City Officially Takes Control of South Laguna Beaches


Laguna Beach has officially taken ownership of all south Laguna beaches and coastal properties from the County of Orange as of March 1. As part of the transfer agreement, the county is giving the city a one-time sum of $22 million to counterbalance the added cost of providing services and beach maintenance.

From left to right: Laguna Beach Assistant City Manager Gavin Curran, Director of Public Works Mark McAvoy, Police Chief Jeff Calvert, Mayor Bob Whalen, City Manager Shohreh Dupuis, Marine Safety Chief Kevin Snow and Fire Chief Niko King. Photo/City of Laguna Beach

“Assuming control of the South Laguna beaches culminates two years of work by the city and county to make this happen,” Laguna Beach Mayor Bob Whalen said about the transfer. “I want to thank the county for working in partnership with us and to commend our city staff for their extraordinary effort to bring this to fruition. This transfer will benefit beachgoers and our residents of south Laguna with increased service.”

The city started providing all services to South Laguna beaches on March 1, which includes enforcing municipal codes while keeping the current curfew hours. Marine Safety staffing consists of a patrol unit in South Laguna, a lifeguard at Aliso Beach and up to three additional lifeguard towers.   

As part of the city’s Neighborhood Enhancement Team, police department park rangers will provide more consistent enforcement citywide and attention to quality-of-life issues and crime at all beaches and parks. 

The Laguna Beach Public Works Department will take over the maintenance of south Laguna beaches and adjacent beach facilities from Aliso Creek to the southern city limits. The maintenance includes custodial services to public restrooms, emptying trash cans, litter control, sweeping parking lots, graffiti removal and other public services. 

“This service change provides consistent operations throughout the City, streamlines communication between public safety entities, and delivers efficient response to emergency and non-emergency incidents,” Laguna Beach City Manager Shohreh Dupuis said. “This is an opportunity to provide a consistent and high level of service to residents and visitors throughout all beaches in the City of Laguna Beach.”

As of March 1, the city’s municipal codes for beaches and parks will apply to all South Laguna beaches. However, there are some exceptions. Leashed dogs are allowed on south Laguna beaches at all times, except from June 15 to Sept. 10, when dogs are prohibited between 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Dogs are not allowed on Thousand Steps Beach.

South Laguna beaches will keep the hours set by the county. Aliso Beach through Totuava Beach is closed from 10 p.m. to 6 a.m. and Thousand Steps Beach is closed from 9 p.m. to 6 a.m. 

The current designated skimboarding areas at South Laguna beaches will stay the same for the summer.

In preparation for summer, the Laguna Beach Marine Safety Department is looking for additional lifeguards, expanding training operations, adding supervisory oversight to south Laguna beaches, and buying more equipment. The city is currently planning activities and events such as skimboard contests and lessons, seal and sea lion releases, photography and film permits and other city recreation programs. 

Laguna Beach residents are invited to attend an informational and listening session meeting on March 14 from 5:30 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. at the Laguna Beach Community and Susi Q Senior Center.

“We are looking forward to providing safety, prevention, education, and enforcement at South Laguna beaches and ask the public to be patient with us as we take on this significant responsibility,” said Laguna Beach Marine Safety Chief Kevin Snow.

To become a seasonal lifeguard, apply online at 

More information is available by calling Laguna Beach Marine Safety Department at (949) 494-6571. 

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  1. The City is now liable for unpermitted breaching of the Aliso Beach Sand Berm by eco-vandals.
    Each dry season breaching episode releases 2.5 million gallons of contaminated inland urban runoff to Laguna’s Marine Protected Areas (MPAs) and cuts off safe public access to all beach areas. Will the City enforce protection of Aliso Beach?

  2. FACT: The County, in its recently released multi-year Flow Ecology Study, determined that only about 1/3 of that water is urban runoff, the other 2/3 of natural origin (watershed drainage). This person knows, he attended those meetings as did I.
    FACT: If it’s so contaminated, the ponded water backed up behind the berm qualifies as both an Attractive and Public Nuisance.
    AN is when the unsuspecting (like children) are enticed and exposed, PN a condition in which the general public commons constitute endangerment to lives, safety, health, etc.
    So isn’t this gaslighting? If the situation is so hazardous, then it seems the obvious solution is to litigate, isn’t it?
    A lawsuit filed by the purported protectionists like CoastKeeper, Surfrider, et al.
    Or file against Cal EPA for refusing or failing to enforce. They were petitioned by this person and never pursued it.
    These big, national NGOs have in-house legal teams, why after decades of this person’s complaints haven’t they done so, these are multi-million $$$ lawsuits, money makers.
    Insufficient evidence, lack of veracity or unprovable adverse impacts of releasing the water?
    Roger E. Bütow
    Clean Water Now

  3. The article fails to mention that since LB now runs the beaches and the parking lots the Shopper’s permit works now at both the ocean side and inland side of Aliso Beach parking lots.


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