In Laguna Beach, there was a project approved by the city’s Design Review Board in the Mystic Hills neighborhood, and I am looking again at how this project got the OK. Is everyone turning his or her head away?
Once upon a time, known for its charm, quaintness and exceptional neighborhoods, the character of our city appears as if it is slowly changing because of the board’s unorthodox decisions.
Unfortunately, it appears the board’s approved design and its construction are turning into the blight I saw from the preliminary plans, which I contested. A new retaining wall will be like one found on the side of a rural freeway or some industrial site.
The homeowner removed the original, natural vegetation, which graces most of Mystic Way, and much later came up with a quick fix with a 16-foot wall with railroad ties and steel I-beams. Would the Design Review Board members welcome this project across the street from the front of their home or your home?
Can you picture a design like this one adjacent to City Hall or in any of Laguna Beach’s showcase neighborhoods? I cannot.
I suggest it is time for the city to reconsider its criteria and update them so the Design Review Board can make more consistent decisions that are more germane to a neighborhood’s character rather than the expediency of a “quick fix.”
Paula J. Lingelbach
Public invited to committee meeting
I’m the chairman of the Laguna Beach TechComm Committee, the advisory group formed to assist the Laguna Beach City Council with telecommunications issues affecting the city. I wanted to let the community know about our upcoming meeting at 4:30 p.m. Monday at the Susi Q Senior Center.
We’ve invited two special guests: Scott Longhurst, president of Trillium, and Tony Ingegneri, president of ATS. Trillium provides real estate and land use consulting services to help companies developing sites for wireless communications. ATS is a full service consulting firm that also represents clients in the wireless industry.
The TechComm Committee has long felt that it’s extremely important to ensure high-quality residential and commercial telecommunications services in Laguna Beach. However, the business, residential and, most importantly, public safety benefits of communications services is weighed against residents’ concerns about health effects in addition to complaints about tower and antenna aesthetics.
Longhurst and Ingegneri have kindly offered their time for an educational session, presenting information to the community regarding the current state of wireless telecommunications services, including how carriers are addressing the health and aesthetic issues.
We hope the public will join us for this lively and informative session.
Road widening needed to ease traffic
Re “City works toward climate protection goal,” Jan. 13:
I am amazed that the city does not resolve and correct the greatest negative pollution creator in this area, which overwhelms all/any other in comparison.
Every time I drive through Laguna Canyon, I am most thankful to those people who undertook for the benefit of us all the creation of the greenbelt surrounding this city and the aesthetic beauty and separation and protection it provides to us all. However, these benefits are substantially diminished and effectively eliminated by the unbelievable at-all-hours traffic jams and backups on Laguna Canyon Road every single day.
This all day/every day traffic mess and its directly resulting pollution, waste of energy and time is most burdensome and harmful. Out of site and completely over the top! It could seemingly be eliminated easily, but with some negative trade-offs, which are really not all that disagreeable. Just widen the road from its current divided four lane terminus in town past El Toro Road and provide some form of a transition road from El Toro to merge conveniently onto Laguna Canyon Road for a safe, divided four-lane roadway all the way to the coast.
This may only require a minimal intrusion into the greenbelt to the northerly side, with a small bike lane attached with a similar small width shoulder as presently exists. And, while at this improvement, why not bury all those unbelievably ugly and obnoxious utility lines along the roadway that are equally unjustifiable?
Why does the City Council not strive to resolve these significant problems immediately if it is truly concerned about ensuring this city is “all green” (and truly beautiful)? These problems will only increase dramatically in the ongoing inevitable future as Irvine and its emphasis on all intruding mass density magnifies.
Bluebelt group deserves gratitude
I am writing to you with regards to the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition.
I first became aware of this organization last year when I gladly donated some photographs for use on their website. I have since followed them via their Facebook page and participated in their recent photo contest that celebrated the new marine protected areas as well as the new underwater parks.
I would like to commend you for including articles on their activities in an effort to help educate the community on how important it is to care for these reserves in order to obtain a substantial recovery. I have also read and understand some of the oppositional viewpoints to their cause.
Taking nothing away from those different perspectives, I feel as if the hard-working folks that support the Laguna Bluebelt Coalition seem to have the bigger picture in mind, and I thank them for all of the hard work they do every day.