Letter to the Editor: South Laguna Fire Station relocation inconsistent with the General Plan.

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Apparently, the Laguna Beach Planning Commission fell all over itself during a recent meeting in which it attempted to ignore the facts and somehow justify the baseless claim that relocating the existing South Laguna Fire Station to the corner of Coast Hwy. and 5th Ave. was consistent with the General Plan. And what was the justification given for reaching this baseless conclusion?  Well, according to reports, it was a determination made by Commissioner Steve Kellenberg that there are no other viable sites with reasonable access along Coast Highway. And where, may I ask, is it written that the fire station must be located along Coast Highway? The present fire station is not located along Coast Highway and it has functioned quite nicely as a fire station for the past 50 years that I’ve lived in Laguna. The fact is that locating the fire station along Coast Hwy. is exactly what makes the proposal INCONSISTENT with the General Plan. You see, the drafters of the General Plan were so taken by the importance of highways to the General Plan that they devoted a whole separate section to deal specifically with the scenic highways issue. Coast Highway is specifically designated as a Scenic Highways component. Consistency with the General Plan requires that City planning and implementation related to Scenic Highway components, “assure that the best qualities of the City’s Scenic Highways and their visual corridors are maintained and improved where necessary to create the highest aesthetic standard consistent with scenic highway practices and community values.”  It is abundantly clear to the most casual observer that removing the existing fire station to a new location along Coast Highway would NOT be an improvement that is consistent with the “highest aesthetic standard”. There is nothing scenic or aesthetic about a fire station. Congratulations, Planning Commission. You just approved a proposal that is a textbook example of what is NOT consistent with the General Plan.

Doug Jolley, Laguna Beach

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  1. Interesting. I’m not against the fire station location but I do hope this gets explored and addressed. Mainly, because we keep hearing about how those volunteering to serve on our Planning Com. and Design Review Board are experienced and knowledgeable experts and that we shouldn’t question them. If so, how could they overlook general plan criteria?

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