It was disappointing to read that a number of City Council members are not in favor of hiring a historic preservation planner, which has been supported both by the Task Force and the Heritage Committee. Many of the complaints heard before the City Council concerning historic preservation could have been mitigated by a more knowledgeable person at the counter in City Hall. The Heritage Committee does not see these applications.
I commend Toni Iseman for recognizing the resident serving aspect of this position. Having a knowledgeable person explain both the benefits and the responsibilities of owning an historic structure would make it possible for the applicant to make an informed decision. Ideally this position should be filled by someone with experience with historic preservation in other municipalities and also qualified to do historic assessments. Handing a resident with an historic structure a list of resources just doesn’t cut it.
One of the reasons people come to Laguna Beach is that we are not like our neighboring communities. Part of this is the historic nature of our downtown and our neighborhoods. Hiring someone experienced with historic preservation can help preserve one of our greatest assets, while giving residents the information they need to make informed decisions about their properties.
Anne Frank, Laguna Beach