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New home for tennis courts sought

The City Council has authorized a study to find an alternate

location for the tennis courts next to the Festival of Arts grounds.

Councilman Paul Freeman said

he had made a personal commitment to the Festival negotiators to


try to free up the space. He asked the council

to direct staff to come up with a plan to relocate the courts to

the back of

Act V, but couldn’t get the necessary votes, partially because the


relocation would require a reduction of 25-30 spaces of peripheral

parking per court.

“No one was as surprised as I was by the success of the free trams

in getting people to park at ACT V -- thank you Toni -- so I am not

willing to give up any parking spaces there,” said Councilwoman

Cheryl Kinsman. “50 to 80 spaces is a lot.”

Councilwoman Toni Iseman, who promoted the notion that free

shuttles would lure people to park at Act V, flat out refused to vote


for a study that specified only ACT V.

“This is the first time in 28 years that the use of ACT V has been

maximized,” said Laguna Canyon Conservancy President Carolyn Wood.

“Please look at other places.”

Former Planning Commissioner Becky Jones recommended waiting until

a proposed traffic and parking management study is completed before

tampering with existing spaces.

As a compromise, the council voted to direct staff to research


other sites.

-- Barbara Diamond

Rules recommended to curb mansionization

City planners voted unanimously Wednesday to approve rules

designed to help maintain neighborhood integrity by minimizing the

effect of “mansionization,” a catch-all phrase for structures that

stick out like sore thumbs.

“One of our major goals was to give the Design Review Board the

tools to curtail some of the more excessive structural intrusions

into the neighborhoods,” said Commissioner Anne Johnson. “We have

also widened the band so that DR will look at a wider slice -- three

homes on either side of a proposed project and across the street.”

The commission is an advisory board, the final decision on the

recommendations is up to the City Council.

The commission has been holding public meetings on mansionization

for more than a year.

“Two key recommendations

are the way height measurement will be taken in the future and the

use of mechanical lifts to provide the required parking without

requiring three garages that add to the mass and bulk of buildings,”

said commission Chair Kimberly Stuart. “We have

asked that the council hold a

separate hearing on the recommendations.”

Commissioner Johnson said the architects, the design review board,

the Architects Guild and the public, as well as the commission are

players in the hearing process and the resulting recommendations.

Recommendations clarify the existing 36-foot height limit and

include restrictions on balcony locations, training for review board

members, a requirement for 3-D models and a project rationale to be

submitted early in the process.

The commissioners concluded after a year of hearings that the size

of a building doesn’t matter if it doesn’t overpower the

neighborhood, according to veteran Commissioner Norm Grossman.

No date has been set for the council hearing on the commission


-- Barbara Diamond

Chance to meet the candidates

Village Laguna members and the public are invited to meet and

greet candidates for the Laguna Beach City Council and Laguna Beach

Unified School District Board of Directors.

The free event is from 6 to 8 p.m. Friday in the Community Room on

the Third Floor of the Wells Fargo Bank building at 260 Ocean Ave.

Information, Michael Hoag, (949) 494-5960.