Laguna gets closer to having skate park

Building a skate park across South Coast Highway from Aliso Beach Park in South Laguna remains an option, Community Services Director Ben Siegel told Recreation Committee members at their meeting Monday night.

Siegel said he spoke with Orange County officials about a possible skate park of 9,000 to 12,000 square feet at a site that is now a parking lot and grassy area.

"There's not a lot to update," Siegel said. "They were going to look at a couple issues, including ownership and feasibility. There are challenges."

County staff would also need to look into who would pay for a park and whether it could fit the space and is allowable within the coastal zone, said Don Hughes, chief of staff for Supervisor Pat Bates, whose district includes the proposed location.

The site's proximity to Aliso Creek could require extensive environmental analysis and input from regulatory agencies, Siegel has said.

Hughes said he, Bates, Siegel and Laguna Beach City Manager John Pietig were part of a group that met a few weeks ago to talk about a possible skate park.

"It was well-received," Hughes said of the idea. "The city said what it wanted to do, and we said we'll follow up. There wasn't anything technical discussed."

Recreation committee members discussed the site at their last meeting in July, but only four of seven members were present at Monday's meeting.

Committee chairman Jim Howard, who was at Monday's meeting, suggested the site across from Aliso Beach Park and reiterated his support for the location.

"You would have highway noise [from South Coast Highway] to offset noise kids would make," Howard said.

Councilman Steve Dicterow, who along with Mayor Kelly Boyd formed a subcommittee to look at skate park sites, has concerns regarding the proposed spot.

"I don't know whether it's the best site, but I want to investigate and work to see if it would make sense," Dicterow said.

In July, Dicterow said the spot's close proximity to South Coast Highway could bring in skateboarders from outside Laguna Beach.

"I don't want [the skate park] to be too public of a place, where people from outside Laguna would be using it," Dicterow said.


Rec Committee to add youth rep

The Recreation Committee wants to add a Laguna Beach High School student to serve as a youth representative advising members on recreation-related issues in the city.

Committee members wondered whether the City Council would need to approve the candidate, considering that the person would not be a voting member, and got their answer after Siegel spoke with City Atty. Phil Kohn: Yes.

"Unless you want to treat the person as a member of the public," Siegel said.

Committee member Rebecca Meekma favored going through the formal approval process.

"We wouldn't want that [treating the student as a member of the public instead of a part of the committee]," Meekma said. "Hopefully the student will talk to peers and give us opinions."

Committee member Allen Doby said he will draft a proposal so the Laguna Beach Unified School District can recommend candidates.

The Recreation Committee's next meeting will be 6:45 p.m. Oct. 7 at The Susi Q, 380 Third St.

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