Copyright © 2019, Los Angeles Times | Terms of Service | Privacy Policy

Hedge limit ordinance a necessity In...

Hedge limit ordinance a necessity

In response to your “Mailbag” question (“What action should the

City Council take on the hedge height ordinance?” Oct. 4), the City

Council should unanimously approve a zoning ordinance that limits the


heights of hedges to that of fences.

Just as the city has guidelines for fences so as not to affect the

safety or views of others, greenery should not be allowed to impact

adjoining homeowners in the same fashion. It is only common sense


that a fence is a fence whether it is constructed of wood, stone or

foliage. Unfortunately, some homeowners abuse the use of foliage,

thus creating barriers and view blockers that would never be

acceptable as a fence in the same location.

This amendment would not affect existing hedges where neighbors

are in agreement as to the height and location of foliage between

adjacent properties. This ordinance would only be enforced when a

neighbor who is adversely affected files a complaint. This would


create an enforceable ordinance against those homeowners who refuse

to behave in a responsive, neighborly and responsible manner

regarding their overgrown foliage.

We thank the City Council for being responsive to this issue and

for creating an enforceable ordinance. We encourage other Lagunans to

support the council in their decision.


Laguna Beach


View preservation getting out of control

There is a segment of the Laguna population that is so fixated on

the “right to a view” issue that they and their allies on the City

Council fail to recognize other property rights that are of equal

importance to many, if not most, residents of this city.

As this beautiful area becomes more and more crowded, many people

find that their only refuge is their home, garden, yard, deck or

patio. In order to be able to use and enjoy these areas with some

degree of privacy, it is often necessary to maintain a hedge or other

plantings that exceed the height limit for fences. These plantings

create a diversity of landscape styles in the city, contributing to

its beauty and unique character.

To insist that landscape hedges conform to height limits currently

mandated for fences would be to create a look more in keeping with

Irvine than that of Laguna Beach. If one wants to be honest about

view impairment, then let’s talk about trees, most of which did not

even grow here 100 years ago. Are they next on the mayor’s chopping

block? By the way, there’s one in my neighbor’s yard that obliterates

a beautiful south coast view from one of my windows. He trims it

every few years, and I wish he’d trim it more often, but I don’t

think it’s my right to force him to do so.

Let’s get a grip. We live in one of the most beautiful places in

the country. If people want a community association with CC&Rs;, then

they should move to Crystal Cove.


Laguna Beach Design Review

Board Member (1999-2002)

There are hedges and hedges of all types:

some are beloved, others provoke gripes.

But the council should not hedge about hedges:

Let them grow to 8 feet unless a neighbor alleges

and before the council under oath pledges

that the hedge won’t let him see the blue wateredge.

No law should be made that creates a four-foot hedgemony

For Laguna’s shibboleth is “Hedge Row Diversity!”


Laguna Beach

The Laguna Beach-proposed ordinance to limit hedge heights is

stupid, stupid, stupid. Has the City Council any concept of just how

pervasive high hedges are throughout the community? Will we be

enduring armies of hedge police armed with tape measures and


Who decided there was a problem in the first instance? I certainly

had not been aware of any issue until it came up before the Planning

Commission more or less out of the blue. And just exactly what is the

problem? If it relates to view blockage, as some suggest, then Laguna

Beach had first better develop an effective ordinance dealing with

view blockage by trees. We know how well the City Council has

sidestepped that one!

A word to the wise: “That government governs best that governs



Laguna Beach

Is it just me, or does there seem to be a correlation between the

stratospheric rise in property values and an obsession with “limits”

... like hedge limits? Next will it be “roses must be pruned below

eye level,” or “flowering vines are discouraged from being too

colorful,” or, if we’re not careful about this, “joyful outbursts

prohibited?” This is not the Stepford Village, this is sleepy,

gorgeous Village Laguna.

It is a very dangerous thing to legislate minutiae in the everyday

issues that sensible human beings can oversee by themselves and among

themselves. There are certainly exceptions and extraordinary examples

that can be cited and dealt with, but on a case-by-case basis; these

(maybe 5%) hedge indiscretions certainly do not command such

legislative time and attention and will only lead to more.

Don’t we feel there are larger issues at hand that require these

resources? And, shouldn’t we encourage neighbors to fairly and

amicably resolve issues between themselves?

In closing, I would just like to say that I feel that a hedge is a

very lovely thing ... from both sides.


Laguna Beach

Thanks for defending Design Board

Kudos City Councilwoman Cheryl Kinsman on your reply to Jay

Laessi’s letter concerning the Design Review Board. As a former DRB

member, your support of the board’s work in such a public way

acknowledges and validates their week in and week out service to our

community. It is refreshing to hear elected officials challenge these

sorts of clearly baseless accusations.

