By Dave Raber
Would you trust a developer to give you information to help you stop overdevelopment? Consider that Measure Q’s opponents, “Citizen’s for Laguna’s Future” is funded almost exclusively by developer and business interests whose priorities are likely very different from yours. The opposition against Measure Q is very well funded because they can easily afford it, and it threatens their unfettered ability to build whatever they can get approved by a now developer-friendly City Council. In contrast, Laguna Residents First is funded exclusively by residents who care about our city and its future.
Measure Q requires the City to carefully evaluate commercial intensification proposals when they would impact neighborhoods existing businesses. Too much incremental intensification and development puts both the neighborhoods and existing businesses at risk and certainly deteriorates Laguna’s unique value.
An example that opponent Cody Engle cites in a recent letter is the proposed coffee bar at the very busy intersection where Forest meets Broadway. This seems to be an unlikely place for a successful coffee shop, especially given the noise and traffic at that location, but set that aside for a moment.
Measure Q allows for new parking exemptions where a finding is made that it would be in the public interest and does not negatively impact the neighborhoods. In this specific case, the largest downtown public parking lot is directly across the street from the proposed coffee shop, and there are no adjoining neighborhoods to impact. It’s hard to imagine why a city staff person felt that the finding couldn’t have been made.
The finding can easily be made if the City honestly examines the details here – no adjoining neighborhood and plenty of public parking within easy walking distance. We support the decision that the City made to allow the new coffee shop. We are disappointed in the opponents’ untrue speculation that Measure Q would have prevented its approval.
Further in Mr. Engle’s recent letter, he compares Measure Q to a business that would have to vote “every time the business wanted to add a new product, service, or make a price change.” That is a bold exaggeration that defies civil discussion on the issue. Measure Q does not even remotely interfere with the important principles of businesses being run as the owner sees fit or that it requires a vote on everything. Measure Q leaves most development decisions to the City’s existing planning process. In most of the examples cited, minor adjustments could be made to the proposal to make it less impactful to the community and in compliance with the reasonable standards contained in Measure Q.
The proponents of Measure Q stand by the balanced constraints that are contained in the Ballot Initiative. Laguna will certainly change and evolve with the times. Measure Q provides flexibility and a reasonable set of guidelines so that developers will only bring well-thought-through plans that are compatible with the unique environment and value that Laguna offers to residents, merchants, and visitors alike.
Raber is the co-founder of Laguna Residents First.View Our User Comment Policy