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Claims Will Test View Rights

  Public sentiment skewed to extremes as Laguna Beach spent months fine-tuning and redrafting its view ordinance, which took effect last December. Some residents predicted a stampede of claims by homeowners seeking to restore vegetation-choked vistas and speculators trying...

Grand Jury Calls for More Recycled Water

Even as Gov. Jerry Brown grapples with California’s drought by mandating that water districts curb their demands by 25 percent, the Orange County Grand Jury urges them to expand supply by stepping up production of recycled water. Dwindling local water supplies could be...

Mayor Maps Laguna’s Future

Addressing the Chamber of Commerce’s annual State of the City lunch, Mayor Bob Whalen redefined the stated agenda Wednesday by describing not the status quo but the future. Whalen outlined the five big issues he sees the city confronting: land use downtown and along Laguna Canyon...

City Experiments With Downtown Street Closures

Residents who’ve envisioned more outdoor dining and pedestrian-only traffic on the block of Forest Avenue east of Coast Highway may see that vision become a reality, at least temporarily, as early as August. Despite uncertainty about the outcome, the City Council asked...

Grossman Ousted from Planning Commission

Norm Grossman will end 26 nearly consecutive years on the Planning Commission, when his current term expires June 30 after the City Council rejected his reappointment Tuesday. Council members appointed Susan Whitin to fill a seat vacated recently by Linda Dietrich and Roger...

Council Debates Conflict of Interest Issue

General contractor Ken Fischbeck’s demolition work on the historic Heisler Building may proceed despite his earlier involvement in approving another project there as a member of the Heritage Committee, the City Council decided Tuesday. Since Fischbeck is working on the...

Vision Maps Beautifying Laguna Creek

Locals driving out Laguna Canyon Road may appreciate its natural beauty, yet few probably consider the largely hidden Laguna Canyon Creek since shrubs and man-made obstacles obscure nearly the entire watercourse. Near Anneliese’s School, for example, beyond a weed-choked...

Entrance Moves Ahead Despite Controversy

The City Council Tuesday approved hiring RBF Consulting to lead the design process for a village entrance park, a project that has been a source of controversy for years. Tuesday’s decision proved no different. The vocal public denounced the move that the Council pushed...

Sewer Fixes Require Rate Hikes, Debt

The City Council endorsed a 10-year plan Tuesday for capital improvements to the city-run sewer system, funded by rate increases of up to 4.75 percent annually over the next 10 years and a $10 million loan. A jump in fees, which now average about $48 a month, could take effect as...

Water Cutbacks Deeper Than Expected

Water districts that keep the taps running in Laguna Beach face a state-mandated 25 percent reduction in water use from last September’s levels, which means even tighter restrictions for residents than anticipated, district officials informed the City Council Tuesday....

Study Targets Aliso Creek Estuary

Where seawater mixes with freshwater at the mouth of Aliso Creek lies a six-acre remnant of what was once a broad estuary, which restoration advocates say has the potential to provide habitat for several threatened species and serve as a link between the protected greenbelt and...

Zur Schmiede Misses Coastal Commission Appointment

Roberto Uranga, a Democrat from Long Beach, has been appointed to the California Coastal Commission, effectively dashing hopes that Laguna’s newest City Council member Rob Zur Schmiede might win the seat. California Senate President pro Tempore Kevin de León (D-Los...

Historic Building Reaps Parking Benefits

As property owners weigh the pros and cons of having historic status bestowed on their structures, Sam Goldstein, owner of the historic Heisler Building at the corner of South Coast Highway and Laguna Avenue, is definitely reaping the benefits. Current home to Tommy...

Big Bend Undergrounding Hits Road Block

A plan to improve the safety and beauty of Laguna Canyon Road by burying utility poles underground hit a roadblock Tuesday due to the projected costs and necessity of road closures. Design for the project to place the utility wires beneath the ground along the Big Bend section of...

Task Force Tackles Canyon Road Blocks

When a task force began a review of six alternatives for improving safety and access on Laguna Canyon Road last week, it became clear that they will need to clear a few hurdles before reaching a consensus. Their goal is to evaluate the pros and cons of five road configurations, A...