Letter: Location, Location, Location

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St. Catherine’s of Siena school is a viable, strategically situated candidate for a southerly multi-purpose, multi-beneficial supplementary city facility: to include fire, marine safety, EMT, maybe a modest police presence plus general maintenance service storage?

The lower level playground would be an ideal option for the Fire Department, they’d have their own road which is already in place. That might need to be regraded slightly due to the present steep slope.

Value-add, there’s probably room to park all related vehicles onsite, maybe even a service bay.

There are no view encroachments and a wide view range if a one-person observation tower to monitor fire, traffic and general safety conditions was built there.

There would be no switching sirens on until emergency response vehicles were actually on Coast Highway to mitigate noise impacts, pacifying any concerned Victoria Beach residents.
Presently, once dispatched from City Hall, vehicles must weave and/or run the gauntlet of traffic plus blare their devices announcing themselves for over two miles.

Sell Ti Amo, a poorly thought out purchase, there’s your 10% down payment.
This facility would include updated city communication relay infrastructure, including a public cell antenna (service sucks major here) and faster emergency response (especially difficult during high season). This equals more lives saved.

My NGO, Clean Water Now, proposed and supported that type of annex while negotiating with The Athens Group during design for The Montage but they didn’t have adequate space.

It has a dedicated surface street, Cardinal Place, for access and egress, painting Coast Highway and an overhanging flashing sign would warn when in emergency use, and the distance from the intersection at Nyes Place is enough free space. Unlike Ti Amo, which is at a problematic, signaled intersection.

This seems at least of merit for a broader, more open public dialogue than several other recent city deals.

After walking the site on July 16 with a neighbor who is, like me, a retired general contractor, I’d add that the living quarters which overlook Coast Highway could be converted into affordable, low-income/senior housing. We’re in search of state credits, this site should get a visioning approach. What are the burning priorities? I think that it can be a mixed use site without zoning changes.

Not bells and whistles and tooth fairy stuff, not everyone’s empty-headed Christmas wish list, but master planning that benefits, that serves everyone, not a limited segment or portion of our population.

And for God’s sake, not another flipping parking lot. That Coast Highway frontage lot that the city is leasing is sufficient.

Roger E. Bütow, Laguna Beach

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