Let Laguna Live! (LLL) was created to provide a support system for all homeowners, especially those whose homes were listed on the so-called historic inventory. Many of these owners purchased their homes unaware of their inclusion on the inventory.
City records were not kept current and reflected little or no evidence to justify an involuntary historic label on private homes. The designation did not appear on Real Property Reports at time of sale. The inventory itself was not maintained or kept current as required by CEQA. The mere listing on the inventory placed the burden on the individual homeowner to fight the difficult battle alone.
LLL was created to help homeowners join forces and push back against unfair treatment by city staff, which used the inventory against homeowners. When I first applied to remodel my house and was confronted with the claim that my house was a historic resource, a city planner told me that to fight the city alone with a lawsuit “could cost up to $250,000 and many years” – and I could still lose.
Houses on the inventory are not historic resources. They are our homes. LLL supports historic preservation, along with equal and fair-practice property rights.
I and others approached Larry Nokes to address the issue. We knew many homeowners were impacted, and we created LLL to connect. Larry has been the guiding light for homeowners treated unfairly by horrible policy. Our city attorney has stated that the inventory does not create any presumption that a house is historic – yet for years, city staff treated a listing on it as conclusive proof that a house was a historic resource. Our group appeared at over 40 public hearings to challenge this illegal practice, and the results of this community action is a new, equitable Historic Preservation Ordinance.
We love Laguna, too. Perhaps instead of attacking those who recognized and overturned bad policy, right the wrongs. Talk with families affected by this economic and emotional burden. We were misled for years by city staff and by groups that hired lawyers and consultants to fight against our right to maintain our own homes in ways that worked best for our families. This need to control is the height of arrogance. Let’s see more respect, less telling others what to do.
I am grateful to Larry Nokes for his leadership and willingness to take on such an intricate, controversial issue. We need intelligent leaders like Larry who stand up for individuals and long-term residents.
Jeff Benedick, president of Let Laguna Live!
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