El Morro conversion, it's about time...

El Morro conversion, it's about time

Re: "Should El Morro village be converted into a location for

camping and day use?" (Coastline Pilot, Aug. 23)

Yes. The trailer park is on state land purchased by a board issue

for all Californians in 1979. We have waited while they have obtained

lease extensions by pandering to local politicians from Marion

Bergeson to John Campbell.

Sympathy, if any, should be extended to the taxpayers of the state

who are tired of waiting.

Ed Merrilees

Laguna Beach

It certainly is great news that at last by 2004 the El Morro

Trailer Park, including the beach, will be converted to campsites and

day use for the California public. We have been waiting for 25 years,

since the purchase by the state parks, for this to happen.

Those fortunate people who have been able to live there all these

years will now have to step aside and allow those of us who have been

kept out have our chance to enjoy this wonderful area.

Fern Pirkle

Corona del Mar

Yes, I am absolutely convinced that a camping site and

recreational site is needed and wanted and will make exceptionally

fine use of a beautiful beach that few can use at the present moment.

Problems that must be solved:

The place needs a new name. There is already El Moro State Park in

Northern California. How about a contest to rename the place. Let the

kids get involved. Laguna Beach State Park would have my vote.

El Morro school site must be fenced off and completely protected

from predations by strangers having access to our kids.

Pedestrian access to the beach can still be made by tunnel or a

new pedestrian overpass like the one at Aliso Creek. Please try not

to put another traffic signal out there for pedestrians to ignore.

Because I formerly lived in Malibu it was a pleasure to know that

folks could camp on the beach at Leo Carillo State Beach right up the

coast and I often took my kids there. Now I could take my

grandchildren. We've been on the beach at Doheny in Dana Point and

the campgrounds are nice but crowded. The picnic grounds are nice but

crowded. Let's be visionary and add 2,800 acres of recreational land

to our community.

Go for it! What help do you need?

Frances Heussenstamm

Ph.D. Clinical Psychologist,

retired Laguna Beach

El Moro not good place for campground

No, for many reasons, the school is too close: traffic, trash,

pollution, transients and that's just to mention a few. But the most

important reason is the state should not have the to right to make

hundreds of people homeless just for their "gain." Yes, they are on

rented land, but really, is any of our land really ours.

Many years ago the state wanted to put an expressway in, where I

now call home. The home owner at the time was defenseless against the

State. But fortunately, for her and me, it never happened.

What ever happen to homestead? Our forefathers could find the

land, build a home, and stay in it for a number of years. It was

theirs, and they made it home. Families grew up together building

years of love and memories.

We are fortunate to live in California with many great parks and

recreation places to enjoy; from one end of the state to the other.

Many of the parks go unnoticed by several of us. El Moro is a real

gem; the coast line is breathtaking when you drive by. And those who

are lucky enough to have a home there should not be made homeless

just for our "recreation."

We have Crystal Cove and we can easily walk down to El Moro to

enjoy its beauty.

Where is our security in the lives we have built? Is it so easily

discarded by the majority! El Moro is a small community built by

loving dedicated people. I don't believe anyone has the right to tear

it apart. Would you want your city or town be tore down and rebuild

"better" for a Park, so the majority can spend just day or night. Not

a life time.

Patty Massaro

Laguna Beach

According to Rusty Areias, director of California State Parks,

there is a shortage of 10,000 to 15,000 campsites statewide. A great

opportunity exists at Crystal Cove State Park, on the ocean side of

the Pacific Coast Highway, north of Historic Crystal Cove district to

Pelican Point sits Crystal Cove State Park flat land that could be

divided into 1,000 campsites. Common sense says build 1,000 campsites

if there is a shortage of campsites in California. Rusty Areias needs

to focus on the property north of Historic Crystal Cove district to

help satisfy the shortage of campsites statewide.

J.B. Crowell

Santa Ana

I do not think that El Morro should be turned into a campground.

The residents of El Morro have lived there a long time, and it would

be terrible to take away a life-long home. El Morro village has been

around since 1922, and some people have lived there all their lives.

The state took the people out of their homes in Crystal Cove, and

now they are doing nothing with them. It is not fair to turn

something beautiful into something that will bring in every type of

person, and have a possible chance of the area getting polluted with

trash. I definitely do not think that these homes should be taken

away from the residents.

