City Council Meeting Wrap-Up

The following is from the Jan. 4 meeting of the Laguna Beach City Council.


School board honored

January is School Board Recognition Month. Mayor Toni Iseman presented a proclamation to members of the Laguna board, specifically honoring its contributions to the children of Laguna Beach.

"The proclamation doesn't say enough," said Iseman, a retired educator. "Our board exemplifies everything we could want."

Outgoing board President Ketta Brown, newly elected President Theresa O'Hare and board Clerk Betsy Jenkins accepted the proclamation.


Homeless Fund established

Former county nurse, Mari Hill Merryman, who tended the homeless in Laguna, announced the formation of Michael's Fund, which will provide first and last month utility deposits for people leaving the homeless shelter to establish living quarters for themselves.

The fund is named for her late husband, Michael Merryman. Contributions to the fund came from doctors who were his classmates and wanted to donate something in his honor, Merryman said.

Merryman told the council that the city's generosity and kindness to its homeless impressed her and her husband, so her first thought was to buy coats for Laguna's homeless population. However, she recalled the adage that it is better to teach people to fish than give them a fish and she decided to set up the trust fund to help out folks leaving the shelter.

Grants will be restricted to the Laguna Beach homeless population and will be administered by Merryman.


Brooks Street art issue settled

Bruce Hopping urged the council to approve a sculpture to be installed at the Brooks Street beach access.

Asked for a response, Arts Commission Chairwoman Mary Ferguson said that when the sculpture approved for the site was withdrawn by the artists, funding went back into the Art in Public Places account.

Commissioner Pat Kollenda said the commission felt that the stair risers done by ceramist Marlo Bartels were art and the view is so spectacular that no other art was needed.


Praise for flood responders

Councilman Kelly Boyd commended City Manager John Pietig for his quick action during the flood in the flood and expressed appreciation to City Project Manager Wade Brown, Deputy Fire Chief Jeff LaTendresse, police Capt. Mike Hall, Community Development Director John Montgomery, Marine Safety Chief Kevin Snow, Director of Public Works Steve May, Fire Chief Kris Head and Police Chief Paul Workman.

"I am amazed at how quickly [staff] was able to organize and get contractors with heavy equipment out on the street," Boyd said.

Mayor Pro Tem Jane Egly commended Deputy City Clerk Lizette Chel for sheltering a flood victim and her three children until further assistance was provided.

Egly also thanked Pietig for calling the Dec. 31 meeting that provided residents with the opportunity to explain to the council, city staff and emergency assistance resources exactly what they needed immediately and in the future. She also thanked Waste Management's Michelle Clark for her help to the victims.


Proclamation of local emergency extended

A proclamation of a local emergency was adopted by the council on Dec. 24. The proclamation has a shelf life of 21 days, which would have run out before the Jan. 18 council meeting, so it was added to the Jan. 4 agenda to allow staff to identify and resolve all issues related to the damage caused by the Dec. 22 flood. The extension was adopted on a 5-0 vote.


The California Emergency Services Act requires that the proclamation must be reviewed at least every 21 days for it to remain in effect.


'Sustainability' added to design criteria

The council approved unanimously on second reading the inclusion of sustainability criteria in the city's zoning code. The California Coastal Commission will be asked to certify the related Local Coastal Program Amendment.


New development should consider architecture and building practices that would minimize environmental impacts and enhance energy efficiency by proper site and structural design; increase a building's ability to capture or generate energy; use of low-impact, sustainable and recycled building materials and best management practices regarding waste and water management; and reduce site emissions.


OCTA rep appointed

Rollinger was appointed unanimously to represent the city at two public workshops organized by the Orange County Transportation Authority and to report back to the council on transportation options.


The OCTA study is intended to improve fixed-route and paratransit service with efficient, cost-effective, sustainable service methods in line with the authority's budget and funding forecast for the 1-to-3-year short term, 3-to-7-year intermediate term and 7-to-10-year long term.


Zoning ordinance terms defined

The council gave preliminary approval, 5 to 0, to new definitions of "major remodel" and "kitchen" to be added to the zoning ordinance and amendments to sections of the municipal code that conflict with the proposed definition of "major remodel."

A second hearing is required for enactment.


"We are trying to plug up a loophole in the ordinance," Montgomery said. The current definition of "kitchen" is vague and often difficult to enforce and needs to be clarified, he said. Under the proposed new definition of "major remodel," three thresholds would individually trigger the designation:

•Demolition, removal or reconstruction of 50% or more of the existing, above grade exterior wall area;

•Demolition, removal and/or reconstruction of 50% or more of existing floors, not including decks, combined with the roof framing system, not including eaves;

•One-or-more additions to the existing structure within any consecutive three-year period that increases the square footage by 50% or more.

Additions to existing buildings that do not create a structure that exceeds a total of 1,500 square feet are exempt.

Exemptions also include replacement or upgrades to meet earthquake, flood-proofing, energy or California Building Code accessibility requirements; filling in existing window and door openings, foundation repair and replacement of roof coverings that add no expansion.

The definition does not include interior walls.

—Compiled by Barbara Diamond

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