I wanted to bring to the attention of your readers that the Laguna Beach City Council has passed an ordinance affecting the “development of seven miles of Laguna beach’s coastal bluffs.” This ordinance “reduces the setback from 25 feet from the bluff face to effectively ZERO” with “certain conditions applying.” I believe the erosion of the bluff tops needs to be seriously considered. I would like to also know what the “conditions” would be and to “whom” they might apply? This ordinance was passed by a vote of 4 to 1 for approval by our Laguna Beach City Council. The only councilperson voting “NO” on this agenda item was councilman George Weiss.
I have been watching video of “bluff top” homes sliding down the hillsides from the Back Bay in Newport to San Clemente, all due to our most recent rains. I do not regularly follow Planning Department Meetings so I, as many Laguna residents, was totally unaware of this ordinance change being put to a vote. Was this ordinance change properly vetted? More importantly, were impacted residents properly “Noticed” by the city?
I believe that the approval of this ordinance should be stayed. Is there any data showing who will be affected? Is there any data showing that the bluffs are geologically able to support development to the face of the bluff? Who will lose their view when a neighbor or an outside developer builds to the bluff face? I am certain that some “Geologist” somewhere confirmed that the bluffs in Back Bay, Newport are just fine. I have been watching homes in San Clemente slide down onto PCH for as long as I can remember. In view of what we have seen happening to properties built on bluffs that were allegedly sound, is this something that we should gamble with in Laguna? I am curious as to why some kind of informational “workshop” or at least an opportunity for the community to have involvement in making this decision has not been offered. We citizens of Laguna Beach need to be assured that the council is working in the best interests of its residents and not making arbitrary decisions discounting community input and consultation.
Claude Morgan, Laguna Beach