Some people concerned about the residents’ ballot initiative contend it is too complicated. The resident’s ballot initiative is simply a zone change. It’s no different than any other zoning ordinance except for the fact that the City Council refused to adopt it, and instead the voters have a chance to see that it is adopted.
This zoning measure—the Ballot Initiative—is far less complex than the much longer and much more controversial recently adopted 171-page Downtown Specific Plan which, by reducing parking requirements in the downtown across the board, will have far-reaching consequences for the future of Laguna Beach. And a specific plan, like the Downtown Specific Plan, makes far more extensive changes to the zoning code than what the ballot initiative does. The Downtown Specific Plan replaces the zoning for downtown, while the ballot initiative merely modifies some aspects of the existing code. The final Downtown Specific Plan was approved by a thin 3-2 margin of the City Council. One council vote would have changed that result. The same goes for the ballot initiative. Had there been three votes on the City Council in favor of the ballot initiative ordinance, putting it on the ballot would not have been necessary.
The Ballot Initiative became necessary only because of a lack of majority support on a divided City Council.
John Thomas, Laguna BeachView Our User Comment Policy