City planners will try again on Wednesday to reconcile proposed
projects on Third Street with the city’s general plan.
“We asked (City Atty.) Phil Kohn for a letter that would justify our
ability to vote on the community center and the garage under the
community clinic, since they were not included in the implementation list
of the Downtown Specific Plan,” said Planning Commissioner Anne Johnson.
“We felt we needed more information before we could vote.”
State law requires the Planning Commission to review the list of
public works projects proposed for the coming fiscal year and determine
if the projects are consistent with the city’s general plan. The
commission could not make that finding at the May 29 meeting, but will
revisit the issue Wednesday.
The delay will not affect the passage of the city’s budget for the
2002-03 fiscal year.
At the last meeting, Public Works Director Steve May submitted a list
of 23 proposed projects for fiscal year 2002-03, with a total price tag
of $8.24 million.
The Third Street projects, which include $2 million for the
construction of a community center and $1 million for the expansion of a
proposed underground parking garage beneath the Laguna Beach Community
Clinic, accounted for 36% of the capital improvement program budget for
the coming year. Nineteen percent of the proposed budget was allocated to
citywide sewer relining and spot repairs.
“I think every spare penny we have should be spent on fixing up our
infrastructure that has been neglected for decades,” said Councilwoman
Cheryl Kinsman. “That is not just sewers, but projects such as the
corporation yard where our city employees work in deplorable conditions;
fire station 4 in South Laguna, which cannot hold a modern fire engine;
and the lifeguard headquarters on Main Beach that should be condemned for
the smell alone.
“We do not need a $75,000 study on city facilities to tell us this,”
Kinsman added, referring to a study of city facilities included in the
capital improvement projects proposed for 2002-03.
No money was allocated for the renovation of the Corporation Yard /
Village Entrance projects, which were tied together in a city-sponsored
design contest. Four concepts were selected as finalists. No winner has
“The ludicrous notion that we can put the corporation yard on either
the bottom or the top level of a parking structure is mind boggling,”
She favors a parking structure at the Village Entrance and the
relocation of the corporation yard to ACT V.
“There just isn’t enough space for both,” Kinsman said. “And if we
aren’t going to move the corporation yard, we need to fix it.”
Councilwoman Toni Iseman said she thinks the combination of Village
Entrance and corporation yard is an opportunity for the city.
“We are so lucky that these projects came together,” Iseman said. “It
will result in a better project and space utilization.
In his summary of proposed capital improvements for the upcoming
fiscal year, May listed 10 major projects. The proposals include:
* Community Center construction $2,000.000
* Community Clinic Parking Garage Expansion $1,000,000
* Citywide sewer relining and spot repairs $1,600,000
* Laguna Canyon Channel sewer modifications $750,000
* Laguna Canyon Channel Construction $300,000
* Bluebird Park and restroom renovation $900,000
* Alta Vista, Terry Road, Hinkle Place,
* Alexander Road resurfacing $690,000
Money for the sewer and channel projects would come out of the city’s
sewer fund. The $1.6 million sewer relining project money includes a
federal Environmental Protection Agency grant, matched by city funds.
Road resurfacing would be paid from the gas tax fund.
Payment for all the other projects listed by May as “major” would come
out of the city’s general fund, with a $500,000 infusions each from the
city’s Public Employees Retirement System and the parking fund for the
community center construction; a $1-million transfer from the parking
fund for the clinic garage expansion; and $300,000 from the state park
bond and the city’s park-in-lieu fund for Bluebird Park.
A summary of the proposed capital improvement projects is included in
the proposed city budget, which is available on the city’s web site at
o7 www.lagunabeachcity.netf7 or at City Hall.
The City Council is expected to approve the budget at the conclusion
of a public hearing June 18.
* BARBARA DIAMOND is a reporter for the Laguna Beach Coastline Pilot.
She may be reached at 494-4321.