City Council Meeting Wrap-Up

The following is from the March 5 City Council meeting. All council members were present.



Beautification Council member Joanne Sutch and President Ruben Flores presented a $2,500 check to the city for the renovation last year of the garden at the foot of Nyes Place on South Coast Highway.

"For those of you who don't know, three cars plowed into the Nyes Garden and essentially demolished a bunch of it," Sutch said.

The council decided to get involved in restoring the garden and members met with city Building and Parks Manager Vic Hillstead and Public Works Director Steve May.

"They actually discovered an old plan for the garden from the 1970s, but we decided we make it more drought-tolerant and we got rid of almost all of the hibiscus, which was not part of the plan and replaced it with more drought tolerant plants," Sutch said.

"For those who have not been here a long time and don't know, Nyes Garden is dear to our hearts because up until 1987, it was the end of Laguna."

The garden marked the southern boundary of Laguna Beach until South Laguna was annexed.

A large-scale palette-shaped sign honoring the Festival of Arts was featured.

Flores said the Beautification Council hopes to see the sign replaced, although on smaller scale.

He thanked the Laguna Beach County Water District for a grant to restore the garden.

"To me, this represents how great it is to work as a team," Flores said. "The money we are presenting to the city came to us from a grant by the water district, we did some stuff and we get to give you [the city] some money.

"I love that whole working-together type of thing and I plan on doing it a whole lot more."



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.

•Tom and Gayle Joliet updated the council on the progress made in funding the purchase of the South Laguna Community garden at Eagle Rock and Coast Highway.

A fundraiser is scheduled for 10 a.m. March 23. Chef and gardener Corky Peterson will conduct a workshop on creative cooking with vegetables being harvested from winter gardens.

Information about tax deductible donations is available at

Garden members have made presentations to various organizations in town and are pleased that they have been asked to help start a garden at Top of the World.

"We are also proud to report that the Laguna Charm House Tour has put the South Laguna Community Garden Park on their agenda as a rest stop on the May 19th tour," Joliet said.

A relationship has also been developed with FM station KX 93.5.

•Bruce Hopping urged the council to commission a sculpture to commemorate the Brooks Street Surfing Contest, recommission the Thalia Street beach access mural and put up what he would consider a more appropriate memorial at Monument Point than the one chosen by Laguna Beach veterans.

•Laguna Beach Arts Alliance representative Greg Vail previewed upcoming arts-related events, including the Art Stars Awards scheduled for April 7th at [seven degrees] and announced the move of the Laguna Plein Air Painters Assn. to Aliso Creek Inn & Golf Course and the group's need to raise $200,000.

•Pierce Shannon urged civic and private participation in the World Wildlife Fund Earth Hour event.

He announced that thousands of cities around the world will go dark from 8:30 to 9:30 p.m. March 23 to raise awareness about environmental challenges such a climate change.

Shannon said the city would gain recognition for its efforts in supporting the Earth Hour City Challenge.

For more information, visit

•*Robert Ross asked the city attorney to ensure the pending litigation involving Laguna Terrace Park is dropped, although he has been informed that the city is not involved. Ross expressed hope that trailer park homeowners would be given the chance to purchase the land under their mobile homes, which is in escrow to an out-of-state buyer.



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

•City Clerk Lisette Chel announced that interviews and appointments to the Heritage Committee will be on Tuesday's City Council agenda.

•City Manager John Pietig asked the council to tack an item onto the March 5 agenda to provide an alternative representative to attend two South Orange County Wastewater Authority (SOCWA) meetings because the council's appointed representative, Councilwoman Toni Iseman, and alternate, Mayor Pro Tem Elizabeth Pearson, would be out town and unable to attend.

Water Quality Director David Shissler was appointed.

•Iseman called attention to the cigarette butts that liter the mini park off of Pacific Avenue. She would like more specific signs at the park advising folks of the danger of smoking at the edge of a wilderness area.

•Councilman Steve Dicterow listed events and meetings that he attended since the last council meeting, including committee meetings, a Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce mixer, two ribbon-cutting ceremonies, the Patriots Day Parade and the International Armenian Rug Society Symposium in Laguna Beach.

Dicterow also engaged in multiple discussions about a skateboard park and airplane/airport noise and met with residents about a variety of issues.

•Councilmember Robert Whalen thanked El Hathaway for providing the council with a nice ride in the Patriots Day Parade.

He reported attending meetings of the Temple Hills Homeowners Assn. and Laguna College of Art + Design.

•Pearson announced she had presented a concept to the Laguna Beach Chamber of Commerce called "Leadership Laguna," an educational program for young people or the next generation to learn more about Laguna Beach.

