City Council Meeting Wrap-Up

The following is from the City Council meeting of March 6.



•The council presented a proclamation honoring the Assistance League's 50 years of service to the city.

•Senior sewer supervisor Graham R. Wright was honored for 30 years of service to Laguna Beach.

"It has been a pleasure to work here and to raise my family here," Wright said.



The public is allowed to speak on any subject not on the agenda. Speakers generally are limited to three minutes, but the time can be adjusted by the council.

•The Sister Cities Assn. of Laguna Beach is looking for a second sibling and the public is invited to make suggestions.

The announcement was made by Pat Kollenda, garbed and "patina-ed" as the Statue of Liberty, as she was on the association's float, which took first place in its division in the Patriots Day Parade.

Councilman Kelly Boyd and Mayor Jane Egly volunteered to be on the advisory committee.

Kollenda also announced that the association will be presenting the annual Fete de la Musique on June 16.

For more information about the association or to nominate a sister city, visit website

•Ruben Flores, owner of Visionscape and Laguna Nursery, won first place in a recent West Coast landscape competition for his design of an authentic Italian garden at Don Clurman home.

The tiered garden contains olive and orange groves, reminiscent of Italian gardens along the Amali Coast, and exemplifies the quality of property in Laguna, Flores said.

Flores also received a humanitarian award for his work on the community garden in South Laguna.

Leah Vasquez announced that Flores would be contributing his talent to the Hortense Miller Garden Open House on March 24. The public is invited, and shuttles will be available from the First Church of Christ Scientist parking lot from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

•Karen Philippsen, Laguna Beach Visitors and Conference Bureau president, predicted that international culinary art will be the next wave of tourism. She encouraged folks to visit

•Nancy Farrand spoke on behalf of Better Vision for Children, a nonprofit organization whose goal is to prevent and cure amblyopia — lazy eye syndrome — which if untreated can cause permanent vision loss. Parents need to be educated to have their children screened before it is too late to correct problems, she said.

•Anders Lasater, Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce Government Affairs Committee member, said he looked forward to a fruitful relationship between the business community and the revamped Environmental Sustainability Committee, to which seven members were appointed later in the meeting.



Council members and staff report on events they have attended, people with whom they have met and other items of public interest.

•City Clerk Martha Anderson announced that the council will make five appointments to the Heritage Committee and two appointments to the TechComm Committee at the March 20 meeting. Applications are due in the City Clerk's office by 5 p.m. Tuesday.

•Councilwoman Toni Iseman thanked Marian Pack for her talk on San Onofre the Laguna Canyon Conservancy meeting. Iseman also said she attended a conference where a speaker talked about the problem of global warming. When asked about a nuclear power plant, he said it was fine, but should not be put by the ocean or on an earthquake fault.

•Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson said the Laguna Playhouse will hold a fundraiser April 2, featuring author Dean Koontz.

•Mayor Pro Tem Verna Rollinger reported that representatives from the Laguna Beach County Water District and South County Water District will meet at 7 p.m. March 30 to discuss what can be done to assure water supplies.

•Egly gave a sobering update on water availability, citing statistics from the Department of Water Resources. She said water is precious and must be prudently used.



Consent calendar items are approved unanimously in one motion unless a member of the City Council, staff, or public "pulls" the item, which then requires opening it for public comment and a separate vote.

Among the items approved unanimously:

•An agreement between Laguna Beach and Laguna Woods for the El Toro Road Reconstruction Project, which will include a sidewalk along the south side of the road from Aliso Creek and El Toro roads

Laguna Woods will pay all construction costs. Laguna Beach will maintain the sidewalk.

•Approval of a request by SEEDS Arts and Education Inc. to close the 200 block of Park Avenue from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m. April 21 to hold an Earth Day event, pending completion of routine city requirements.



Items require separate discussion and citizen input, if desired, before the council makes a determination.

Nuisance code amended, 5-0

The council voted unanimously to approve proposed changes to the municipal code ordinance stipulating the conditions that constitute a public nuisance and the abatement process.

Staff believes that an update, consolidation and clarification of the ordinance will strengthen the integrity and effectiveness of the process, according to Community Development Director John Montgomery.

The ordinance was adopted in 1953 and updated only once, in 1973.

Rollinger voted against the amendment at the first reading because appeals were to be heard by a staff member, not the council. That was changed at the second reading, and she voted for approval.

Marine Protected Area ordinance amendments, 5-0

The council gave preliminary approval to amending the city ordinance related to Marine Protected Areas, reflecting modifications made in the areas starting Jan. 1.

A second reading is required for passage.

Anti-puppy mill ordinance to be developed, 5-0

The council directed staff to develop an ordinance to prohibit the retail sale of dogs or cats in Laguna Beach.

"Most people know that most retail pet stores get animals from puppy mills," said Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson, who sponsored the agenda item.

Puppy mills are breeding sites where caged dogs are bred without regard for the well-being of the parents or the litters.

Pearson was asked to help Laguna get ahead of the curve in banning stores that sell these puppies.

"The fact that there are none [in Laguna] is a good thing, but the law needs to be codified," said Judy Mancuso, an animal rights activist. "We encourage adopting pets from rescue groups, but if you must have a pure-bred, go to a reputable breeder."



The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held at 6 p.m. March 20 in City Council Chambers, 505 Forest Ave.

Meeting agendas are available by 4 p.m. on the Thursday prior to the meeting in the city clerk's office of City Hall. Agendas are also published on the city's website,

—Barbara Diamond

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