Live-Work Project Erodes Canyon’s Character


Please come to the Planning Commission meeting Nov. 13 at 6 p.m. and express your views about the planned 30-unit apartment style housing project that looks like a dormitory right in the middle of our rural, primarily residential, neighborhood.

This part of the canyon has a few businesses that were grandfathered in when we were annexed into the city. We feel this project tips the scales against the balance we’ve created here by opening the doors to low-income, high-density housing.

In order to approve this project you have to believe it’s not too big. Also that it won’t increase traffic. To put this into perspective, the village entrance creates a net increase of 200 parking places. This project has 45. There are 30 along a quarter mile stretch of Laguna Canyon Road at the Bark Park. This project will double the size of our neighborhood with all of the impacts that increase will create. The environmental impacts are enormous.

To those who say it’s all about the artists, we think it’s all about the money. Air pollution from the road will be a health hazard and proven carcinogen to its tenants. It will be built over parking like the homes that collapsed in the Northridge earthquake. Forty five cars could wash into the creek in the next flood or block traffic in the next fire. The developer’s neighbors have already said they’re anxious to follow in this developer’s footsteps if this is approved.

This is the Canyon of Laguna we worked so hard to preserve, not the canyons of Wall Street where the incentives of overdevelopment and profit could override our desire for the preservation of our unique balance of residents who live here and some small home-based businesses.

Someone at the last meeting said the canyon stopped being rural some time ago. I disagree! Someone asked, “how do you define rural?” My definition says this project is decidedly urban, not rural. To us this is clearly a story of an artist from Las Vegas who was able to buy a home he could work out of who then decided to become a real estate developer.

Please help us keep Laguna Canyon rural. Please help us bring some common sense to the size of this project by coming to the meeting and telling what you think of a 30 unit housing complex in Laguna Canyon. Thanks, and hope to see you there!

John Albritton, Laguna Beach.

The author is president of the Laguna Canyon Property Owners Association.

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