City Council voted Tuesday to approve stalled plans to build a
residence in Irvine Cove that some neighbors worried would obstruct
their ocean views.
After considering comments from property owner Ron Loder, several
neighbors, attorneys and architects, council members voted 3-1 in
favor of Loder's request to appeal the Design Review Board's Nov. 6
decision. On that date the board voted unanimously to reject Loder's
At the end of the hearing, Loder expressed his satisfaction with
the outcome, though not the series of events that led to the hearing.
"I'm happy, but I'm disappointed it had to come to this," he said.
The appeal was Loder's second attempt to get approval from the
City Council following a rejection from the board. On May 20, the
council upheld the boards unanimous April 3 rejection of Loder's
Loder and his wife, Yolanda, purchased a one-acre lot on Riviera
Drive in June of 2002. They first presented plans to construct a
13,278-square-foot home with a 1,159-square-foot garage and
5,032-square-foot basement before Design Review in February. Loder
filed his appeal after the board rejected his plans in November.
Neighborhood opponents of Loder's plan expressed concerns his
proposed residence would unfairly obstruct whitewater views they have
enjoyed as the coastal bluff lot owned by Loder remained undeveloped.
Irvine Cove resident Andy Alison told the council he was not
satisfied by design modifications Loder presented to the board as
they did not preserve ocean views as seen from his living room,
though he was willing to accept blocked views from other vantage
"We gave up 50% to 75% of our view," Alison said.
"Everything else we agree with," he added.
The consulting architect on the project, Morris Skenderian, said
planners had worked to accommodate Alison's concerns, but he
acknowledged views from Alison's living room would not be preserved.
Loder and his architects argued they had made reasonable efforts
to preserve view equity, pointing out the proposed residence would
rise an average of 6.67 feet above the curb.
Opponents of the plan hoped to prevent the Loder residence from
rising more than 4-feet, 8-inches over the curb line. Laguna Beach
city regulations allow for homes to rise up to 14 feet above the
Though Loder's architects did not adjust plans for the residence
between the second and third Design Review hearings, they did make an
adjustment prior to appearing before the City Council. By making what
was called the "3-foot compromise," Loder and his architects agreed
to lower the master bedroom by three feet.
The day after the hearing, Alison said he was disappointed with
the council, with one exception, voted to deny the appeal after
upholding the review board's decision earlier in the year.
"All the council members, except Toni Iseman, buckled under the
pressure," he said.
The decision does not allow the Loders to start construction. The
council required that landscaping plans be submitted to the Design
Review Board for future approval.