Letter to the Editor: Measure Q is inherently flawed

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Measure Q is inherently flawed; it must be defeated [vote no]. It uses language that is misleading; “major development” is nothing like major, “reasonable necessary number of parking” is nothing like reasonable. If you are thinking of voting yes, I urge you to read the actual referendum. It is not benign.

This Measure is put forth by people who are not architects nor planners. They seem to simply distrust people who study this, people who dedicate their lives to being good stewards of civic life.

I am a fellow of the American Institute of Architects (less than 2% of America’s architects) installed for the quality of my design work. I have practiced architecture for over 45 years here in California, across the United States, in Canada and in Europe. I have read this measure. I have no stake in this other than being a citizen of wonderful Laguna Beach, where I chose to live and raise my children some 43 years ago.

They propose to put to a citizen vote [who knows when, every two years] issues about projects that occupy lots of 6000 ft.² or more. That is a little larger than a typical house lot (50’x100’). That is small for a commercial or institutional project. Under this measure:

  • Suzie Q couldn’t be built,
  • Hotel Laguna couldn’t be built
  • The Sapphire restaurant complex couldn’t be built
  • The Heidelberg center and The Plaza (Shirley’s Bagel) couldn’t be built

The size of a building that they call major is 22,000 ft.² or more. It is not. Anyone that has been involved in design of civic buildings would know that.

This means virtually no new shopping facilities, restaurants ,cafés, anything that gives life to our city.

What we need is a vision of what this city can be. We need to encourage quality buildings and projects that help us arrive at that vision. We need codes that enable the building of a vision. We need to encourage the engagement of talented planners and architects. Our city deserves this, our citizens expect this, and for our children we must be responsible enough to understand how to achieve this.

We can’t afford to have our public places, our public facilities, our civic identity designed by trite soundbite advertising propositions. This requires talented, dedicated professionals, educated and practiced in town planning, architecture, and urban design, having visualization skills, imagination, clarity of vision and boldness. We deserve nothing less!! Please vote no!

L Paul Zajfen, Laguna Beach

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