If only Mr. Ray had mused with some facts in his column on Sept. 27.
In his column he claims that “our City Council thinks all of downtown is ‘historic’ and nothing should change, ever.” However, a quick look at the 1981 Historic Resources Inventory, Item O, Downtown Laguna, shows us something completely different. This was a survey of a “triangular area of 10 blocks of commercial buildings and residential cottages” built from 1897 to 1940. Of the roughly 335 parcels I see on the map of this area, 56 were found by the city to be historic in 1981. 56/335=17 percent. So, in 1981 approx. 17 percent of the parcels had any historic merit. Fast forward to the recently updated Historic Resources Inventory. Of the 56 historic properties from the 1981 inventory, only 21 still remain on the updated inventory. So, of the roughly 335 properties in the downtown area, only 6 percent are now on the inventory. Less than 1 in 10.
Mr. Ray goes on to claim, “If you want to update your building, you have to go through a process that takes a good 18 months and is very expensive and demeaning. The city wants it that way to discourage change.” I’m not sure where Mr. Ray gets his 18-month claim. Is he quoting city data? Peter Blake makes a similar claim that it “takes 2-5 years for the average remodel to get approved.” Again, Mr. Blake gives no source for his figures. I’ve remodeled 17 properties in Laguna in the last 10 years, and all but one took less than 12 months to get the permits and complete the construction.
Instead of making up facts and figures, I’d appreciate if Mr. Ray would help find solutions that bridge business owner’s needs with city and historical considerations. Like Mr. Ray, I have plenty of relatives in the Midwest (Nebraska, Minnesota and Indiana to be exact) and I’m sure they would all agree that starting a PAC (Liberate Laguna PAC, backed by Mr. Ray and others) is out of place in a small city election, unless they had something to gain. And that’s common sense that I’m sure Mr. Ray’s cousin Donald could agree with.
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