City Council Meeting Wrap-Up

The following is from the June 5 Laguna Beach City Council meeting.



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.

•Two representatives of Greenbox Electronic Recyclers said the city is losing out on a free disposal of e-waste service because city zoning forced them to remove their containers from city streets. Matt Miller, founder and CEO of GreenBox Electronic Recyclers, and Jaime Gonzalez, company president, claimed that the company prevented more than 14,000 pounds of carbon emissions from polluting the atmosphere in a 30-day period.

•John Kountz announced that the annual Field Day for amateur radio operators in the United States and Canada will be held June 23 and 24. The local operation will be set up on the fire road between Moutlon Meadows and Top of the World. The public is invited to visit, and they may communicate with anyone else in the world from that location.

•An emotional Charles Nick asked people to show compassion for others.

•Kathryn Doe was distressed by a letter she received from personnel at the Susi Q saying that she was no longer welcome there. She was concerned that it might curtail her attendance at Housing and Human Services Committee meetings, which are held in the facility shared by Laguna Beach seniors and the city.

City Manager John Pietig said that he would investigate whether Doe's banishment would affect her right to attend city committee meetings, which are held in community center areas of the facility.

Doe also requested information on filing nomination papers for a seat on the city council.

•Dee Smith recommended public storage areas be installed perhaps near public restrooms so tourists coming to the beach would have a place to park their belongings while shopping and dining in town.

She commended the city for its trial of bus service to the Susi Q, but recommended later bus service on weekends. She also suggested placing a security camera system or a security guard at the bus station to discourage people from aggressive behavior.

•Eli Grossman said that parking tickets were being issued illegally, and he accused Police Department parking personnel of a lack of knowledge and misuse of public service.

He said he too will run for City Council.

•Ross Embry accused the Alternative Sleeping Location of management of incompetence and indifference to violations of human rights, health concerns, drug usage, racial slurs and physical violence at the facility.

•Robert Ross commented on the status of lawsuits involving the city and questioned the competence of various Superior Court judges.



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

•Mayor Pro Tem Verna Rollinger congratulated Mary Blanton on being named Teacher of the Year; the Temple Hills Community Assn. on their 40th anniversary; Anne Wood for being named Laguna Beach Woman's Club Woman of the Year; and praised the performance of Laguna Beach High School senior Elan "E.J." Kramer at the Woman's Club event.

Rollinger commented favorably on the Memorial Day Service at Heisler Park, an Open House at the Susi Q, and announced she had accompanied Councilwoman Toni Iseman to a meeting with Rep. Dana Rohrabacher regarding Aliso Canyon.

•Iseman also attended Chapman University's graduation ceremonies at which Nick Hernandez received an honorary doctorate and announced that the Guggenheim Gallery at the school was exhibiting work by three local artists: Hernandez, Jorg Dubin and Mia Tavonatti.

She thanked the Orange County Tourism Council for their kind remarks about the Laguna Beach Visitor's Bureau, which she is convinced was the best of its kind in California; congratulated Egly and the city staff for the State of the City luncheon hosted by the Chamber of Commerce; and complimented Village Laguna on their Charm House tour.

Iseman said the state is the better for the contributions of the late Peter Douglas, long-time executive director of the California Coastal Commission, for whom a memorial ceremony was held June 1 at Crystal Cove.

•Egly announced that proceeds from the sales from the "Back to Black" art exhibit, which opened June 7 in City Hall, will benefit the Artists Benevolence Fund, and the fifth annual Fête de la Musique will open at 1 p.m. Saturday on Main Beach and "Shakespeare in the Park" will be performed from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. June 8, 15, 22 and 29 at Heisler Park's amphitheater.

She also announced the death of former Laguna Beach resident Louis Garfin, who was active with his wife, Clarice, in North Laguna activities and efforts to prevent development in Laguna Canyon.

Egly displayed a cup that features the Festival of Arts theme for the 2012 show, at which 140 artists will be displaying their work.

Among her activities since the last council meeting, Egly attended the Orange County Tourism Council meeting with Iseman, at which she learned that the fastest growing group of tourists in California are the Chinese. Egly said the Tourism Council is working hard to pay attention to the needs of foreign visitors.

Egly met in Council Chambers with third-graders from Top of the World and proclaimed them the cutest, smartest, most verbal third-graders anywhere.



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:

•Rejection of four claims.

James Lund's claim and a claim filed by Allstate Insurance Co. as subrogee for Lund were rejected by a standard letter to start the six-month statute of limitations.

Lund claims his property was damaged by the disturbance cause by heavy equipment and construction activities related to the Circle Way storm drain project in December 2011.

Contractors and sub-contractors on the project were under the direction and supervision of the Public Works Department, according to the claim.

The total amount of the claim was not available at the time of the filing.

Allstate claimed the city was responsible for Lund's loss of $5,843 due to contractor negligence, and supplements may become necessary.

A claim filed on behalf of Valerie Wallace was rejected to start the statute of limitations. Wallace is seeking current and future medical expenses incurred in a traffic accident in November 2011 at South Coast Highway and Calliope Street.

Danielle K. Moul's claim for damages to her vehicle on Jan. 28 in a parking area in an alley behind a downtown business was denied because the damage occurred on private property.

•Approval of an artist-designed bench to be installed at the Heisler Park trolley stop on the ocean side of Jasmine Street.

The bench, designed by Larry Gill and Gavin Heath, was recommended by the Arts Commission, which had received 17 letters of interest from which four finalists were selected.

"Tidepool Paddleboard" will be made of cast glass, concrete and stainless steel. It will measure 8 feet long by 18 inches wide and sit on a concrete pas 11 feet long by 3 ½ feet wide.