Thanks for taking the time to speak out !


Laguna Beach

Bland forum gives one clear outcome

I attended the candidate forum held by North Laguna Community

Assn. and others at the Wells Fargo building last week. The regulars

who I often see attending Laguna Beach City Council meetings were

present. While pleased to see the collection of attendees, I was

disappointed in the lack of our younger neighbors.

Except for our 3-month-old son Jeremy, my wife Kimberly and I were

probably the youngest in attendance (we’re in our 30s).

Melissa O’Neal and Toni Iseman sat to the left of Frank Ricchiazzi

(moderator), while Steve Dicterow and Elizabeth Pearson sat to his

right (coincidence?). Unfortunately, when the left was speaking, I

noticed our moderator didn’t seem to have qualms about chatting and

joking with the right. As far as candidate forums go, this was one of

the blander I’ve attended. Arguably the most exciting thing there,

was the buzzer on the time-clock. The candidates seemed pretty close

on the issues faced by Laguna: Village Entrance, sewage, flood

control, mansionization, council meeting “efficiency” and our

traffic/parking/circulation problems.

That said, I would have to say that Elizabeth Pearson seemed to

set herself apart from the others in other ways. I had to chuckle

when she began reading the newspaper while fellow candidate Melissa

O’Neal was speaking. I find myself wondering what could be so

interesting? I’ll have to remember to teach my son that it’s rude to

read the paper while you’re on stage -- let alone when someone is

speaking -- in case he’s a member of a candidate forum. Elizabeth

Pearson was the only one to indicate support for limiting public

comment to 30 minutes and limiting comments to a minute and a half.

The other candidates all indicated broad support for public input

(although Steve Dicterow blasted Mayor Wayne Baglin’s supportive

style of running City Council meetings).

Pearson was the only candidate who expressed disappointment that

the boondoggle flood control project was canned. This project

would’ve jeopardized businesses with a torn up Downtown Laguna for

two-plus years. All this and it would provide little protection from

100-year floods, and give us protection only from “10-year” floods.

She must live above the floodwater line, or have a business that

would be unaffected by construction. Forget that we seem to have a

“10-year” flood about every two or three years, and that this project

would do little to protect us from more serious flooding. Or that it

would’ve all but destroyed one of Laguna’s most precious gems: Main

Beach. There was a reason why the current City Council shot it down

in spite of the fact that much of it was paid for. It was terrible

planning and would’ve been bad for Laguna in the long run as well as

the short run.

I’ve got three votes and four candidates. I know who I’m not

voting for: Elizabeth Pearson. I want someone who will support my

right to provide public input at Laguna Beach City Council meetings.

As it happens, most of the leaders of environmental groups in Laguna

I am aware of will be voting for Melissa O’Neal, Toni Iseman and

Steve Dicterow.


Laguna Beach

A tip on pro-view candidates

Over the last several weeks, representatives of the Safety and

View Preservation ad hoc group have interviewed all four candidates

for City Council regarding their position on preservation and

restoration of Laguna’s unique and beautiful public and private view

sheds. We made it clear to all of the candidates that the support of

people who love our scenic views was totally dependent on how

strongly the candidates personally and publicly support

implementation of a strong, fair, and effective view preservation and

restoration ordinance enforced by the city.

The good news this year is that all four of the council candidates

support either a right to a view and/or view equity and enforcement

by the city in an effective ordinance. However, after more than 10

years of frustrating meetings with the city, we have done the

research to determine which of the current candidates most strongly

supports prompt action on this critical issue. After meeting with

each of the candidates, analyzing their past performance, and

reviewing their campaign literature for position statements we have

arrived at the following recommendations. We have determined that

Elizabeth Pearson and Steve Dicterow have made the strongest

commitments for prompt enactment of a strong, fair and effective view

preservation/restoration ordinance and therefore are most deserving

of strong support from the citizens of Laguna. Candidates Melissa

O’Neal and Toni Iseman are also supportive but seem to lack the same

degree of commitment.

We encourage every citizen in Laguna to vote in November and as a

result of our meetings and research we recommend everyone vote for

Pearson and Dicterow.


Laguna Beach

Grand Prix planning was short sighted

What were they thinking?

Blocking off the city, the entire Downtown, was a stupid or

perverse action that deserves a recall of the entire board! The huge

inconvenience that was brought down on not only residents of this

jolly burg, but everyone else who was caught unawares in the morass

of traffic that was caused by the decision to hold a bike race in


I don’t know what the Downtown businesses must have thought, but I

hope that most of them just decided to take the day off. I had plans

and reservations to meet at a Downtown restaurant for lunch with

several friends. None of us could get near the place.

