City Council Meeting Wrap-Up

The following is from the April 19 meeting of the Laguna Beach City Council. Councilman Kelly Boyd was absent.

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During public comments, Jason Unger said the lack of bike lanes in Laguna Beach poses a hazard to cyclists. He asked the council to post Share the Road signs in certain areas and suggested painting dotted lines on some streets to indicate they are tentative bike lanes, which cars may use if not occupied by cyclists.

Mayor Pro Tem Jane Egly invited Unger and other cyclists to attend the Complete Streets Task Force meetings at 4 p.m. on the second Tuesdays of the month at the Community Center, 380 Third St.

"We are working on exactly what you are talking about," she said. "I'd love to have you come."

City Manager John Pietig reported on the proposed traffic signal at Emerald Bay during the council chat portion, at the request of council members who had expressed concern about the impact on parents driving their children to El Morro Elementary School.

The signal only applies to the northbound Coast Highway lanes. The right-hand turning lane into Emerald Bay and the left-hand pocket lane coming out would be extended.

Mayor Toni Iseman compared the signal to the one south of Crown Valley Parkway, leading out of Monarch Bay Plaza.

Queuing to get into Emerald Bay could be a problem, causing vehicles to stack up behind the queue, Pietig said.

He also said he and Public Works Director Steve May are looking into what happens if the signal is first triggered for a left turn in and then a left turn out.

Orange County has issued a coastal development permit for the project. The California Coastal Commission, the county and Emerald Bay are discussing whether the project can be appealed to the commission, Pietig said.

Egly announced the city recently received slabs extracted from World Trade Center after 911.

Funding for an additional goat herd in fiscal year 2010-11 was approved in the consent calendar to deal with the vegetation resulting from the rain in the past two winters, to cost $55,000, taken from savings in existing accounts.

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The Parking, Traffic and Circulation Committee recommended adding two parking spaces in front of 1005 Skyline Drive. The home, allegedly owned by a member of the committee, had been recently remodeled and a wall was constructed along the property line in front of the house, which the property owner said defined an on-street parking area.

Rollinger and Egly said they had visited the site and the street is too narrow to add parking spaces.

WHAT IT MEANS

Spaces denied.

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Hedge Height ordinance amended 4-0

The council gave final approval to municipal code amendments related to hedge heights, claim provisions and definitions.

WHAT IT MEANS

Claims that a neighbor's hedge blocks sun and air, or is unsafe will be cheaper to file, but height limits were not specified.

The amended ordinance reduces costs of filing a complaint, noticing neighbors of a hearing, eliminating appeals to the Design Review Board and refunding 50% of the filing fee if the claim is determined to be valid. The city picks up the tab for the remaining 50% of the validated claim fees.

Tree owners probably cannot legally be billed because they are not voluntarily involved in the process, City Atty. Philip Kohn said.

Once a claim is validated, fines can be assessed for every day over the specified time limit to correct the violations, unless exceptional circumstances prevent the remediation.

Under the proposed ordinance, hedge owners will be required to remedy validated claims related to safety within 30 days. Remediation of claims related to sunlight and views can take up to 90 days.

The city may also complete remediation and assess the hedge owner for the costs.

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•Anticipated litigation regarding significant exposure to litigation related to the designation of heritage trees; and possible code enforcement at 650 Oak St.

Conference with negotiators on the price and terms of possible acquisition of Driftwood Property parcels, which the City Council declined to accept in the closed session of the April 5 meeting.

Talks are underway between the California Coastal Commission and the California Coastal Conservancy on transfer of ownership, said Pietig, who is representing the city in the negotiations.

He is also representing the city in negotiations on the price and terms of possible acquisition of 725 Laguna Canyon Road and with attorney David Larsen in labor negotiations with the Firefighters, Police Employees, Municipal Employees and Marine Safety associations.

A city representative has not yet been determined for negotiations with the Festival of Arts on terms of the lease for the Irvine Bowl Park.

The festival is represented by the board president.

No actions were announced.

— Compiled by Barbara Diamond

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