City Council Meeting Wrap-Up

The following is from the April 23 City Council meeting. All council members were present.




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.


•Billy Fried of La Vida Laguna pronounced the Earth Day Kelp Fest on April 20 the “perfect intersection of art and activism.”

Fried, a Coastline Pilot columnist and ardent supporter of bicycling for recreation and transportation, reported that he and several residents attended the Arts Commission meeting on April 22, to request that the commission allow artists to build beautiful sculptural bike racks.

•Sally Coffey announced the next fundraiser for the South Laguna Garden Park will be held June 7 at the Laguna Nursery. For more information about upcoming events or to make a donation, visit

•Robert Ross opined that the city didn’t need to spend money on an evaluation of the city’s transit system, which he said is functional. He suggested the city purchase trolleys, preferably electric ones, rather than rent them.


Ross also voiced his concern about the number of attorneys listed in the Laguna Beach phone book. He wanted assurance that they are being taxed.



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


•City Treasurer Laura Parisi said she attended the Orange County Treasury Oversight Committee’s April 23 afternoon meeting and the California Municipal Treasurers Assn. conference, held April 17 to 19 in Anaheim, which was focused on investing while the interest rates were low, safe investing and liquidity.

•City Clerk Lisette Chel-Walker announced that applications for four seats on the Arts Commission and two seats on the Planning Commission are available in City Clerk’s office or online at The two-year terms for both commissions will begin July 1.

May 14 is the deadline to submit applications to the City Clerk’s office is. Interviews and appointments will be held at the May 21 council meeting.

•Councilman Steve Dicterow said a tremendous number of locals enjoyed last Saturday night on Ocean Avenue where the merchants remained open late into the evening. He said it was a great opportunity for all “Lagunatics” to interact, and he hopes the merchants will repeat the event.

•*Councilman Robert Whalen said he enjoyed the Earth Day Kelp Fest spearheaded by Transition Laguna and he also enjoyed the Imagination Celebration at the Laguna Art Museum the same day.

•Councilwoman Toni Iseman also enjoyed the Earth Day Kelp Fest and is looking forward to next year. She attended the Boys and Girls Club annual breakfast, highlighted by the singing of the 3- and 4-year-old children, and Community Band concert at the Laguna Playhouse.

Iseman said the Laguna Canyon Foundation was working on eliminating the non-native arunda grass in Aliso Creek. She said the elimination of arunda, which she described as a threat to the environment, is difficult and extremely expensive.

•Mayor Kelly Boyd said he attended many of the events mentioned by the council members, but wanted to take the time to commend city staff on the quality and quantity of its workload, including the Downtown Specific Plan, Parking Management Plan, Village Entrance Project, Broadway and Sidewalk Improvement projects, Lifeguard Headquarters, Scenic Highway update, View Preservation Ordinance, and the upcoming skateboard park.



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:

•A $28,000 contract with Pyro Spectaculars for the 2013 annual Fourth of July Fireworks show.

•A three year Memorandum of Understanding between Laguna Beach and Aliso Viejo for the purchase of up-to-$200,000 in California Public Utilities Commission Rule 20-A credits at a price of 55 cents per dollar, for a total not to exceed $110,000.

•A letter from Laguna’s mayor to the city’s federal legislative representatives to oppose President Obama’s proposed Fiscal Year 2014 budget that places a cap on tax-exempt interest from municipal bonds.

•A $33,000 appropriation from the Sewer Fund to cover the purchase and installation costs for a natural gas emergency generator for the Arch Beach Heights lift station.



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

Committee to vet urban planners, 5-0

The council appointed Whalen to choose two planning commissioners to work with him and city staff to vet firm with urban planning expertise to discuss the possibility

of hiring them. The commission will make recommendations to the council during the budget-adoption process.



These hearings are required by law to be legally noticed. Any court challenges may be limited to issues that are raised at the hearing or in written correspondence received by the city at or before the hearing.

Abatement programs approved, 5-0

The council directed the fire chief to clear weeds, rubbish and refuse from properties in which the owners ignored the order to abate the nuisance.

Vegetation and improvements that interfere with street cleaning or obstruct intersection visibility will be and have not removed by the property owner by June 5 will be removed by Public Works.

Parking credits approved for new restaurant, 5-0

Dom DeMarcos Pizzeria and Bar will be required to provide abut 30% of the required parking.

The council approved a 70.45 reduction as an incentive for the historic preservation of the building at 222 Ocean Ave.

However, the council denied the new owner’s request to keep the three ficus trees in front of the property in a 4-1 vote. The council will pay for the removal and replacement of the trees, which will approved by the council at a future meeting.

Iseman opposed the denial.



Any action taken must be reported publicly.

•Labor negotiations with Laguna Beach Police Employees, Municipal Employees and Marine Safety and the Orange County Professional Fire Fighters associations; and unrepresented management employees.

•Conference with legal counsel about three items of anticipated litigation; W. A. Rasic Construction Co. Inc. vs. Laguna Beach, claim for damages at 741 Summit Drive and the Employment Solicitation Ordinance.

•Real property negotiations related to permanent housing at the Alternative Sleeping Location



The next regularly scheduled public meeting will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday in the City Council Chambers, 505 Forest Ave., following a closed session at 5 p.m.

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.