‘Quiet Zone’ Ruling Sets a Precedent

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You would think that insuring the quality, safety, and tranquility of our neighborhoods would be one of the most important duties of a City Council member.  Somehow, for reasons not clear to me, Mayor Iseman, Councilwoman Pearson and Councilman Boyd believe that the late night operation of a live entertainment concert venue is more important than the surrounding neighborhood.

In fact, they have decided that it is necessary for the city to enact a “Quiet Zone Ordinance” that will restrict parking on streets of the adjacent neighborhood (“Will ‘Quiet Zone’ Bring Peace?”, Feb. 18 edition).  Doesn’t the fact that City Hall believes that there is a need for a “Quiet Zone Ordinance” infer that there is a very serious problem?  Councilwoman Egly got right to the point.  “Why not just eliminate the problem?”  Why are we inconveniencing the neighbors instead of the business?  Councilwoman Rollinger agreed.

Six years ago when the Village Flatlanders Association asked for the same type of restricted parking the council refused that request. So what is different about this situation? Has the majority of the council determined that our residents are less important than the businesses in our town? Or is it just this business is more important than the residents?  Property owners and residents provide the majority of the city revenue. When you eliminate the hospital and the hotels’ tax base, businesses in town provide a surprisingly small percentage of city revenues.

Mayor Iseman spoke of a recent late night trip to the neighborhood with Treasurer Parisi where she witnessed a group of young men partying. You would think that experience would have motivated her to find a permanent solution to the problem. Instead she voted to provide a solution that will at best mitigate the problem, but certainly will not solve it.  In fact, the band-aid solution may be illegal due to Coastal Commission regulations. The solution might also just cause additional issues in the surrounding area.

The majority of us moved to Laguna Beach for the safe and tranquil neighborhoods, quality schools, natural beauty and proximity to the ocean. The businesses that exist in our town are nice and we support them, but they are only amenities in our life. This is not an anti-business stance, just a belief that residential neighborhoods should be safe and quiet after 9 p.m. If there is any doubt as to whether a business is too disruptive to the surrounding residential neighborhood, the doubt should be resolved in favor of the residents.

No resident in this community should on any night of the week be consistently disturbed by the operation of a business. It is time that every resident living along the coast and Pacific Coast Highway demand that the City Council provide “Quiet Zones” for their neighborhoods. If this council finds it necessary to enact “Quiet Neighborhood Ordinances” every neighborhood in Laguna Beach should be protected. All residents should be free from noise after 9 p.m.

Jeffrey Kaplan, Laguna Beach

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