There is plenty of other spaces of land that can be turned into a

campground. The state needs to go somewhere else and make a


Amy Gibson

Yorba Linda

I just want you to know that I have a friend that lives in El

Morro Village and visit often.

What a charming place. Everyone is so nice and seem to love where

they live. I think it is terrible that it may be taken away from

them. It is already sad what happened to Crystal Cove (all those

people made to leave and then the government decides they don't have

enough money to develop it) and I would hate to see all these people

at El Morro Village have to leave their homes.

There has got to be a solution where they can stay and live the

life they are used to.

Jeannie Drennan


Succinctly rendered, as a matter of local and public policy is it

preferable that the state build over people and places to allow a

60-unit transient overnight camp park to offset a 16,000 unit

shortfall or preserve and maintain a 290 unit, low-income village to

continue a 70-year-old cultural resource?

Essentially, the state is imposing its autocratic, political will

on the history and future of Orange County in general and Laguna

Beach in particular. If local control is not at issue, the citizens

have no recourse to take action elsewhere including El Toro's Great

Park Plan where the state has an archaic, vested interest as well.

As individuals we can stand our ground or move. I for one live by

our nation's first motto: "Don't Tread on Me."

Duff Owens Wilmoth

Laguna Beach

Hedges should live by fence rules

Re: "Do you think the Planning Commission should recommend the

city regulate how high hedges can be?" (Coastline Pilot, Aug. 23)

Of course the Planning Commission should subject vegetation along

property lines to the same regulations that apply to fences made of

"dead wood" or other materials.

If the rules governing the height and location of fences is good

for the general welfare of the public, than it does not make any

difference of what material the fence consists of. In fact, a static

fence is much better for the public than a living fence which

continually grows and spreads out encroaching on neighbor's property,

sidewalks, streets, etc.

This action is long overdue and should be enacted immediately. I

agree that in special cases vegetation exceeding the existing

limitations in the fence ordinance should be allowed, just as the

Design Review Board currently does where it is for the benefit of all

the concerned parties.

Lets keep it simple, anything along the property lines as defined

in the existing fence ordinance, is subject to the rules of the fence

ordinance regardless of what that "anything" is.

Dave Connell

Laguna Beach

A height limit of 6 to 8 feet is reasonable.

Unfortunately, there are neighbors who lack a desire to enjoy a

view or might have something to hide.

The same problem exists with the wild growth of trees.

It is hoped that the various city officials can develop a

reasonable plan so that our original vistas can be recovered.

Grant McCombs

Laguna Beach

Hedge height limit not right for city

If Planning Commissioner Norman Grossman and City Councilwoman

Cheryl Kinsman are able to pass the hedge height zoning amendment on

Sept. 11, you will be required to maintain your hedges on what the

city determines is the front portion of your property at a height of

4 feet or less. Otherwise you will be breaking the law.

If the preference for your property exceeds the 4-foot height

limit you will then have to have a group of architects determine the

fate of your foliage and rights to privacy based on their decision to

issue you a special permit, which you then will have to pay the city


The rationalization for this legislation has been stated to be for

the "safety of the public." There are already encroachment laws in

our municipal codes that restrict plant growth from extending in to

public domain. All the city needs to do is implement t hem. If my

foliage is a safety hazard to the public then they are trespassing

onto private property.

I see the legislation as the cities attempt to control and

capitalize on the individuals' right to privacy and quality of life.

This city has been legislating against our basic civil liberties

by doing nothing. Doing nothing still inevitably yields a result. The

lace of measures taken by this city to eliminate the noise, visual

and olfactory pollution one is continually subjected to in the course

of a weekend is distressing.

This is demonstrated by lack of any measures taken to eliminate

the noise from the illegal cigarette boats that go back and forth

along the coast or by the prop planes and their advertisements for

sunscreen going back and forth all day long all weekend or by

omnipotent decisions of eliminating a watercourse from a development

project so the impact on the resulting water quality won't have to be

given consideration.

Residents new and old have grown weary listening to the multitude

of lame excuses from the city as to why they can't do anything. We

need to start hearing how we can and see it in action. This is your

role as representatives of our community.

