We used to care deeply about open space and small scale, pedestrian-friendly structures.
In the early ’70s, we adopted a 36-foot height limit for structures. It had broad public support. The city purchased and cleared the land of buildings on the area that was known as “Main Beach Development—Window-to-the-sea”—Main Beach.
In the ’80s, the city focused on acquiring or obtaining development rights on land that expanded open space and park lands. This led to the creation of Lang Park, Moulton Meadows Park and Alta Laguna Park.
In the early ’90s, we voted 79.6 percent to tax ourselves $20 million for an open space/parklands bond. The city agreed to apply that money toward the $78 million purchase of 2,150 acres of open space that was destined for development.
Now, our city seems focused on increased development, greater density and reduced required parking. There is a disdain toward citizens who continue to advocate for a “pedestrian-friendly village atmosphere.” There is instead a cry to “refresh” and add “excitement” by lowing the long held standards of the past.
It is, I am afraid, a rush to make us more like some of our noisy, crowded neighboring cities. There seems to be an effort to lower our standards and the unique atmosphere of our village. Yes, Our Village.
Neil Fitzpatrick, Laguna Beach