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City Council Meeting Wrap-Up

The following is from the Feb. 2 City Council meeting.

Short-term rentals

During public comment, Earle Wellsfry complained the city was checking the Internet for illegal vacation rentals and using the information to enforce the code. He said he had never had a complaint from neighbors about his rental unit, which includes a kitchen, downstairs from where the property owner lives. The home is zoned as a single-family residential.

Laura Wellsfry said the city’s goals should be revenue generation and the ability to create an eclectic community and a “one-size-fits-all solution" defeats those goals.

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“A hotel with a hot tub and a pool is not a vacation for a mother," said Wellsfry, who volunteered to serve on a committee to work on a solution.

City Manager Ken Frank said about 60 permits have been issued for short-term rentals that are legal and operating with support from neighbors. However, he said, the Wellsfrys’ proposed short-term rental is illegal because of the zoning.

He concluded that the only solutions would be rezoning the block or changing the second unit ordinance, both lengthy processes and likely to meet with a lot of opposition.

Frank offered to meet with the family but was not optimistic about finding a solution they would like.

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Waste ordinance amendment

The council unanimously gave preliminary approval to a proposed amendment to the city’s waste discharge pretreatment and source control ordinance, which establishes a policy to regulate materials discharged into the sewer system and defines authorities and their responsibilities, discharge permit terms, pretreatment and monitoring, and permit and enforcement fees.

WHAT IT MEANS

The amendment will bring the code and Emergency Response Plan into compliance with Environmental Protection Agency regulations, update the code to accommodate current procedures and reflect changes in language and designation changes in the past 13 years.

Cox competition

The council heard a presentation by a Cox Cable representative explaining its filing with the Federal Communications Commission for a determination that there is effective competition for customers in the South County communities it serves.

Iseman requested the presentation and council consideration of opposing the petition, which the Dana Point council did.

WHAT IT MEANS

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The council took no action and the filing may shortly become moot in Laguna, according to Cox Public Affairs Director Jim Leach. He indicated in an e-mail to the city manager that if satellite penetration in Laguna Beach reaches 15% "” it was 14.73% as of Jan. 21 "” effective competition has been demonstrated and no petition would be needed.

Appeal decision hedged

The council unanimously denied an appeal of neighbors of a hedge height violation that no longer exists, but upheld the determination of the Design Review Board at the time that a violation did exist when the claim was made that a hedge at 1473 Bluebird Canyon Drive violated city height regulations and should be reduced, per the city’s landscape architect’s determination.

The hedge had since been modified and only a single tree remained, which the council declined to order removed or reduced in height, because tree heights are not regulated in the same manner as hedges.

WHAT IT MEANS

If the property owner allows vegetation to grow that resembles what was cleared, the council will consider the hedge restored and the landscape architect’s recommendations will be implemented.

"” Compiled by Barbara Diamond



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