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CITY COUNCIL WRAP-UP

The following is from the July 22 meeting of the Laguna Beach City Council.

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South Laguna sidewalks 5-0

A proposal was approved to provide funding for sidewalks along Coast Highway in South Laguna in next year’s 10-year capital improvement program.

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WHAT IT MEANS

Opportunities to install a continuous sidewalk on the ocean side of the highway will be studied.

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Beach and park buildings 5-0

The council approved a general plan and local coastal plan amendment that would exempt some public-serving structures from the 500-square-foot, one-story limit on the size and heights of structures in parks and on beaches.

City officials noted that Heisler Park and the Main Beach restrooms, the Lawn Bowling Clubhouse, the current lifeguard headquarters "” not to mention the proposed lifeguard headquarters "” all exceed the limit.

The amendment would allow larger structures “if the structures were deemed by the city as necessary to provide public benefit uses."

Inn at Laguna spokesman Dave Shepherd spoke in opposition to the amendment.

“We are concerned that all of the environmental impacts of this proposal have not been properly analyzed as required by the California Environmental Act," Shepherd said.

Shepherd argued that an environmental impact report should have been done for the amendment, because changing the limits on the size of structures could impact views and biology. Shepherd has opposed a proposed new Lifeguard Headquarters at Main Beach, which would greatly exceed the 500-square-foot benchmark.

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WHAT IT MEANS

New projects on the parks and beaches could exceed the one-story, 500-square-foot limit on a case-by-case basis, subject to city review.

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Possible Civic Arts District expansion 5-0

The council directed the Planning Commission to explore areas adjacent to the Civic Arts District for expansion potential.

One possibility is Ocean Avenue, now restricted to resident-serving businesses under the Downtown Specific Plan, which some on the council believe doesn’t work to the best advantage of the area.

WHAT IT MEANS

If a district is approved, businesses would be allowed off-site parking to fulfill requirements, which is not allowed in the Downtown Specific Plan area.

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Taxi voucher program expansion 5-0

Suggestions were offered to increase patronage of the taxi voucher program, including easier voucher purchases and better incentives to the taxi companies, which have not always responded with alacrity to requests for vouchered service.

Vouchers cost $3, available only at City Hall, and are good for a ride from any point in the city to the downtown and vice versa, from 5:30 p.m. to 2:30 a.m. Monday through Saturday, and 8 a.m. to 2:23 a.m. Sundays.

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WHAT IT MEANS

The city manager was instructed to analyze the benefits of promoting the service to key user groups, such as seniors who might take a taxi to church or use one for grocery shopping; increasing the companies’ reimbursement, which is now $10 per ride; and extending the operating hours to weekdays, at least for seniors, so they could use the taxis for essential errands, such as medical appointments.

Frank’s recommendations are tentatively scheduled for Tuesday’s agenda.

Appeal (269 Forest Ave.) 3-2, Pearson and Kinsman opposed

The council split on Alan Hall’s appeal of the Planning Commission approval of modifications to a building he owns on Forest Avenue.

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WHAT IT MEANS

Hall will be allowed to install windows that will extend all the way to the ground, rather than stop a foot short for a bulkhead. The doors will be centered.

"” Barbara Diamond



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