Letter: I Want What is Best for Laguna

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I am neither pro, nor anti-development. Instead, I consider myself Pro-Laguna and oppose large-scale soulless projects. This little hamlet of ours spans the socio-economic, political and lifestyle spectrums. And yet we have always peacefully coexisted by virtue of our loving commitment to this one-of-a-kind town. To ensure Laguna continues to thrive while maintaining her unique vibe, we need to start pulling the rope in the same direction. 

That is why I’m voting No on Measure Q.

Most locals were shellshocked at the thought of a few overzealous projects that have been proposed recently. “Saving Laguna from Over-Development” resonates within each of us. Thankfully, we already have the most restrictive building and zoning codes in the County and multiple, effective layers of scrutinous public review in place to ensure nothing remotely resembling those proposals is ever built. 

Unfortunately, the “Cumulative Effect” language in Q (25.60.02(e)) could discourage the very small and funky businesses we love “within one-half mile” of “developments submitted to be reviewed” (25.60.02(f)2) for a period of 8 years. For example, the “Museum Hotel,” which had a Planning Commission review, is a block-long behemoth that could, by itself, (per Q’s language), trigger this “cumulative effect” and potentially force a vote on anything deemed “intensification” (with rare exception) throughout downtown and most of North Laguna. Fresh concept small storefronts and/or food offerings, the very kind we want to encourage, will get caught in the crossfire. 

As with any magic elixir, carefully read the ingredients and beware the possible side effects.

I understand what motivated the folks behind Measure Q, many of whom have been friends since I was a Founding Board Member of the Laguna Canyon Conservancy. They simply looked to the north and south and saw what can happen when you don’t have restrictive codes like Laguna’s existing safeguards. We all want to ensure Laguna’s unique character survives.

But Measure Q is unnecessary and may very well end up doing the exact opposite of what it seeks to accomplish. As a result, it is simply too consequential to watch from the sidelines. I only want what is best for Laguna. And after reading the language carefully, I’m convinced that it would be a mistake we would ultimately live to regret. 

If you really want to Save Laguna, Please Vote No on Measure Q.

Mark Christy, Laguna Beach

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