-- Barbara Diamond
Big, like beauty, is in the eye of the beholder.
“A 2,000-square-foot house can look like a mansion because of the
design and an 8,000-square-foot home can look like a cottage, putting
a premium on quality design,” said Councilman Steven Dicterow.
It’s the appearance that counts, the City Council voted 4-0
Tuesday, when it endorsed revisions to the zoning code meant to
control “mansionization.” The council did some fine tuning, but
nothing the commissioners couldn’t swallow.
Recommendation to do away with a requirement for three-car garages
for homes with four or more bedrooms or more than 3,600 square feet
and allow tandem parking and lifts to fill parking requirements
caused the council the most pangs, but commission logic prevailed.
A third parking space will be required, but it must be uncovered
unless the applicant can show that an additional covered garage would
not add to the mass and bulk of the structure.
The commission spent more than two years hammering out
recommendations, distilled from 26 public hearings that included the
commission, residents, the Design Review Board and members of the
Laguna Beach Architects Guild.
The goal was to moderate the proliferation of homes that jarred
“This brings the expectations of the property owners more in line
with what can be achieved,” said architect Kirk Saunders, who
represented the guild at commission meetings.
The commission defined mansionization as the appearance of height,
mass and bulk as viewed from below and the need to promote and
maintain neighborhood compatibility.
Mansionization is not a word used in the ordinance. It deals with
ways to measure height, clean up the space between a structure and
the property line known as setbacks, get neighborhood cooperation,
and file informative and informed applications for projects that are
appropriate for the site.
It is not about square feet.
The commission emphasized the need for more training for new
Design Review Board members and staff reports on projects.
Councilman Paul Freeman was absent from the meeting.
Park may get $225,000 from conservancy
The California Coastal Conservancy on Thursday unanimously
approved giving Laguna Beach $225,000 to improve Heisler Park.
At the meeting, conservancy members agreed to hand the city the
funding to head off erosion of the bluffs and improve handicap access
to the beaches below.
The city has agreed to match the conservancy’s grant with an equal
The bluff-top park, which includes a lookout popular with
tourists, features a stunning view of the Pacific Ocean. About
500,000 visitors use the park per year.
The funding comes from Proposition 40, the resources bond state
voters passed in March.
The conservancy’s Thursday meeting was held in Huntington Beach in
the City Council’s chambers.
It’s Binky blanket time in Laguna Beach
The Southern California Binky Patrol’s Comforting Covers for Kids
will host the sixth annual Bink-a-Thon to produce as many blankets as
possible for ill, abused or disadvantaged children.
Several chapters from the area will meet at Laguna Beach High.
The event will fall on National “Make a Difference Day,” and Binky
Patrol chapters as far as away as Honolulu, Hawaii, Wilmington, N.C.,
and Cocoa, Fla., will hold similar events to benefit children in
“The Bink-A-Thon offers a unique opportunity for individuals or an
entire family to make a difference in the life of a child or teen,”
said Susan Roush, Laguna Niguel resident and founder of the
Volunteers can work at several stations including sewing, tying
off blankets with yarn, painting squares or organizing fabric donated
by the Hoffman California Fabrics of Mission Viejo. Wahoo’s Fish
Tacos will provide lunch for participants.
Organizers especially need sewing machines and people who know how
to use them at the event.
Last year, 2,500 binkies found loving arms across the county;
Laguna Beach produced 250 of those. This year the national goal is
The Binky Patrol was founded in 1996 and has grown to include 150
chapters nationwide. Volunteers have delivered more than 175,000
binkies to children and teens in need.
The Bink-A-Thon will take place from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at Laguna
Beach High School, 625 Park Ave. Individuals who wish to donate funds
or volunteer as to sew or just help out at the event can call (949)
499-BINK or visit www.binkypatrol.org.
Officers encourage bike registry
The Laguna Beach Police Department has partnered with the National
Bike Registry to allow residents to register their bicycles online.
“Throughout all of 2001 a total of 14 bikes were reported stolen,”
said Coleen Lawrence, community services officer.
The department hopes that the easy accessibility to the registry
will encourage more residents to register their bikes. Although the
city has an ordinance that requires riders to license their bikes,
the city does not actively enforce that code.
In the event a bike registered with national registry is stolen,
officers can quickly access information and serial numbers. That
information will then be entered into the national stolen property
index and if an officer encounters a stolen bike, they can
electronically track down owner information and theft status.
On the national level, police departments recover about 48% of all
stolen bikes. However, only a small fraction of those bikes are
returned to their rightful owners.
Fees to register a bike range from $10 for a three-year
registration to $25 for a lifetime registration. The National Bike
Registry can be found at www.nationalbikeregistry.com. For more
information about the program, please call Lawrence at (949)
Parking and traffic are topics of talk
The Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee will host a talk
titled, “Livable Communities, Parking and Traffic ... Connecting the
Dots.” The conversation will be led by Rick Cole, the city manager of
Azusa and former mayor of Pasadena.
Organizers hope residents will weigh in on the issue as the city
is developing a traffic study and the Village Entrance.
“Downtown Laguna Beach could be designed in such a way that there
is no cut-through traffic,” said Michael Hoag, a member of the
committee and founder of Village At. “During the winter there’s a
different feeling than during the weekends or summer.”
The livable cities concept promotes a traffic- or car-free
environment typical of older European cities such as Venice, Sienna
or Munich, Hoag said.
The forum will take place from 7:30 to 9 p.m., Oct. 25 at City
Hall Council Chambers, 505 Forest Ave. For more information please
contact Hoag via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.
In honor of Laguna’s Isaac Frazee
The Laguna Beach Historical Society will present Craig Walker who
will talk about Laguna Impressionist, Isaac Frazee. Walker is the
artist’s great grandson.
Frazee was the first documented sketch artist in Laguna Beach in
1878. He and his wife, Bettie, became part of the local scene and in
1921 he created a Native American peace pipe pageant called
Kitshi-Manido. The project raised money to build an art gallery that
over the years has been incorporated into the current Laguna Art
The Frazee’s moved to Laguna full-time in the mid-1920s. The two
houses that they lived in are still standing. The first was at
Lombardy Lane and they built their permanent home at El Bosque, said
Jane Janz, spokesperson for the historical society.
Prior to the presentation, the historical society will hold a
general meeting to elect the board of directors at 7:30 p.m. Oct. 3
in the community room at Wells Fargo Bank, 260 Ocean Ave. The members
nominated for re-election are: Anne Frank, Ed Perry, Eric Jessen,
Gene Felder, J. J Gasparotti, Jane Janz, Karolee Hampton, Nelda
Stone, and Willa Gupta.
Information: (949) 497-6834.