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Briefly In the News

Building permit issues are topic for new group

A group of Laguna Beach building professionals has formed an alliance dedicated to simplifying the construction permit process.

Pro Laguna is still in the formative stage, according to designer and contractor Gregg Abel, who announced the formation of the group at the June 2 Laguna Beach City Council meeting.

“We want to put our best foot forward to get all permits approved,” said Abel, a member of the group’s board of directors.


The board also includes Lance Polster, Ken Fischbeck, David Parker Ben Benumof and Stephen Coontz.

“We want to act proactively to get permits approved, and maybe simplify the process,” Polster said.

“Economic conditions have changed things and the city is at a real turning point. When the economy is hot, there is a lot of interest in development, but now people are not sure. If the process is complex they wonder if they go for it and some are saying no.”

Others are building without permits.


“Neither is good,” Polster said. “We want the council’s approval to work with the staff.”

According to the brochure presented to the council the group is concerned about a development policy that is reactive and Pro Laguna seeks to be pro-active.

They believe development is an overly complicated process that needs to be simplified, and one that unites rather than divides neighbors.

For more information, visit

Chamber’s Renaissance Faire set for July 6

The Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce’s Renaissance Faire and Hometown BBQ will take place from 5 to 8:30 p.m. July 6 at 725 Laguna Canyon Road, across from the Festival of Arts.

The faire features costumed performers the Imperial Knights, special entertainment, and medieval costumes are requested of all attendees.

Admission to the faire and the Pageant of the Masters is $80; VIP tickets are $125; and admission to the faire only is $25. For more information, call (949) 494-1018.


Blount memorial today at Monument Park

A memorial service for Ben Blount will take place at 10 a.m. today at Monument Point at Heisler Park.

Following the memorial, everyone is invited to the Laguna Beach Woman’s Club, 286 St. Ann’s Drive, for refreshments and to meet family members from 11:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Multiple beach cleanups slated for June 20

The Clean Water Now! Coalition is coordinating the Quarterly California Coastal Commission Adopt-A-Beach Cleanup in Laguna Beach from 9 a.m. to noon June 20.

The cleanup takes place at Main Beach, Victoria Beach and Treasure Island/Montage Resort & Spa.

Gloves, bags and educational materials are provided. For more information, contact Roger von Bütow at

Officials OK city’s request for trolley funds


The Federal Highway Administration and the Federal Transit Administration have approved the city’s request to use federal funds for the purchase of three new trolleys, City Manager Ken Frank announced in his June 5 update to city staff.

“This paves the way for use of $500,000 in federal stimulus funds that will be made available through OCTA,” Frank said. The funds are expected to be available in early 2010.

Marine Mammal Center benefit set for July 23

Pacific Marine Mammal Center’s summer fundraiser, “Sea Lion Sunset Cruise,” will be aboard the Endeavor yacht in Newport Beach from 6 to 9 p.m. July 23. Ticket prices are $45 per person and include food, entertainment, and a three-hour cruise around Newport Harbor. A silent auction and raffle prizes will also be featured. All proceeds benefit the seal and sea lion patients in recovery at Pacific Marine Mammal Center. For tickets, call (949) 494-3050 or visit at