Letter: City Council Real Estate Purchase

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The City Council of Laguna Beach is in the process of purchasing the Ti Amo Restaurant property in South Laguna Beach at 31727 S. Coast Hwy.

Mayor Bob Whalen, Peter Blake and Sue Kempf all support it.

It is an expensive property on the ocean side of Coast Highway. Surprisingly, the City Council is not required to have an appraisal and does not intend to have one.

The plan is to tear down an existing building and build a fire station with underground parking. It is also planned to remove or rework the median on Coast Highway in from of the property.

South Laguna Beach needs a new fire station. However, purchasing an expensive beach side property and tearing down an existing building is not only an environmental hazard but also a waste of taxpayers’ dollars.

Stephen Wilson, Laguna Beach

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  1. Couldn’t agree with you more!
    In addition, the City will actually create a boondoggle of traffic circulation nightmares at that location, an area already problematic due to the signal cuing.
    The center divider island at the 3rd Street signal will basically force egressing vehicles to turn right (south), and then what? What happens during agreeable weather as visitor and residents vehicles driving north back up at the signal down to 4th and 5th, at times to the hospital and beyond to 10th Street, blocking those intersections?
    The turning radius of a fire truck is much larger than even an SUV.
    A perfect formula for failure, this is what happens when you have ZERO council members living or working south of Ruby Street—-No problemo for them!
    If those with smaller vehicles wishing to drive north want to do so, they’ll be forced to go south to 5th Street and bang a dangerous U-turn, or worse the signal at the Hospital. And if a large fire truck, there’s usually several cars backed up towards the Hospital in the northbound lanes at the signal, hence no diagonal, hazardous, gauntlet style turning.
    So the emergency personnel will get through that 100% blocked intersection/those blocked lanes how exactly, fly over the median? Only solution would be to remove the median entirely for circulation and line of sight. This choice WILL create many problems.
    And underground parking? The water table’s not far below as the underground recharging is pushing downgradient from the hills…see anyone the City thinking about that challenge?
    And as access/egress is only possible from PCH, think of the logical dynamics over the course of the time it takes to demolish, excavate and rebuild? What, 2 years maybe, and only if the weather cooperates?
    Whatever happened to negotiations regarding the inland side, vacant lot at 5th Street? Vehicular access/egress could be on 5th, an emergency intersection with typical flashing warning signs that activate for emergency vehicles, painted lines on PCH (DO NOT BLOCK INTERSECTION), etc.
    And it’s 2 blocks south, vehicles could go north or south, or drive uphill, go around, come back down to the 3rd street signal, a safer route……..a lot of the year drivers would be less likely to encounter intersection cuing issues and gridlock.
    Residents in So Lag deserve to have more dining choices too!
    The former Ti Amo site purchase is classic myopia, in real estate it’s lOCATION LOCATION LOCATION—and that includes fire stations.
    Another dumb idea from a City Hall renowned for them.

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