewage treatment building.


The digester, known for its red-tile roof and hallmark silo, stands on city property bounded by sections of Laguna Canyon Road, Broadway Street and Forest Avenue in the Village Entrance area.

The 83-year-old facility treated sewage until the 1980s, but now serves as a police storage building — and a landmark visible to anyone entering downtown on Laguna Canyon Road.


To help fund the historic restoration, the City Council will deliberate removing the external patching and painting of the building from the Village Entrance Project’s construction contract, freeing up $100,723.

However, an exterior historic restoration for the digester building would exceed $433,174, and an interior/exterior historic restoration would cost even more, according to the staff report. The council would have to find additional sources to fund the difference.

What’s more, an environmental assessment and structural evaluations would need to be run to determine whether they can remove an estimated 60,000 gallons of wastewater and 40 cubic yards of solid waste remaining in the building.

Laguna gives the structure a K-rating on its historic registry. The designation applies to buildings that have retained their architectural integrity.

Kindness cards also on the agenda

In other business, the council will vote on a resolution recommended by Councilman Steve Dicterow to declare Laguna a “World Kindness USA City” and allocate $2,000 in community assistance grant funds to buy “Kindness Cards.”

World Kindness USA is a nonprofit that supports acts of kindness with the use of “Kindness Cards,” which are plastic cards that the holder may register online and pass on to someone they see performing a kind action.

The previous holder enters the kind action they witnessed on the World Kindness USA website. The goal is to collect billions of stories.

Tuesday’s council meeting starts at 6 p.m. at City Council Chambers, 505 Forest Ave.


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