She reported attending the Urban Water Institute to better educate herself about water and energy issues, the Valentine's Day Cabaret at Laguna Nursery and a Friendship Shelter fundraiser hosted by Mozambique; meeting with high school students who would like to install a permanent prescription drop- box by the police department and continued meetings with Iseman on the Village Entrance project.

Pearson also had a telephone conversation with an unnamed friend at the Irvine Co., who wanted to update the city on the company's plans for development along Laguna Canyon Road.

The proposed development includes 600 housing units at Laguna Altura, 258 housing units at Hidden Canyon, and 3,700 apartment units off of Irvine Center Drive, 1,750 of them about to open, all on Laguna's side of the 405 Freeway.

"An extension of the road will empty onto Laguna Canyon Road and we might want to think about where they will be going to the beach," Pearson said.

She announced that city officials who spoke in favor of taxes on businesses that provide private parking for a fee were not authorized to speak by the city and their position is contrary to hers.



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 a claim filled by Amy V. Reddy, as recommended by the city's claims adjuster.

Reddy tripped and fell in an area owned, controlled and maintained by Caltrans, not the city.

•Competition guidelines for a logo design to mark the 30tyh anniversary of Music in the Park.

•A $218,000 contract with Kreutzer Consulting to design a right-hand turn lane on northbound Pacific Coast Highway at Broadway Street.

•A $167,965 contract with Unique Performance Construction for citywide sidewalk and miscellaneous concrete repairs.

•Authorization for the police chief to accept grant money for training related to terrorism and protest management, funded by the Urban Areas Security Initiative.

•Closure of the 200 block of Park Avenue from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. April 20, to hold an Earth Day event with amplified sound and the waiver of city fees for bagging parking meters.

•A donation by Laguna Beach residents Steve Chadima and Mark Porterfield to fund the purchase of two personal watercrafts and necessary equipment to be used by the Marine Safety Department.

Mayor Kelly Boyd was authorized to send a letter of thanks to the donors.

•A memo of understanding for the purchase of up to $175,000 in California Public Utilities Commission Rule 20-A credits for 55 cents on the dollar from the city of Rancho Santa Margarita, with the payment not exceed $96,250.

The credits are to be used for undergrounding utility lines along Laguna Canyon Road.

•A letter from the mayor to the state legislature to support Assembly Bill 265 that would immunize any city with a dog park from civil liability for dog-related damages if the park has signage to that effect.

Pulled for discussion:

•Docent-led walking tours to "Celebrate Public Art in Heisler Park" from 4 to 6 p.m. May 17, including a Sunset Serenade, and "Shakespeare in the Park" performances at 6:30 p.m. Friday evenings from June 7 through June 21 at the amphitheater in Heisler Park.

Dicterow pulled the items to ensure public awareness of the events.

"I attended Shakespeare in the Park last year and it was a really fun experience," Dicterow said.

•Resolution establishing a temporary No Parking restriction from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. for six months in front of 2881 Alexander Road during construction.

•A $7,200 contract with Environmental Designs Arborist to prepare a plan for replacement and maintenance of city-owned trees removed in Bluebird Canyon

All items were approved in a 5-0 vote.



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

Environmental Sustainability Committee Appointments

George Basile, Catharine Cooper and incumbents Kristen Martin and Eric Sargeant were appointed to the Environmental Sustainability Committee for terms through Feb. 28, 2015.

"This is a committee with a mission," said Iseman, council liaison to the committee.

Basile is 40-year resident who is a professor of sustainability at Arizona State University in Tempe.

However, he spends part of each week in Laguna, including Tuesdays when the committee meetings are held.

Cooper was a member of the defunct Open Space Committee and helped plan the also defunct Environmental Committee, based on findings at the Vision 2030 project.

She has been a resident since 1956 and attended Laguna Beach schools, including the Laguna College of Art + Design.

Martin is an attorney, who worked the past year on the committee's efforts to create a Sustainability Element for the city's general plan.

She has researched environmental regulations pertaining to crime, litigation and justice.

Sargeant is a graphic and landscaped designer, currently teaching at Cal Poly Pomona and LEED certified.

"My interest in the committee is to continue the work myself and others have started in writing the sustainability element for the City Council to adopt," he stated in his application.



Any action taken must be reported publicly.

•Conference related to negotiations with the police employees, municipal employees, marine safety employee associations and unrepresented management employees.

•Conference with legal counsel regarding existing litigation, a workers' compensation claim by retired Laguna Beach police officer Robert Van Gorder.

•Conference with legal counsel regarding anticipated litigation related to a sewer spill at 741 Summit Drive and candidate heritage trees.

•Conference regarding real property negotiations related to permanent supportive housing.



The next regularly scheduled meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, in the 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 in City Hall, 505 Forest Ave. Agendas are also published on the city's website

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

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