I support the proposed artist live/work project in Laguna Canyon. The project’s plans show this is not a “giant apartment building,” but a number of 400-600 square foot small studios with roughly one-third of the space dedicated to living and two-thirds to work areas. It is built above the flood plain as it has to be to protect the lives and health of the residents in a flood. With NOAA predicting the return of El Nino conditions in 2015-16, it would not surprise me at all if some canyon residents didn’t end up finding refuge with their neighbors in the new building.
When the City Council enacted the live/work ordinance, it saw the need to promote housing and work space for local artists. I applaud their efforts because it is a proactive approach to encouraging the arts in Laguna Beach. Over the years constant vigilance has been needed to protect the town’s artistic heritage from erosion…for example, the high school teams are no longer Artists but Breakers, and the city had to fight two horrible battles to keep the Laguna Art Museum and the Pageant of the Masters here in town. The proposed project is a great way for the community to promote its artistic heritage and the arts in a positive way instead of fighting a rearguard action to prevent our art and artists from leaving town.
The Canyon is a dynamic place. From the Sycamore Flats Christmas Happening, to the Church of Religious Science/Rajneesh Meditation Center to the horse corrals that used to wash the stinky horse poo out to Main Beach, the Canyon has always been a place that evolved, yet has always been fiercely conservative in a liberal sort of way.
There was the same type of concern when the Boys and Girls Club moved from Main Beach to its present location, and that project worked out pretty well. The live/work project’s plans look good to me, in fact, I think they look pretty cool. Without intentionally marginalizing the genuine angst and concern of Laguna Canyon’s Sun Valley Drive residents, I think this project will be a benefit to the city as a whole and the Canyon in particular. The council should approve this project; it’s a great benefit to the city.
Carter Mudge, Laguna Beach