Canyon Acres Owner Fined Over Parking Lot

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By Daniel Langhorne, Special to the Independent

Laguna beach police logThe owner of a Laguna Canyon vacant lot, where the Laguna Beach Company wants to build senior housing, has violated the city’s Municipal Code by operating a parking lot without the proper permits, according to a letter from a Laguna Beach code enforcement officer.

The July 26 letter, obtained through a public records request, ordered Abalone Point resident Phyllis Phillips to seek the required permits from the Community Development Department for operating a parking lot at 113 Canyon Acres Drive or “cease from using the aforementioned lot as a parking lot.” Phillips had until Aug. 12 to comply with these instructions or face an administrative citation that carries a daily fine of $100.

Cars were still parked in the lot on Tuesday night. Planning Manager Scott Drapkin said no one had filed a parking permit application for 113 Canyon Acres Drive as of Thursday morning.

Laguna Beach resident and developer Mo Honarkar recently announced plans to build low-density, senior housing on the lot at the corner of Laguna Canyon Road and Canyon Acres Drive. Some neighbors have complained that the project would be out of step with the area’s rural character.

Honarkar did not respond to requests for comment on this story.

Phillips’ daughter, Keri Kern Barriaga, who lives next to the vacant lot, said her family leased the property to Honarkar and they have no problem with him using it as a parking lot for employees working at the Hive. Barriaga’s family has owned the property for almost 40 years.

Barriaga said it’s ironic because the people who are complaining have asked her over the last 20 years specifically to use parking for their weddings and other events.

Penleope Milne, president of Laguna Beach CANDO, said her organization is disappointed that Laguna Beach Company didn’t seek the proper permits. CANDO members have been among the most vocal opponents of the Canyon Acres senior housing project.

“We would have expected better,” Milne said. “We’re also concerned about what this might indicate with the Laguna Beach Company if they moved forward with their development plan for that site.”

Milne said CANDO as an entity has never used the Canyon Acres lot for parking, but confirmed that Barriaga has graciously offered the lot to neighbors to accommodate wedding guests’ cars. However, this is very different from what’s happening today, she said.

“For a commercial entity to use a residential property for employee parking seven days a week is a different use that requires temporary use permit from the planning commission after a public hearing,” Milne said.

Barriaga said the projects that Honarkar and Laguna Beach Company have executed so far are wonderful additions to Laguna Beach.

“People are afraid of change, I get it,” she said. “At a certain point in time, I don’t understand why people should have control over another’s property.”

 

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