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Planners OK cottage storage permit

The Planning Commission on Wednesday voted 4-1 in favor of a temporary-use permit to store four Third Street cottages on city property in Laguna Canyon.

Commissioners recommended limiting the storage to the end of September and tacked on several conditions that were not included in the project as proposed by the city.

The City Council will hear the recommended version of the permit at Tuesday’s meeting, as an appeal.

Among the conditions recommended by the commission: a fire alarm system; brush clearing under and around the cottage; daily foot patrols to discourage nesters, human or otherwise; structurally strong fencing; and measures to preserve the trees on the Big Bend parcel.

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City officials filed and noticed an appeal of the commission’s recommendation before the commission hearing to preempt the usual 14-day appeal period, which would have delayed the relocation and demolition of the structures remaining on the site of the approved community/senior center.

Community Services Director Susan Cannan said the city wants to begin the relocation in the middle of March, and the demolition should be completed by the end of the month. Groundbreaking for the center is scheduled for April 1, with all preparation for the project to end before the tourist season begins. Construction will resume in the fall.

Veteran Commissioner Norm Grossman voted against the permit due to procedure, not the project. He believes the city should be held to the same standards as private developers.

“This is an unsatisfactory application,” he said. “If the Montage had put this in for the parking lot, we would have laughed them out of the room. I cannot vote for this. The city does not get a free ride.”

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In anticipation of the commission approval of the permit, the council awarded contracts at last Tuesday’s meeting for the relocation and demolition, as requested by City Manager Ken Frank.

“I am recommending approval with the hope you don’t change your minds next Tuesday when you are hearing on the TUP [temporary-use permit] recommendations by the Planning Commission,” Frank said.

Only one bid was received for relocating the houses from 368, 374, 386 and 390 Third St. to Big Bend, and Younger Bros. House Moving was awarded a $108,000 contract. The low bid of $25,717 for the demolition was rescinded by the bidder, and a $64,000 contract was awarded to Thomas Land Clearing to clean up the Third Street site.


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