Project Violates the Ethos of the Canyon

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Editor,

This project is located directly in front of and below our home, where we have lived for the past 20 years. Castle Rock is a rural, small scale neighborhood, with single family residences that have been seamlessly blended into the hillside over the past 70 years. Most of our homes can’t even be seen from the canyon.

The proposed, multi-story, multi-unit apartment complex simply isn’t neighborhood compatible. Disguising the project as artists live/work studios is an insult. The costs of excavating alone, not to mention the build out, will push the project into the millions…therefore, making any reasonable “rental fees” for the units impossible for any true working artists.

This is a developer’s project, for profit, and nothing more. The straight vertical frontage of the building exceeds three stories. The entire project goes against the very heart and soul of what Laguna Canyon is, as well as going against the very plan that was written and put into place to prevent this very type of development from transpiring: the Laguna Canyon Annexation Specific Plan.

“Section 1: Laguna Canyon is one of the most picturesque natural environments remaining in Southern California. The unique natural setting of the Canyon, which offers numerous scenic vistas of hillside areas, inherently shapes the basic identity of the community. The Canyon with its unique mix of residential uses, light industrial development and home occupations, is considered to be an important asset which contributes to  Laguna’s special qualities.  While similar areas in once rural Orange County have disappeared due to encroaching urbanization and redevelopment, this portion of Laguna Canyon has retained much of its rural atmosphere.  In order to maintain the integrity of this area, efforts must be made to protect the Canyon from ever increasing development in surrounding jurisdictions and from economic pressures that would result in inappropriate redevelopment.”

Any support of this project by any representative within the Design Review Board or City Council would be criminal, not only to those of us that live in and love the Canyon, but to everyone that loves Laguna Beach.  Please preserve instead of destroying the canyon parcel by parcel.

Michael Fowlkes, Laguna Beach

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