Letter: There’s a Reason You Love Laguna So Much

Share this:

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

Share this:
Firebrand Media LLC wants comments that advance the discussion, and we need your help to accomplish this mission. Debate and disagreement are welcomed on our platforms but do it with respect. We won't censor comments we disagree with. Viewpoints from across the political spectrum are welcome here. While everyone is entitled to their opinion, our community is not obliged to host all comments shared on its website or social media pages, including:
  • Hate speech that is racist, sexist, homophobic, transphobic slurs, or calls for violence against a particular type of person.
  • Obscenity and excessive cursing.
  • Libelous language, whether or not the writer knows what they're saying is false.
We require users to provide their true full name, including first and last names, as a condition for comments. We reserve the right to change this policy based on future developments.

Scroll down to comment on this post.


  1. Thank you Mark!! Take a look at the North Laguna story poles for the “Museum Hotel”. I call it a wall – it’s the WHOLE block with 3 stories. THAT will certainly change the feel of Laguna. I’m actually for development – but do it piece by piece with a respect for the historicity of Laguna. I’m thrilled with the Drake development/rehabilitation – kudos to them for a great job!! That’s what I’d like to see – NOT a total takeover of a block into a giant development. And this same developer has many more giant blocks he wants to remake.

  2. Sounds like the hunt is on for money! Like gasparotti said in a recnet column, some city employees are pulling in $300,000 a year with overtime. When it’s time for all those pensions to be paid out it will clean out the city coffers. So, look for lots of large projects forever more. We’ve become slaves to the wims of 4 council people. A better idea is to look to progressive cities like Costa mesa? Yeah, I said Costa mesa, progressive, Laguna,no! What’s being shoved on us… is backward. The pied piper came to town, and everyone’s eyes got glazed over $ $ like that! Everyone better come to their senses before it’shows too late. These big developers do’nt love Laguna or even like it or us. They only like possessions and money, and always more, more, more, ad infinitim like the flees on their backs that bite um. The council sold us out for $$$$, and won’t back down. It’s time to talk to Costa mesa and see how they saved their city from unwanted large projects 3 years ago. Let’s not flood the zone!

  3. Resident Village hypocrite Michelle Monda is concerned about development? She wasnt concerned when she and two others developed a pastoral plot in South Laguna and built three huge and ugly McMansions. She then proceeded to keep others off of her property with a gate and a road length driveway. She got hers and now she wants thousand square foot cottages for others.

    Thanks for your assessment Doug. Somehow you have the inside track on City corruption. BTW, there are five Council members although Toni is not all there so it could be four at any given moment. Costa Mesa? Are you serious? The Council sold you out? To who? You sound like a hater that can’t even write. Maybe you should reconsider posting. You’re embarrassing yourself!

    Oh, and Mark, thanks for your trip to yesteryear. Glad to hear your memory is still around and nostalgia still holds a place in your heart. There are many of us who appreciate the efforts of those who saved us from becoming Miami (Thanks again) but please, know that we have a new vision for Laguna and it’s not hippyville!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here