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Appeal Halts Cutting of Fire Breaks

A plan to thin brush on land deemed “extremely dangerous” in Nyes and Oro Canyons was stymied last week by an appeal to the California Coastal Commission, even as the city was breathing a collective sigh of relief over a wildfire July 3 contained to a few acres. That fire...

Council Opens Tap on Water Reuse

With residents hauling buckets to their yards with water captured in warming showers and state parks and beaches this week turning off their outdoor showers, the City Council Tuesday approved more citywide water conservation measures, including a temporary moratorium on new pool...

View Committee Clears its First Dispute

Laguna’s fledgling View Restoration Committee settled their first case on Monday, July 6, effectively restoring the view of Pinecrest Drive homeowners Roxane and Robert Simon. Despite a failed mediation between the Simons and vegetation owner Roy Henderson, the parties...

Court Ruling Affirms Local Couples

Friday, June 26, “was probably one of the most thrilling days of my life,” said former Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Gentry, referring to the U.S. Supreme Court ruling that affords same-sex couples the constitutional right to marriage. “Most of my generation of gays...

Demand for Grants Strains Supply

Thanks to the city’s community assistance grant program, the public interest law firm Seaside Legal Services will receive $3,000 to assist locals without means on civil matters. Others, such as the Trauma Intervention Program, received nothing. “I’m...

Angling for Entry Ideas on Foot

“Think about the feeling of this area,” Susan Harden told about 40 people, urging them to absorb how they react to Laguna Beach’s most contentious downtown real estate as they walked towards the Laguna Canyon art festival sites. The unusual field trip to the corner of...

Retirement Prompts Department Shuffle

Two city departments will undergo reorganization at the end of the year due to the pending retirement of the longtime public works department director. The City Council signed off on the transition last week when approving the city budget. Public Works Director Steve May will...

New Laws Require More Sewer Inspections

Homeowners planning remodels or repairs over $100,000 will have to add a video inspection of their private sewer pipe to their to-do list, under a revised sewer ordinance approved by the City Council Tuesday. It takes effect in August. To reduce sewer spills from private lines,...

Forest Closure Kicked to the Curb

Merchants effectively succeeded in lobbying to postpone a trial closure of lower Forest Avenue, though the City Council did vote Tuesday to temporarily transform six parking spaces on Forest and Ocean Avenues into outdoor dining areas for 60 days beginning in mid-September. Whole...

Permits for Short-term Rentals Still on Hold

Anyone hoping to earn some extra cash by renting out space in their home this summer to short term visitors will have to make other plans if they want to go about it legally. The City Council Tuesday voted 4-1, with Mayor Pro Tem Steve Dicterow dissenting, to extend for 90 days a...

Fire Fears Smother Hopes for Dream Home

Jae “Randy” Song paid $685,000 for a bucolic 12-acre lot in Canyon Acres at a bank auction in 2010. Assurances from the previous owner and various city officials that he would have “no problem” rebuilding on the footprints of the original home and...

Claims Over Coutchie’s Death Now Uncertain

The parents of a Laguna Beach police officer who died on duty two years ago in a traffic collision this week asked the Orange County Superior Court to dismiss the wrongful death lawsuit they filed against the driver of the other vehicle and two other defendants. Luciana and...

Council Cracks Down on Absentees

To signal its intolerance for skipped meetings by members of city boards, the City Council amended its attendance policy and established that four absences in a year would place the appointment in jeopardy. The Council will then review the circumstances of the absences and decide...

Merchants Oppose Closing Forest Avenue to Cars

Many downtown merchants left their shops this week to protest at City Hall, expressing their dismay with the proposed 13-day trial closure of a section of Forest Avenue to vehicular traffic in August. Creating a pedestrian mall on Forest between Coast Highway and Glenneyre Street...

Recycling Gets Serious

Residents and businesses that routinely toss the wrong kind of garbage into their green waste and recycle bins may now be fined for their negligence, one of several trash disposal changes the City Council considered last week. Waste Management, the city’s garbage collector,...