I had an appointment on the north side of town and there was on

only one way to get there. Crown Valley to the toll road to Newport

Coast Road to PCH, back into town. That was quicker than the crawl of

traffic going along Coast Highway. I first tried that route and it

took me half an hour to get from Bluebird Canyon to Thalia, where I

finally gave up. Nothing was moving; Glenneyre, Catalina, even Wilson

and Wendt were backed up, and they had no place at all to go after


This town is not designed to block off Downtown for anything, but

at least we have some kind of warning -- at least those of us who

live here -- like Patriots Day and the Christmas tree thing, but

this, as even an avid reader of the Coastline Pilot, I must have

missed an issue, and did not have a clue about it until I called the

Police Department Traffic Conditions number to find out just what the

heck this was about.

How would all those folks just trying to take a leisurely drive up

or down Coast Highway on a “nothing is going on” Saturday ever find

out that they were going to spend the entire day trying to get

through Laguna? They must love us!

I had the occasion to talk to one of our men in blue and suggested

that he might try directing traffic to get things to go faster. As

frustrated as he was over all the mess, he took the time to tell me

that he agreed with me fully and that it not only is a stupid thing

to do but hugely dangerous, since even they cannot get through, all

the city’s assets are tied up in traffic and if there were a

disaster, there would be no way to unsnarl it.

The only lucky thing was that the day was dark and overcast and

the huge number of people who were in town the Saturday before to go

to the beach were not present, that would have doubled the number of

people stuck in traffic.

This does nothing for our business, for our residents or for

people who might just want to drive through and look. It shows that

our council, by approving this, has no concern for the results of

what they do.


Laguna Beach

Grand Prix was fun and exciting

What a great event that was. I had never seen a criterion race

before and how exciting it was. It’s nice to have an event that can

get the who family involved, i.e. clinics. I thought it was very well

done and look forward to participating next year, as I think I can

stay with some of the older guys.


Laguna Beach

I’m a Cat. 2 racer from Scottsdale, Ariz. and I participated in

the Laguna Beach Grand Prix.

I wanted to let the organizers, sponsors and the town of Laguna

Beach know that the inaugural race was a huge success. I will be

planning on attending this race for years to come. I always attend

the Manhattan Beach Grand Prix every year for the same reasons. The

town is beautiful, the people were wonderful and the food and

atmosphere was perfect.

Next year I hope there isn’t any conflicts on the National

Calendar, because this could easily be one of the instant classics in

cycling. Next year I will be bringing my new team and all of our

support staff and we plan on making it a full weekend. I look forward

to seeing the race on the calendar next year.

Again, what a beautiful town. It was my first time visiting.


Scottsdale, Ariz.

Every great athlete is an artist

Has everyone forgotten that the most revered athletes in the world

are known as artists? Mohammed Ali is an Artist. Michael Jordan is an


Tiger Woods is an Artist. The list goes on and on. Where’s the

shame in that sort of association?


Laguna Beach

When I was young and in high school, I was uninformed,

inexperienced, insensitive to others and thought that I was really

hot stuff.

I liked art but, being young and stupid, I wouldn’t take art

classes because I didn’t want to be a sissy.

After playing basketball for the National Championship and putting

in more than three years in the U.S. Army, almost a year on the front

lines in Germany and Czechoslovakia, I decided that I was not a sissy

after all. When World War II ended, I enrolled in the school of Art

at the University of Missouri, where I played basketball and received

by BA in art and BS in industrial education.

In 1953 I coached the Laguna Beach High School varsity basketball

team. We won the Southern California Basketball Championship. Clyde

Cook was a member of that team. He was voted most valuable basketball

player for Southern California. He was an aggressive player but also

an “Artist.”

I not only coached basketball but taught the junior high art

classes. I felt like both a coach and an artist when we practiced and

played. The court was our canvas and the dribbling, passing, running

and controlling the player’s movements were like brush strokes

creating their own team masterpiece. They were truly “Artists” and

they were “Champions.”

When there are big waves, they are called “Breakers.” When the

ocean is calm with no waves, a breaker is so small, it is not even a

ripple. To be a true champion one must always be creative, dominant

and control the game. To me, that is the definition of an “Artist.”

Our five children and three of our grandchildren are all proud to

have been Artists and I feel blessed and fortunate to have lived in

our wonderful community for more than 52 years. Go Artists.


Laguna Beach

* The Coastline Pilot is eager to run your letters. If your

letter does not appear it may be due to space restrictions and will

likely appear next week. If you would like to submit a letter, write

to us at P.O. Box 248 Laguna Beach CA 92652, fax us at 494-8979 or

send e-mail to Please give your name and

include your hometown and phone number for verification purposes