Questioning Development in a Flood Zone


Re: live work project

“In a flood plain, careful planning assures use of the flood plain lands for greenbelt parks and other uses beneficial to all the people. Restrictions and controls should be based on full knowledge of the flood plain and flood hazards,” according to a recent open space study.  “Future flood damage can be greatly reduced only by informed and deliberate planning, and by controlled development of the flood plain.”

I have lived in Laguna Beach since 1942 and 64 years on Sun Valley Drive. Flash floods in the Sun Valley Drive area are unpredictable and most of our floods come late at night. Everything on the ground is swept away.

Picture 74 cars being swept into the pillars of the proposed structure, being swept into the deeper channel under bridges, blocking and damming the oncoming flood, causing serious damage to upstream homes and small businesses.

Some developers are not truly concerned with what happens after they have their project completed.  There is no concern for the home and business owners or the cottage industries already well established in our Sun Valley Drive community. They seem not to even care about the dangers involved in putting those unsuspecting persons, artists, in a flash flood zone.

Here’s a thought: if the City Council is so desperate to develop a 30-unit art / live complex, a better alternative might be the unused property at Big Bend or the property next to Art-A-Fair instead of a parking lot. Close to and in walking distance of downtown Laguna, no cars needed. It would be an art show of its own.

Our specific plan, which we spent months developing with the city, calls for rural single-family homes, rural home occupations, cottage industries and light industry.

Public participation has traditionally performed a valuable function in the planning process, particularly in reflecting community values and goals.

Now it seems the city government is ready to throw out the specific plan,  forcing a dangerously placed, non-conforming project in our Sun Valley Drive community without true concern for the well being of all concerned.

A project of this size needs elbow room, not a shoehorn space in a dangerous flood plain.

Loraine Hollingsworth, Laguna Beach


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