However the city has taken an active stance toward implementing

regulations that not only promote but also will force the residents

to build. The amendment will do just this. These hedges that are

"buffers" not "barriers" from which there is still noise, odor and

visual privacy that is compromised by the resident in exchange for

greenery, a breeze and sunshine.

If you require residents to remove this buffer they will seek to

meet this need in other ways to restore their quality of living and

you will force residents to achieve their privacy, peace and quiet by

building walls and adding onto their houses. This makes all the

concern for "mansionization" look like a bunch of lip service.

The focus of the management of this city is money, money, money at

the expense of personal quality of living, living, living. Hasty

change appears financially rewarding however it quickly fizzles into

financial loss in the long run.

Laguna does not have the only beach access along the coast. One of

the reasons people come here is because of the amount of greenery

from nature that is present. When people go out they want to forget

their troubles and get a way from civilization not look at more of


If we continue along this trend next year the city will be telling

us what color we can or cannot paint our house. Where and when will

it end? Eventually we will be no different from the Corona del Mar or

any other beach city.

With this type of thinking we might consider enclosing the Pageant

stadium too. The risk of someone getting a chill would far outweigh

the delight in the ability to sit under the stars.

Sharon Paget

Laguna Beach

The hedge height amendment Norm Grossman and the Laguna Beach

Planning Commission will put into effect Sept. 11 is not in keeping

with the character of this town.

This amendment will impair the ability of the foliage to grow in a

customary and healthy manner associated with its individual species

by disrupting the quality and balance necessary in order to sustain a

healthy environment community.

The majority of the plants in this region flower, produce seeds

and develop new growth on the top portions of the plant. Flowers are

often where people derive their appreciation for the aesthetic beauty

provided by foliage. Seeds and leaf litter are one of the primary

ways nutrients and vitality of the soil is refurbished.

Topping plants in order to maintain a height restriction

eliminates a crucial portion of a plants normal lifecycle and is

exactly the reason why lawyers, accountants and the realtors should

not be making legislative decisions that involve the environment.

The real safety issue: We have been told that the hedge height

limit is for "safety" reasons. This amendment is a safety hazard to

individuals and their homes. Restrictions placed on foliage in sloped

regions where geological instability exists impairs the growth

patterns of secondary root structures which have proven to be a vital

factor in maintaining the stability and integrity of the basic soil

structures, especially during times of wet conditions.

We have been told that the hedge height limit will enhance the

view-shed. Limitations to foliage heights based on the view-shed

perspective should be nothing less than the height restrictions

placed on housing.

Norm Grossman says, "We should treat a hedge like a fence." Well

Norm, I hate to tell you, but a hedge is not a fence just like apples

are not oranges. Try treating a zinnea like a rose and it will tell

you loud and clear that it is not happy about it. This is if you

would listen to the voice of nature.

Our environment has been yelling at us for some time now. When are

we going to start listening?

Christi Pacello

Laguna Beach

"Mind your own business and you won't be minding mine."

-- Hank Williams

The proposed hedge height amendment currently under consideration

by the Planning Commission of Laguna Beach is "tit for tat"

legislation that doesn't belong in this town.

This is micro legislation that does not belong at the city level.

Diversity and differences used to be appreciated by the residents of

this community. This type of micromanagement just fosters hostility

among neighbors by allowing them to retaliate against a neighbor when

there is a valid gripe.

I am looking around at the properties surrounding my property. It

is easily visible that approximately 80% of them would not be in

compliance with the hedge or fence ordinance. So how is the

application of this law to be applied equally and fairly? It can't

without making major changes to the appearance of this community.

This type of management is unbecoming to mature plant life as well

as mature adults. I discourage its ratification by the Planning

Commission on Sept. 11.

Robert Davey

Laguna Beach

Condon deserved the recognition

Enjoyed the article in your people feature on the "Keeper of the

Parks" crew chief Anthony Condon (Coastline Pilot, Aug. 23). It's

great to hear about people who love their work here in Laguna.

The city is to be commended for its dedicated folks who put in

that extra effort behind the scenes to keep the landscape in top

shape. Getting to know Anthony the last couple of years has shown

that he has benefited from a loving family and the aloha spirit that

a surfer develops from a committed life.

Marlo Bartels

Marlo Bartels Studio

in Laguna Beach

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