Congratulations to the staff, council, and public for their participation in a successful historic workshop held Saturday, Dec. 16. It was truly the first meeting on this issue where I felt the interests of all concerned were heard and addressed.
The upshot was an agreement by the council to form a task force to study, research, and review all points of view, and to develop an ordinance that best serves our community. As we move forward, I trust the task force will be comprised of a cross section of affected and interested homeowners who are most impacted by historic preservation restrictions, and those who believe the city is made charming by making change to private homes more restrictive.
Although new to the scene in Laguna, Let Laguna Live is a grass roots organization of local home owners interested in having historic preservation be accomplished through a voluntary, incentive based program, rather than through compulsory measures. LLL is interested in making sure that the homeowner’s cooperation and consent is obtained before declaring his and/or her private home a “historic resource.” It is not our goal to foment discord in the community. It is a fact, however, that for too long, homeowners in Laguna who found themselves on the historic inventory had no say over their homes. We think it is time to change a harsh law through a revision to historic preservation rules.
LLL appreciates and acknowledges the role of historic preservation in any community. A balance must be achieved by working cooperatively with homeowners rather than forcing them into an expensive and burdensome set of restrictions that effectively results in a transfer of rights to the city. The rights of property owners must be considered prominently in any further discussion of preservation. Resistance occurs when rights of the homeowners are not considered. Resistance is often looked at as threatening, rather than just an opposite point of view.
We can work this out together if we are respectful of each other, and willing to sit down and listen to one another. Transparency, integrity, and communication with the community are paramount as we move forward.
Jeff Benedick, Laguna Beach
The author is president of Let Laguna Live.