The Coastal Commission’s review of The Ranch remodel appears to be a reaction of other city actions and approvals. In recent example, the city approval of the 30-unit Laguna Canyon Road housing project was new development and square footage that clearly should’ve had an EIR for traffic conflicts and approximate 300 vehicle trip turning movements into new units and out of scale neighborhood impacts. This kind of city oversight opens it up to criticism and scrutiny by other residents who didn’t get this type of favoritism and rulings on their own projects. The owner of his Haliburton residence project behind the appeal appears as an attack of one disgruntled individual on Laguna politics and not about The Ranch project. He’s bypassed, punished the city by going directly to the Coastal Commission, doing to at Mark Christy and partners expense and delay. This is deplorable.
In contrast, The Ranch remodel has virtually its same footprint that does not trigger an EIR. It has approval of Laguna residents who know Mark Christy’s plans and his love and devotion to the property, preserving the natural character we’ve grown up with essentially as is, to blend in with what exists. The Aliso Creek Resort had been let go in disrepair for decades; its buildings, rafters were full of termites and had become quite outdated, and underutilized. Now the golf course has had trees trimmed and rejuvenated and a classic bungalow theme lent to Laguna style is being added to the existing rooms and buildings, which enhances the natural character of the site.
Mark Christy has a completely transparent approach, working with residents and full city approvals, and is its steward to return it to an asset for Laguna to realize its true potential. The city rightfully defended its review of this overdue remodel and should assist Coastal Commission in quickly returning it as a contributing business of Laguna Beach.
This attack is unwarranted, beyond reproach on The Ranch and how thoughtful and committed Mark Christy is to restoring our natural gem of Laguna. He has the support and trust of countless Laguna locals, his Hobie’s commitment and support of Laguna Beach, Schoolpower, and Laguna’s heritage over the years is commendable.
Bryan T.S. Menne, Laguna Beach