Mailbag: Canyon project requires additional scrutiny

I believe the people who support the proposed live-work project in Laguna Canyon are well-meaning, but they may not have completely thought it through.

Do everything we can to help our artists, but keep in mind how we do it. The phrase "throwing out the baby with the bathwater" comes to mind.

Giant apartment buildings 45 feet from existing pavement will only degrade our town, significantly affecting canyon views and the atmosphere for people traveling in and out of town.

I noted a rather unbelievable quote from the owner-developer Louis Longi in the Feb. 21 Coastline Pilot, "Environmental defense," where he states, "Everyone says I am blocking view lines, but there is nothing in the code that says I can't block a ridgeline at 45 mph for one second."

How long then is the view blocked if you are traveling 10 mph — weekends and summer — or how long is it blocked if you are not moving at all?

When I think of a structure for our artists, I imagine one or possibly two stories in a peaceful, maybe rural setting, not hotel-like buildings so close to a busy road. How would buildings like that stimulate artist creativity? And 22 of 30 units would command market rents, the same as everywhere else. Only eight units would be "affordable."

Finally, maybe 35% to 40% of stakes in place to show building size are hidden in mature trees. Many of these trees would need to be removed. The building is significantly larger than it appears when glancing at the stakes.

I encourage everyone who loves this town to visit the site and judge the size and view blockage while standing in front. Advise the City Council of your thoughts.

I see both sides of this issue. I am a retired commercial real estate broker who specialized in and owns quality apartment buildings, and I have also provided about seven acres of Laguna Canyon to our city to be preserved as open space.

We need to consider all of the factors of this proposal and the precedent it could set.

Ralph Haun

Laguna Beach

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Project supports arts in Laguna

I am in favor of the Louis Longi live-work project and would encourage the City Council to support this wonderful art studio complex in Laguna Beach.

My mother was an artist in the 1960s in Laguna and studied with some of the area's finest artists of that era.

Laguna Beach has always been such a wonderful center for the arts and a unique community. Although I am no longer living in the city, I hope that Laguna will continue to strongly support creative art in the community.

I am familiar with the live-work project and believe that it is beneficial for Laguna Beach.

Marilyn Beck

Corona del Mar

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Live-work helps artists and economy

I wanted to express my support for the Louis Longi artist live-work project in Laguna Canyon and hope that the Laguna Beach City Council will vote to approve it.

This project will enhance the creative culture of Laguna Beach that's been well established for more than 100 years and has the economic power of generating millions for the nonprofit arts organizations, not to mention the ancillary benefits to the hotels, restaurants and shops that visitors patronize.

Presenting visitors with an appealing artist live-work complex at the entrance to our city through the canyon is a big step.

Help save our artist heritage and culture by approving the project and letting everyone know that our city embraces creativity and honors our past.

Frank Perna

Malibu

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Where's meaningful view ordinance?

What has happened to a view ordinance with teeth? It seems to have completely fizzled out and fallen apart in favor of the stubborn tree people.

After fighting this thing for nearly a year and a half with great hope for a resolution that would favor our spectacular viewsheds, we are being stomped into the mud once again. This is so unfair and upsetting. The people with the views are the very same people growing the trees that block the rest of us.

What is fair about that?

The hedge height ordinance has worked for me with the patch of ficus trees behind my house that threaten my beautiful Catalina view. Now I can expect to lose that too? And why do I have to indemnify the city to fight on my behalf? I don't have that kind of cash available.

The people with the money are the people up in the front row who grow the trees behind them that block our views. I have tried to work with some of these people, and they don't budge even when I offer to pay for their tree-trimming services.

Why can't the city get something done? I guess this means more people will find themselves in the police blotter for cutting down offensive vegetation in the dead of the night.

Wait until the next fire with all these overgrown eucalyptus trees and bushes. Maybe then people will wake up to their indifference.

Marsha Bianchi

Laguna Beach

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