This letter was addressed to City Council members.
The principal driver in the current village entrance proposal Plan ‘D’ is the “replacement parking” stipulation dictated by the California Coastal Commission. It reads much like a rigid principle of physics such that public parking shall be conserved when planning a municipal design project. It is written that way to ensure public access to a public beach; that’s what it’s for.
Unlike mathematics, physics or thermodynamics, the CCC allows exceptions to their own rules. Statute 30253 states that public parking may be allowed an exception if instead of parking, public transit serves the public access to the beach, or if a transport alternative to cars allows public access to the beach.
Caltrans stipulates the operation of Laguna Canyon Road and Coast Highway through Laguna Beach. There are also exceptions to Caltrans’ rules. One exception is a Congestion Management Plan (CMP) that allows municipalities like Laguna to specify their own rules as an alternative to Caltrans.
The objective of the Laguna Beach village entrance is beautification of the city entrance by removing the blight caused by an asphalt parking lot. The objective is lost if we merely pave another parking lot over the existing one. We have arrived at this decision because we are not creative enough nor bold enough to challenge the existing rules. In so doing, we are stuck with design practices from the 1950s and Laguna Beach remains a parking lot.
Les Miklosy, Laguna Beach