City Council Meeting Wrap-Up

Coastline Pilot

The following is from the Laguna Beach City Council meeting of May 18. 'Bed' tax extended City hotels and motels are voluntarily assessed 2% of their hotel "bed" taxes to be used to fund art organizations and programs that bring tourists to Laguna Beach. The assessment must be approved annually and a public meeting held to hear any protests of its continuation.

There was no opposition, and the council unanimously approved the continuation of the district for another year, although with estimated revenue reduced from $1.5 million to $1.3 million due the economy.

WHAT IT MEANS The reduced estimate means 13% less funding for the Laguna Beach Visitor's Bureau, the Laguna College of Art & Design, Laguna Playhouse and Laguna Art Museum. There will be no impact on the Special Arts Commission Programs or Cultural Arts Grants, which are spent a year in arrears, until fiscal year 2010-11.

Arch Beach Heights Park bid A new bid for construction of the revised plan for Arch Beach Heights was unanimously approved. A $309,950 contract was awarded to Green Horizons Landscape and Maintenance. The project includes improvements to the already-funded pedestrian trail proposed for construction on portions of the unimproved rights-of-way known as Cortez Avenue and Palo Alto Street. The city manager was also authorized to acquire additional land for open space at a cost of $40,000, plus up to $5,000 in expenses.

WHAT IT MEANS The improvements include concrete stairs, a decomposed granite pathway, landscaping, irrigation and fuel modification and connect to the existing sewer lift station access road on Alisos and Oro rights-of-way, which will also serve as part of the trail.

Abandonment of easements Restoration of public facilities after the 2005 landslide included some minor relocations to improve public safety or to accommodate new facilities such as the Bluebird Canyon storm drain. Easements were granted by the landslide victims, but the city is obliged to abandon those no longer needed.

The council approved a resolution that initiates the process of abandoning old and unnecessary rights of way in Bluebird Canyon and a small portion of Flamingo Road right-of-way.

WHAT IT MEANS A hearing will be scheduled on the proposed abandonment. Notice of the hearing will be published or posted by the City Clerk.

Group home uses to be reviewed The city manager and city attorney were directed by the council unanimously to evaluate efforts by Newport Beach to regulate residential group home uses. The state has prohibited cities from banning homes in residential neighborhoods for six or fewer unrelated people used as residences for recovering alcoholics and addicts.

WHAT IT MEANS The evaluation could lead to changes in the Laguna Beach Municipal Code related to the use of group homes.

Boyd on hospital sub-committee Council members Jane Egly and Cheryl Kinsman represented the city when Adventist Health was selling South Coast Medical Center

However, Kinsman is no longer on the council and Egly continued to serve alone. She recommended a second member be appointed to reenergize the subcommittee. Boyd volunteered. The council approved the appointment on a 4-0 vote, with Pearson recusing herself.

WHAT IT MEANS Egly said the continuation of committee will ensure that the council is involved with and aware of issues related to the hospital.

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