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City Council Meeting Wrap-Up

The following is from the June 7 Laguna Beach City Council meeting:

The council unanimously approved acquisition of the Domanskis property in South Laguna, provided the Planning Commission determines it is consistent with the city’s General Plan, and an agreement is reached on conditions placed on the purchase by Coastal Conservancy funds and on its subsequent lease to the county.

Four lots, 31800 and 31802 Mar Vista, and two with no address, are included in the 8-acre property.

The acquisition is supported by the Laguna Canyon Foundation, Laguna Greenbelt Inc., Laguna Canyon Conservancy and OC Parks.


Acquisition and closing costs are estimated to be $760,000, which would be covered by Proposition 12 funds.

The council reappointed Arts Commissioners Ken Auster, Suzi Chauvel, Pat Kollenda and Lisa Mansour for terms to July 1, 2013. There were no other applicants.

Planning Commissioners Linda Dietrich and Norm Grossman were reappointed on the first ballot for terms to July 1, 2013.



Clarification of business license requirements

The council unanimously approved amendments to the Municipal Code stipulating that business licenses should not be issued to businesses that are illegal under applicable local, state or federal laws, and that the operation of said businesses constitutes a nuisance.

Issuance of a business license should not be construed to mean approval or permission to conduct an unlawful business in an unlawful way or at a place where it is prohibited by law or city ordinance.

City Attorney Philip Kohn recommended the amendments.

“I can’t say that the amendments were directed to marijuana dispensaries, but questions about the dispensaries spurred the clarifications,” Kohn said. “However, they would extend to any other use that violates local, state or federal law.”

Asked for an example, Kohn said perhaps the sale of certain firearms would qualify.


Bike route to be developed


The council voted unanimously to direct staff to develop two bicycle routes — one heading north, the other heading south — using sharrows. The north route would go from Broadway, up Cliff Drive to Rosa Bonhuer Drive, north on Monterey Drive, right on High Drive, then left on Hillcrest Drive heading north again.

Cyclists heading south would turn off North Coast Highway to Ledroit Street, onto Hillcrest, right on High Drive, left on Cypress Drive, right on Rosa Bonheur and left onto Cliff Drive.

Sharrows are large painted signs in the middle of the lane indicating cyclists and motorists share the roadway.


Residential Care Facilities code amendment

The council gave unanimous preliminary approval to amend parts of the city’s zoning code related to group homes.

State law allows some group homes to be treated as single-family residences and limits local agencies’ regulations of their locations and operations.

Neighbors have expressed concerns about smoking, noise, trash, increased deliveries and additional traffic generated by the occupants.


In May, the council asked staff to review efforts made by Newport Beach to regulate the facilities.

Meetings were held with Newport’s Deputy City Attorney Catherine Wolcott, and former Newport City Attorney and current member of Design Review Board Robin Zur Schmiede, who went by Robin Clauson during her time with Newport. The two learned more about how Newport handled the issues.


If approved on the second reading, the amendments would define general residential care facilities as housing seven or more people, and small licensed or unlicensed care facilities as housing six or fewer people. They would also add regulate areas like maximum occupancy, fire and building code compliance, outdoor smoking and over-concentration.

— Compiled by Barbara Diamond