In Laguna Beach there is a project approved by the city’s Design Review Board in my neighborhood, and I am looking again at how this project got the okay. Is everyone turning his or her head away? Once upon a time known for its charm, quaintness, and exceptional neighborhoods, the character of our city appears as if it is slowly changing because of the board’s unorthodox decisions.
Unfortunately it appears the board’s approved design and its construction are turning into the blight I saw from the preliminary plans, which I contested. A new retaining wall will be like one found on the side of a rural freeway or some industrial site.
The homeowner removed the original, natural vegetation, which graces most of Mystic Way, and much later came up with a quick fix with a 16-foot wall with railroad ties and steel I-beams. Would the Design Review Board members welcome this project across the street from the front of their or your home?
Can you picture a design like this one adjacent to City Hall or in any of Laguna Beach’s showcase neighborhoods? I cannot.
I suggest it is time for the city to reconsider its criteria and update them so the Design Review Board can make more consistent decisions that are more germane to a neighborhood’s character rather than the expediency of a “quick fix.”
Paula J. Lingelbach, Laguna Beach