The $20,000 budget for the bench came from a donation by Beverly Kaye, $15,000 of which was allocated to the artists and $5,000 to site preparation and associated costs.

•An extension of the contract with Modern Horticulture Service.

The fee to trim and maintain city trees through fiscal year 2012-13 is not to exceed $90,000, but the city manager was authorized to approve contract amendments up to $17,000 for the removal of damaged or diseased trees if needed. Staff was directed to obtain competitive bids for tree trimming services for fiscal year 2013-14.

Pulled for discussion:

•An increase in estimated revenue from insurance proceeds related to the December 2010 storms and authorization of payments

The estimated revenue was increased to $285,996, from which a $17,261 payment was to be made to Laguna Playhouse and a $61,707 payment to the Pacific Marine Mammal Center. Councilwoman Elizabeth Pearson recused herself from the vote because she works at the Playhouse. Approved 4-0.



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

Heritage Committee report

Heritage Committee member Rick Gold reported on committee functions and its accomplishments between January 2011 and May 2012, during which time there were 15 meetings, four to six educational seminars and 12 to 14 Heritage Month events.

The committee reviewed approximately 56 properties and made 34 recommendations and approval recommendations, seven of them on Mills Act applications.

"We now have 276 properties on the [historic] register, including 42 properties on the Mills Act," Gold said.

Applications for the state Mills Act, which provides incentives to preserve qualified structures, including K-rated properties, will be gathered henceforth only from January to April and be processed just once a year, Gold reported.

Gold and committee member Tamara Campbell will present a seminar on the city's Historic Register and the act to the Laguna Board of Realtors on June 20.

Gold also reported on Heritage Month activities.

Assessment District Policy approved 5-0

The City Council adopted new policies on the formation of Underground Utility Assessment Districts.

Under the terms of the policy, the city will require an initial deposit of $500 from at least 60 percent of the property owners signing a petition to initiate an assessment district. The deposit will be refunded if the 60 percent minimum is not met of if the property owners vote to approve the district.

The deposit will not be refunded if the majority of property owners in the district vote it down.

"This is a more fiscally responsible," said Pearson.

The city has to eat the start-up costs if a district is voted down, as has happened.

Bond sales will be delayed until all easements required by the utility company have been signed and recorded, unless otherwise directed by the council

"The [deposits] won't defray much of the upfront costs, but will give us a higher level of confidence that they [property owners] will stick it out," said Public Works Director Steven May.

Ordinances second readings moved to consent calendar 5-0

The council approved a proposal to move the second reading of new or modified ordinance to the consent calendar if no one pulled it for more discussion.

Second readings are required for the ordinance or changes to go into effect 30 days after the approval.

The modification was suggested by Assistant City Manager Christa Johnson.

Telecommunication Ordinances comparison report

The council agreed by consensus to permit Iseman time to gather more information on the policies of other cities and states.

"Take all the time you want," said Pearson.

Iseman asked for the time after hearing the council-requested staff comparison of Laguna's ordinance with the ordinances of Glendale, Stanton, Long Beach, Lake Forest and Buena Park. She believes that Laguna's ordinance could be strengthened to give the council more influence on telecommunication installations in town.

"We are leaving most of our power on the table," Iseman said.

Federal law limits the city's ability to restrict installations if it would create a coverage gap, as long as they comply with the Federal Communication Commission's prescribed standards and no feasible alternative.

Entitlements period extended 12 months 4-1

The council approved a one-year extension on development entitlements that have already expired or are due to expire between now and Jan. 1, 2014.

A second reading of the ordinance is required for adoption.

The extension was triggered by a request from a local contractor for an extra year due to the poor housing market and difficulty in funding construction in the past five years.

"My partners and I have approval for two single-family homes but it is impossible to get loans," said Al Oligino. "There is an indication that things are improving. Another year might make a big difference. A lot of people are in the same boat."

Extended entitlements include variances, conditional use permits, coastal development permits and design review.

Rollinger opposed the extension, citing changes in regulations in the past five years.

Laguna proclaims annual Kelp Day 5-0

The council proclaimed the third Saturday in April as Kelp Day in Laguna for the next five years, with the goal of raising awareness of the importance of the kelp forest, which is making a comeback along the city shoreline.

Huntington Beach high school student Patricia Cosulich proposed the proclamation.

"It was a Girl Scout project," she said "It's perfect for Laguna Beach because you have restored the kelp forest."

Volunteers have held a KelpFest on the Main Beach cobblestones to publicize the important of protecting the kelp forest for three years, traditionally on the Saturday closest to Earth Day, which typically coincides with the third Saturday in April.



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

Amendment to municipal code 5-0

The council gave preliminary approval to an amendment to the Municipal Code that encourages the development of smaller, low- and moderate-income housing.

A second reading is required for adoption.



•Conference with real property negotiators on the price and terms of a lease for 20652 Laguna Canyon Road

The property is represented by Friendship Shelter. The city is represented by Egly and Iseman.

•Conference with real property negotiators for the price and terms of a lease at ACT V. Laguna College of Art and Design President Jonathan Burke represents the property. The city's representative has not been determined.

•Conference with legal counsel regarding pending litigation — Rowden v. Laguna Beach.

Any action taken by the council in closed session must be reported publicly. None was announced.



The council meets next at 5 p.m. June 19 in closed session. The public meeting begins at 6 p.m. in the City Council Chambers, 505 Forest Ave.

Agendas are published at

—Compiled by Barbara Diamond from information provided by the city clerk's office

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