Letter: Stop the Madness and Let Laguna Thrive!


As many residents know by this time, whether by following out of curiosity, or having a vested interest in their own property, Laguna Beach’s Historic Ordinance has weathered the storm! For many years there was a back and forth with residents whose homes were on “the list”, whether it be a K, E or C designation, eventually, and finally, our city council voted 4-1 and approved the long awaited, and extremely time intensive, grueling for many, “new”, “revised” 2020 Historic Ordinance… and let’s not forget “improved.”

Improved for the many residents who actually own homes that were built in the early 1900s. Some, over the years were remodeled, some were displaced on their lots (faced on one street, but eventually side-faced on another when the large lot was divided). Some were beach shacks intended for a quick weekend stay. Those were charming in a beachy-shacky way. And yes, there were some truly spectacular examples, and some on the National Register of Historic Places. No longer would this “list” control residents that wished to remodel, add new energy efficient windows or demolish and rebuild their home (especially if it truly didn’t meet standards of known historians).

What was the dramatic change with the latest and greatest Historic Ordinance? It was Voluntary! Yes. Homeowners got their rights back! Something that took almost 10 years of a variety of debates, city council meetings, task force assemblies, and most importantly, actual verifiable residents that felt trapped in this web of bureaucracy.

As a real estate professional, this new Historic Ordinance provided a black and white explanation to potential buyers of what to expect when purchasing a home that previously fell into the abyss of Ks, Es and Cs. 

All of the hard work and years of anticipation, we now have a villain attempting to undo all of the work that many committees, volunteers and paid city employees have done to move our city away from involuntary control of their own homes, and their own property rights.

In recent months, The Laguna Beach Historic Preservation Coalition, a close affiliate of Village Laguna and other preservation fanatics recently filed another lawsuit that attempts to once again diminish our property rights. They’ve also filed a lawsuit to stop long-time Laguna Beach homeowners in Laguna Beach attempting renovation/restoration on their own home.

We all need to stop this madness and let Laguna thrive for our current residents and homeowners, and the generations to come. Laguna Beach is not part of a Homeowner’s Association but the power grabbers that have been in our city for almost 100 years are trying to keep control over our city and our resident homeowners.


Michael LaRiche, Woods Cove

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  1. Michael LaRiche, if the changes passed by the city council on the Historic Preservation are legal then there should be no problem. Sounds like you are just looking for a vehicle to besmirch organizations that have helped make Laguna Beach what it is. Any citizen or organization can seek judicial remedy of any law that they feel is not legal. You are saying to those organizations “keep quiet we know what’s best even if it may not be legal”. So you all should take a deep breath and wait for a court ruling but I know that’s not going to happen because you need a foil for your agenda.


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