Letter: Statement By Historic Architecture Alliance Member


I’m a member of the Historic Architecture Alliance that joined with the Laguna Beach Historic Preservation Coalition to enforce state environmental law. Our case against the city challenges approval of a renovation and expansion project for the historic home at 369 Hawthorne Road.

I have lived along our Orange County coast for decades, including in Laguna Beach long before the Kirbys were born and again since 2013 when I purchased my Hawthorne property years before the Kirbys purchased theirs. I’m a decorated Veteran and live with my Asian-American family. Our children are four and eight years old. Unfortunately our relationship with the Kirbys has not been friendly for years. We trust that your readers realize that there are two sides to this story. 

Our attorney has made clear to us that the substance of settlement discussions are confidential.

I will not violate that rule. 

We did propose modifications to the 369 Hawthorne project to meet applicable standards for historic home renovations—and as recommended by the Kirbys’ own expert consultant—that would allow substantial expansion. 

We agreed to extend our court filing one time and then filed before the new deadline. Our attorney sent an email to Mr. Nokes stating “I look forward to hearing your thoughts in response to the proposed settlement terms and to further discussions while the case is pending.” Many lawsuits settle and in fact the first step in ours was a settlement meeting.

Since then, we have made no other proposal and have agreed to none. We have made no “demands.” Contrary statements are simply untrue. 

I thank the many good folks of Laguna Beach, and beyond, who have contacted me with support, encouragement, love, and prayers.

Dennis Sundman, Laguna Beach

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