As a result of the recent election that added two new members to Laguna Beach’s City Council, two of the city’s most influential citizen-led panels also added new members.
By a unanimous closed ballot vote, the newly configured council appointed Ken Sadler, a residential architectural engineer who has been serving for the past six years on the city’s Design Review Board, to the planning commission last week.
Sadler replaces newly elected council member Bob Whalen. The field of three other strong competitors included a USC-educated architect, a Loyola-educated attorney and a UC Santa Barbara-educated environmental planner, all veteran members of city committees and groups.
Sadler said he wanted to become a planning commissioner because of his interest in the city’s policies and goals, particularly the update envisioned for the downtown specific plan. He also expressed interest in upcoming planning commission initiatives, such as the complete streets plan to make city roads friendlier to various modes of transportation, the plan to offer artists live-work spaces in Laguna Canyon, any proposals for a revised city “ocean view” ordinance, ongoing parking issues and completion of the long-considered village entrance for a park, parking and other sundry proposals.
Sadler will fulfill Whalen’s unexpired term on the planning commission, which ends on June 30, 2014.
Three applicants also applied for an expiring term on the city’s Design Review Board. The applicants included a civil engineer and home-renovator familiar with city building codes and educated at Purdue University, an urban planner and landscape architect from Cal Poly Pomona and Harvard, and an environmental and architectural designer, writer and developer educated at MIT.
Roger McErlane, a Laguna resident since 1967 and a retired urban planner and landscape architect with degrees from Cal Poly Pomona and Harvard’s Graduate School of Design and Urban Planning, was selected by a 3-2 vote.
“Now I have time to payback the community I’ve really enjoyed living in,” said McErlane, who worked 30 years in resort-type planning and then 15 years for the Irvine Co. as a senior vice president in charge of community planning. “I really feel I have full experience in all spectrums of building a community, including the lot, the street, the block, the neighborhood and the city.”
McErlane, a member of the preservation group Village Laguna and the Slow Food Orange County organization, begins his term on Feb. 1, which runs until Jan. 31, 2015.
Monica Simpson, a landscape architect, was unanimously appointed last month to complete Sadler’s term, which expires at the end of January. “The applicants were phenomenal,” said Mayor Kelly Boyd prior to the council’s selection.