The experience of living in Laguna Beach is an amazing one. Laguna continually evolves as new people arrive and influence the community in positive ways. Listing everything that is great about Laguna could easily consume the suggested 400-word length for a letter to the editor, so I won’t do that here. What I will do, though, is give you my opinion as to why Laguna is such an amazing place to live and visit.
My family moved to Laguna Beach in 1964 when I was finishing elementary school, so I was here in the 60s and 70s when a few wise and stubborn people worked hard to limit, and at times, stop development. Had these people not worked to put in place guidelines that define what can and cannot be done in Laguna, our town would be a very different place today. I think the guidelines that have contributed the most to the character and visual appeal of our town, aside from those that involve signage, are those that have limited the height, overall size and massing of new developments.
The important work done in the 60s and 70s had enough momentum to carry us through to today. But we appear to be at another inflection point—decisions made now will have an everlasting impact on the character and feel of our beautiful little town.
In a community like Laguna, there’s no downside for the community to limiting or even stopping certain types of development, because those decisions can always be changed in the future. But once you develop something, it will never be undeveloped. If the decision makers at city hall allow developers to build larger projects by combining contiguous parcels, the character of our town will change dramatically over time. Can you imagine our little town consisting of numerous block-long developments? I hope that doesn’t happen because it’s the antithesis of what many of us love about Laguna.
Mark Dawson, Laguna Beach