Several thoughts regarding the proposed Longi development in Laguna Canyon.
I believe citizens who support this are well meaning, but they may not have completely thought it through.
Do everything we can to help our artists, but keep in mind how we do it. The phrase “throwing out the baby with the bathwater” comes to mind. Giant apartment buildings 45 feet from existing pavement will only degrade our town. If we eventually end up with a number of buildings this size and proximity to the road, it will have significant impact on canyon views and atmosphere for people traveling in and out of town. I noted a rather unbelievable quote from the owner/developer Louis Longi on page A8 of the Feb 21, 2014, Coastline Pilot where he states “Everyone says I am blocking view lines, but there is nothing in the code that says I can’t block a ridgeline at 45 mph for one second.” How long then is the view blocked if you are traveling 10 m.p.h. (weekends and summer) or how long is it blocked if you are not moving at all?
When I think of a structure for our artists, I imagine one or possibly two stories in a peaceful, maybe rural setting, not a hotel like building so close to a busy road. How would a building like that stimulate artist creativity? And 22 of 30 units would command market rent, the same as everywhere else. Only eight units would be “affordable.”
Finally, maybe 35 to 40 percent of stakes in place to show building size are hidden in mature trees. Many of these trees would need to be removed. The building is significantly larger than it appears when glancing at the stakes. I encourage everyone who loves this town to visit the site and judge the size and view blockage while standing in front. Envision the size and view if the road were widened. Advise the city council of your thoughts. They will consider it shortly.
I see both sides of this issue, being a retired commercial real estate broker who specialized in and owns quality apartment buildings, and also one who provided about seven acres of Laguna Canyon to our city to be preserved as open space. We need to consider all of the factors of this proposal and the precedent it could set.
Ralph Haun, Laguna Beach