Heartfelt thanks to J.J. Gasparotti for his pithy observations about the dearth of affordable housing in this town and the “unrelenting process of code enforcement.”
It’s as if he was with me on Tuesday evening, when I was pleased to hear our venerable, freedom-loving council members bridle at the audacity of state lawmakers to impose ADU ordinance revisions so as to accommodate “cash-poor-house-rich” lifelong Laguna residents who wish to “age in place.”
Are these people even aware that our city officials eagerly honor every complaint made by various rascals and vindictive, unvetted whistleblowers by sending out their building inspectors, armed with code and camera, to photograph and document the alleged infraction adding, for kicks, a few extras they noticed on the way? Are they aware that these fine folks promptly enforce their onerous code restrictions on the aforementioned, struggling C-P-H-R population with little regard for the context or purpose of the dastardly modifications (oftentimes hastily completed in a rush to accommodate grandma, who recently broke a hip, or dad with stroke paralysis)?
Our council members on Tuesday were surprisingly quick to anticipate the possibility of abuse by scoundrels in our midst (more dangerous than the aforementioned vindictive whistleblowers?) who might violate privacy or block views or (heaven forfend!) rent the unit (once grandma and dad leave Laguna permanently) to a person, like myself, of modest means. They agonized over the vision of screaming grannies perishing in hypothetical wildfires, incinerated in homes perched on cliffs, homes which, by the way, house surprising numbers of screaming combustible children. This leap to dark possibilities unsurprisingly rendered our council members incapable of imagining the relief C-P-H-Rs would receive if existing modifications that harm no one could be ignored, thus leaving them in peace.
The sword of Damocles dangles above many elder Lagunans who dread the nursing home nightmare still to come.
Since the Council has agreed to revisit the topic before ruling, I encourage them to have a look at the various ways this city could preserve for its weakest members the simple joy of living out their last days in the town they love by offering them a sort of freedom denied under current restrictions and practices.
Tracy Middleton, Laguna Beach
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