Letter: Village Entrance Project Removes 120 Existing Parking Spaces

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Planning Commissioner Kempf and City Council members Iseman and Zur Schmiede were among the votes to approve the Village Entrance project despite losing 116 existing parking spaces within the project boundary.

The city only reported during the last four years of planning, public meetings and communications having 397 parking spaces in the existing Village Entrance project, with 388 spaces planned. “We’re losing just 10 spaces!”

The Nov. 12, 2013 council workshop handouts state: 397 existing parking spaces + 65 existing gravel city parking spaces earning revenue (existed for decades adjacent to Tivoli Too/tree lot), Lot 16 – city paid $5.3 million in 2014. This equals a never-disclosed 462 city parking spaces (status quo), we weren’t told about and approved just to build something by the election. (Confirmed at city Sept. 12, 2018 meeting as 462 existing onsite parking spaces in city property).

Deceptive city math exists – Parking Count Chart displayed on Sheet 1 – where 24 spaces on Caltrans R.O.W. added on Laguna Canyon Road outside Project Area, “Equivalent 14 bicycle + 4 motorcycle spaces are counted,” (omitted in my review to just compare car spaces, as dozens of motorcycle spaces exist today = even more embarrassing apple to apple comparison).

Today’s Village Entrance project provides just 388 spaces – 24 – 14 – 4 = 346 proposed car parking spaces. Thus, 462-346 = 116 lost spaces at about twice $6.1 million 2013 Budget, $11.3 + 5.3 = $16.6 million real project cost.

Would residents, businesses and the Coastal Commission have approved the project with reduced public access and losses of these directly adjacent parking spaces with existing Congestion during Summer Festival & Beach Season. I think not.

This project requires revisions to retain our existing parking spaces (per LB City General Plan – Policy 6H- 1 for 1 parking space replacement in CB District) and potential for additional 50 spaces to alleviate parking inundation the trolleys promote in our neighborhoods. I presented an alternative solution at the city’s 2013 workshop that’s more pertinent than ever to resolve V.E. losses underway. We can have our trail connections and park landscape underway move forward while amending the plan, but let’s build it right for residents, businesses, visitors and patrons of the arts.

If the city loses 116 Spaces here plus the 18 spaces during 2017 FOA remodel, we’ve lost 134 car spaces.

We can only imagine the congestion next summer.

City Council meeting 9/11 – approved losing four more spaces after groundbreaking. Total = 120 spaces lost.

Bryan Menne, Laguna Beach

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