Laguna Beach is a jewel—an iconic, artistic, welcoming California seaside community. As a jewel, we continue to polish our community as an example of sustainable ecological vision and action. The notion of more progress, prosperity, growth and pollution is challenged by the reality that the Greenbelt adds as much as 20 percent to home values, while the Bluebelt accounts for another 70 percent or more. In other words, Laguna Beach is prosperous when we carefully limit new development to only replacing existing structures and care for the beauty and natural resources of what we already have around us.
More development can only lead to more cars, more visitors and more pollution. We are already beyond our carrying capacity with an aging Coastal Treatment Plant and millions of “global warming refugee” visitors fleeing ever-increasing inland temperatures beyond 100 degrees during long, hot summer months.
The Laguna Bluebelt is our front yard, yet it is where we add 1.5 million gallons each day to the 10 million gallons of secondary sewage just 1.5 miles offshore while inland urban runoff pollutes shoreline waters with fragile tidepools and valuable kelp forests—Laguna’s underwater Redwood Forest. Old sewage pipes on private property leak, and restaurants add pollution with toxic effluents and poorly managed grease traps.
Goat grazing denuding Greenbelt hillsides dramatically elevates the urban heat sink and increases wildfire risk by creating dry grasses and “ember alleys” threatening homes during hot windy days. Runoff from these over-grazed areas adds erosion during storms, sending soil to smother Bluebelt tidepools while feeding Harmful Algae Blooms—likely a potent source of marine mammal illness and death.
New big development cartels will only tarnish our seaside jewel. If we work together and remain successful, Laguna Beach can continue to shine as a prosperous environmental leader surrounded by cities strangled by zealous, soul-crushing new development and more, not less, pollution.
Going forward, we must team-up and demand compliance with Laguna’s Land Use Laws and the city’s carrying capacity limitations…ready to campaign, legislate or litigate when needed. Laguna Beach is everyone’s dream community and teamwork makes the dream work.
Mike Beanan, Laguna Beach