City Council Wrap-Up

The following are from the Jan. 5 City Council meeting.

PUBLIC COMMENT

Dennis McHale asked on behalf of the Canyon Land Conservation Fund and Transition Laguna for reimbursement of the fees for renting the Festival Forum Theater and associated administration fees for the screening of a film.

Stephanie Skenderian announced the Laguna Beach Woman's Club's annual Mayor's Appreciation Luncheon will be Feb. 5 at the clubhouse on St. Ann's Drive.

COUNCIL/STAFF CHAT

The council offered to split the fees for the rental of the Forum Theater, but the offer was declined. The fees remained in place.

Mayor Elizabeth Pearson reported meeting with Rep. John Campbell's staffer Lew Penrose about the preservation of the South Laguna Post Office, which has been short-listed for closure.

The list of possible closures in Orange County by the Postal Service to save money has been reduced from 20 to two.

Pearson reported that Penrose is aware of the situation and has been able to help preserve some other small stations.

FESTIVAL OF ARTS LEASE MODIFICATION, 5-0

Modifications proposed to clarify the boundaries and legal description of the site, limitations on demonstrations at other locations and council approval for specific capital improvements on the grounds.

WHAT IT MEANS

The amended lease updated the site plan of the premises and approved $1.4 million in capital improvements as eligible for reimbursement from the Festival Capital Improvement Fund.

Reimbursement will be paid out over the next five or six years as the required 6% of specified revenues are paid annually into the improvement fund.

EXTERNAL LINKS ON THE CITY WEBSITE APPROVED, 5-0

The council adopted a revised website policy that incorporates the more common external link policies of other local cities, amending the city's previous practice of limiting external links to federal, state, educational institutions, school districts and similar governmental agencies; links to local nongovernmental sites with broad community interest such as the Chamber of Commerce, Visitors Bureau and art festivals; and links added at council such as the Arts Directory.

WHAT IT MEANS

Links in general will consist of city-related programs, services, activities, policies and committees, but no political groups or individuals unless the link is to a website that contains only speech the city wishes to adopt as its owns as indicated by council action.

The city shall maintain sole discretion over which links may be included on the city's website and reserves the right to remove any link at any time with or without cause.

BLUEBIRD LIFE STATION BUDGET AMENDED, 5-0

The council appropriated $600,000 from the sewer fund to finish paying for the Bluebird Lift Station rehabilitation that City Manager Ken Frank has described as the "project from hell."

It took longer than expected and cost more due to the extent of the required wet well repairs.

Excluding the unforeseen wet well repairs, the project came in within the $2,032,900 budget allocated.

WHAT IT MEANS

The appropriation allows the contractors who completed the wet well repairs and rehabilitation to be paid and the project to be closed out upon final certification.

VARIANCE FEES MODIFIED, 5-0

The council approved changes in the variance fees charged by the planning and zoning divisions.

WHAT IT MEANS

Upfront fees for smaller projects were reduced as recommended by the Design Review Task Force to adopt a more equitable application-fee structure.

The new fee structure is $525 plus $1.50 per $1,000 of building permit value above $35,000, up to $15,000.

Formerly the fee was $2,100 plus $3.50 per $100 of building permit value, up to $10,000. That meant any house of 1,107 square feet or more would pay $10,000. Under the new structure a property owner of a 1,000 square-foot residence would pay $3,058 in variance fees.

WATER EFFICIENT EVALUATION FOR CITY HALL LAWN, 5-0

Frank was directed to evaluate the possible replacement of the lawn in front of City Hall with a drought tolerant species and plantings that use less water.

WHAT IT MEANS

Water could be saved, but City Hall might lose its historic appearance and care would have to be taken that the pepper tree is not compromised by any changes.

DARK SKIES STUDIED, 5-0

Concerns about outdoor night lighting that residents claim have dimmed the stars and blighted their views triggered a proposal to direct staff to consult with the Planning Commission and the Design Review Board on changes to the standards.

WHAT IT MEANS

Frank will work with the commission, the board and the Environmental Committee to determine if changes are necessary to ensure that outdoor lighting provisions are the minimum needed for public safety without impacting neighbors or hillside residents.

Residential landscape and security lighting will be included in the review.

OPPOSITION TO THE ORANGE COUNTY FAIRGROUNDS SALE, 4-1

A council majority opposed the sale of the fairgrounds in Costa Mesa as proposed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Councilwoman Jane Egly said if the governor is taking away money from education and other programs then why not sell the property. She opposed the opposition. Council opposition to the sale as proposed was to be faxed Jan. 6 to Costa Mesa and the governor's office in Sacramento.

SMALL CARS LOSE PREFERENTIAL SPACES, 5-0

An experiment in providing special spaces on Ocean Avenue for parking "small" cars, such as golf carts, did not have the intended results. Small apparently is in the eye of the beholder.

WHAT IT MEANS

The council voted to repeal Resolution .09.062, and eliminate the undersized parking, returning it to parking for motorcycles or average sized cars.

APPEAL APPROVED, 5-0

The council reversed a Design Review Board approval of a 497-square-foot addition to a single-family residence at 420 Ruby St.

WHAT IT MEANS

The project was sent back to the board for reductions in size and lot coverage.

"” Barbara Diamond


Copyright © 2019, Daily Pilot
EDITION: California | U.S. & World
54°