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‘Nuisance’ charges filed against city panelist

A former member of the Laguna Beach Design Review Board, currently on the Heritage Committee, is being criminally prosecuted for allegedly creating “an attractive nuisance” by accumulating junk, debris and weeds at her home at 872 Cliff Drive.

Linda Morgenlander, an architect, was arraigned July 24 in Orange County Superior Court on three counts of violating the municipal code, according to court records.

The charges include:

 Failure to maintain property from trash, garbage, rubbish, refuse, debris and vegetation that may prove a hazard to minors;

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 Accumulation of lumber, junk, trash or debris; and

 Weeds, rubbish or other material creating a public nuisance.

The city’s code enforcement officer filed a notice of violation against Morgenlander on April 9, 2007.

On Sept. 11, an order was issued requiring the condition to be corrected.

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That was followed by a letter issued Jan. 29 indicating that Morgenlander faced fines totaling $1,000 a day if the property was not cleaned up. She was then notified July 9 that a criminal complaint would be filed July 10.

City Atty. Glen Worthington would not comment on the case, which is set for another arraignment Sept. 4.

“The city attorney’s office won’t discuss pending litigation,” Worthington said.

Morgenlander’s attorney, Alfons Wagner, also declined to comment, as did Morgenlander herself.

If convicted, Morgenlander faces a maximum six months in jail, fines of $1,000 a day for the time during which the alleged violations were not corrected, and pay restitution to the city, among other punishments. The home, an English Revival Cottage built in 1931, is registered as a historic property in the city.



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