After reading recent articles in the Independent, I am deeply saddened to learn that the project we locals have always referred to as Ben Brown’s (now The Ranch) has been halted due to a last minute appeal to the Coastal Commission by a local resident. According to the article, the reasons for his appeal are speculated to be personal and self-serving.
Like virtually everyone I have spoken with about this issue, I am a big fan of the property and am grateful it is now in the hands of a lifetime resident who is going to incredible effort and expense to sensitively care for and restore this local treasure for locals and visitors to enjoy. I have toured both the golf course and the hotel site and have seen first hand how the buildings are being left virtually intact, while giving them the fire, safety and material upgrades they have needed for so long. The building footprints are being reduced by thousands of feet, the trees on the course are being carefully manicured and maintained, and even the non-native and invasive plant species in the creek have been voluntarily removed.
Nearly the day after their purchase was completed, the owners graciously invited numerous local charities to hold their fundraising events at the property at no charge. In addition, the owners have allowed local musicians and artists to showcase their talent by holding weekly events open to everyone, benefitting both the artists and the public, again at little or no charge.
We residents of Laguna are indeed fortunate a local has finally stepped up and is actually doing what has needed to be done for years and at the same time is creating a beautiful oasis for all residents to enjoy.
It is literally the dream project all of Laguna has hoped would happen for decades being undertaken by a group headed by one of the most environmentally responsible and civically minded individuals Laguna has ever known. Eventually the Coastal Commission will see for themselves the absolute windfall this project actually is.
I can’t wait for the newly renovated Ranch at Laguna Beach to open.
Paul Columbus, Laguna Beach