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Author Archive for Jennifer Erickson

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Council Considers a Temporary Halt to Canyon Development

Council Considers a Temporary Halt to Canyon Development

A public hearing to discuss a possible moratorium on development projects in Laguna Canyon, originally scheduled for a special City Council meeting to be held at 6 p.m. on Thursday, May 29, will likely now take place Tuesday, June 3, the city manager says. Any so-called urgency ordinance would require a four-fifths Council vote and […]

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Opening a Safety Net for the Mentally Ill

Opening a Safety Net for the Mentally Ill

Orange County families will soon have a new recourse to help mentally ill loved ones from spiraling downward and potentially endangering their lives. The county Board of Supervisors unanimously voted last week to implement Laura’s Law, which allows families and professionals involved with the care or supervision of the severely mentally ill over the age […]

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New ABCs for Paddle Board Lessons

New ABCs for Paddle Board Lessons

Starting in July commercial stand-up paddleboard operators will need to pay fees, follow safety regulations and show proof of insurance in order to offer lessons and tours in Laguna Beach, under rules approved this week. The law omits limiting hours of operation, as staff had pushed for, and capping the number of operators allowed, a […]

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Police Promise More Visibility Downtown

Police Promise More Visibility Downtown

A couple of issues stood out when Police Chief Paul Workman provided City Council with an overview of downtown policing practices last week. One is that though much of a rising volume of complaints stems from disturbances involving homeless people, standard law enforcement on its own will not solve the problem. The other is that […]

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Signaling for Slower Speed Limits

Signaling for Slower Speed Limits

As expected, city officials formally opposed a Caltrans proposal to hike speeds on portions of Laguna Beach’s primary artery, Coast Highway. In addition, Laguna’s City Council last week requested that the state agency evaluate the need for a painted crosswalk on the highway between Beverly Street and Cliff Drive in North Laguna. In March, the […]

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Mayor Provides a Snap Shot

Mayor Provides a Snap Shot

In her final state of the city address, Laguna Beach Mayor Elizabeth Pearson painted a detailed portrait of the city’s economy and shifting demographics, which is both aging and shrinking. She also drew some eye-opening conclusions about where the town stands today in comparing the most recent 2010 census figures to those of 2000 at […]

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Paving the Way to TOW

Paving the Way to TOW

The end of the road may finally be in sight, both figuratively and literally, for pedestrians and cyclists seeking a smooth path between the hilltop communities of Arch Beach Heights and Top of the World. The City Council on Tuesday directed staff to explore a combination of two options to develop a path across a […]

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Council Mulls Canyon Development Moratorium

Council Mulls Canyon Development Moratorium

Concerns over a burst of development projects in Laguna Canyon prompted the City Council on Tuesday to suggest a temporary halt to new projects until apparent zoning discrepancies can be ironed out and a cohesive plan mapped out. The Council asked city staff to investigate a development moratorium by June and suggested that the scope […]

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Refining Development in Laguna Canyon

Refining Development in Laguna Canyon

  Concern over the direction of development along Laguna Canyon Road has gained momentum in recent months since local sculptor Louis Longi’s artist’s work/live project put a spotlight on apparent inconsistencies in the city’s zoning along the highway. “We’ve heard it….canyon, canyon, canyon. Sooner or later we need to address canyon plans and the annexation […]

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Oceanfront Owners Facing New Remodel Rules

Oceanfront Owners Facing New Remodel Rules

Under rules proposed by the California Coastal Commission staff, reroofing an ocean front home and replacing framing ridden with dry rot could be considered a major remodel and trigger a 25-foot setback rule, which would require Mark Spencer to lop off a quarter of his Laguna Beach house. Scenarios such as this prompted Laguna’s city […]

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Pay Raise and Cost Hikes for Police

Pay Raise and Cost Hikes for Police

Laguna Beach’s police officers and non-sworn personnel will receive raises of 6 and 5 percent respectively under the terms of a three-year contract. Even so, the pay hikes won’t offset the jump in retirement contributions now borne by employees, said City Manager John Pietig. While the 65-member employee group agreed to the terms of the pact, […]

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Urban Designers Pitch Their Ideas

Urban Designers Pitch Their Ideas

A professional urban design team will soon take a role in shaping Laguna Beach’s development policies in downtown and along Laguna Canyon. Which one isn’t yet clear. Three teams of top-notch professionals presented their credentials and their visions to the public and city staff last week. City Council member Bob Whalen said this week a […]

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Hearing Sparks Broader Discussion of Homelessness

Hearing Sparks Broader Discussion of Homelessness

After listening to passionate testimony for housing chronically homeless people who are mentally ill, City Council members on Tuesday expressed varied levels of support for the concept, but delayed making a decision. Instead, they asked the project’s sponsors to conduct more community outreach and gather more data before returning with a more detailed strategy. But […]

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Answering Homeless Housing Skeptics

Answering Homeless Housing Skeptics

A plan for permanent housing for chronically homeless people who are mentally ill is generating much discussion around town and some pointed letters to the editor. Even so, only about 35 residents showed up at a meeting held last Friday at the Neighborhood Congregational Church, organized by the project’s leaders to address concerns prior to […]

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Planners Tackle Surf and Turf

Planners Tackle Surf and Turf

Commercial stand-up paddle board instructors may be subject to some rules restricting how they operate in Laguna Beach as a result of a draft ordinance considered by the Planning Commission on Wednesday. The regulations will require City Council approval at a future date. The panel found much less favor with the concept review of a […]